Frances Olive’s writing has appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Australia, the UK and the US, including Overland, Australian Poetry, Award Winning Australian Writing, and Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry. Her work has been recognised in many competitions, including the Newcastle Poetry Prize, the Blake Poetry Prize, the Varuna Fellowship Program, and the ASA Emerging Writers’ Mentorship Program. She has held writing residencies at Varuna, Dunmoochin, and Laughing Waters. She completed her PhD in philosophy of literature at the University of Sydney.
Words have always appeared to me as magical objects. Not quite things themselves, they invoke things, demand things, conjure things, and beautifully fail to mirror things. In my writing I draw on this evocative power of language. We experience the world (and words) as an excitation – a calling forth – in our bodies, our minds, our imaginations. I am interested in the constellations of experience which appear within this film of emotion, memory and corporeality.
“Arcady” published in Overland 220.
“At River Bend” published in Once Wild: Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2014.
“Winter, Seed-Time, Harvest” shortlisted in the Blake Poetry Prize 2017.
“A smart, tight descriptive poem—essentially realistic, but characterised by some moments of lyric flourish, and by some anthropomorphic play between a place (the temple) and a beloved … In its gestured, haiku-like evocations performed in counterpointed couplets and tercets; in its erotic mischief and earthy spirituality … it reminded me of Han Shan’s “Cold Mountain” poems and other loosely Zen poems in that tradition. I was delighted and impressed by the wit and flourish of image, metaphor and phrase in Olive’s lean poem.”
Published in ‘Images’ (2013).
“In an age where reflection on the suffering of others is more extensive, this poem deals with the theme with a complex consideration on the speaker’s part for her friend – a consideration born of love and deep concern.”
Published in Northern Light (2014)
“A wonderful poem… full of exquisite diction choice and imagery construction, it shuns expected grammar but finds the balance to allow us always to know exactly where we are… It builds its meaning evocatively, managing to both satisfy and elude us.”
DR MARCELLA POLAIN
Published on the Peter Cowan Writer’s Centre website (2014)
“A well-formed metaphysical monologue, a beauteous acclamation of mankind’s malediction of presence and endurance, and destructive manner. As the poet leads us through the seasons arrive at a ‘festival of dangerous prediction’. Is it a celebration or a memorial? The reader can decide.”
BLAKE POETRY PRIZE JUDGES’ COMMENTARY, BY MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE, ALI COBBY ECKERMANN, AND MARK TREDINNICK.
Shortlisted in the Blake Poetry Prize 2017.