Frances Olive’s writing has appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Australia, the UK and the US, including Overland, Cordite, Meniscus, Australian Poetry Journal, 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 at the University of Sydney and is currently completing a Doctorate in Creative Arts at Western Sydney University.
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.
“Burial” published in Cordite 93: PEACH (2019)
“Winter, Seed-Time, Harvest” shortlisted in the Blake Poetry Prize (2017)
“Our Lady of Sorrows” published in the Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry (Hunter Publishers, 2016).
“Butterfly” published in Always the River (Dangerously Poetic Press, 2016).
“Arcady” published in Overland 220 (2015).
“Rhapsodie de Fruit” published in Australian Poetry Anthology 2015.
“At River Bend” published in Once Wild: Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2014 (Hunter Writers’ Centre, 2014).
“At the Temple” published in Images 2013.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE, ALI COBBY ECKERMANN, AND MARK TREDINNICK
“At River Bend is such a magnificently calm, lucid piece of work. It puts me in my proper frame of mind. And how, oh how!”