'Swallow' by Claire Potter - Poetry book launch Sunday 24 October 2010, 4pm at Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills, Sydney

The wonderful Bob Adamson opened the launch in the amazing awe-inspiring Brett Whiteley gallery. I am reading his autobiography "Inside Out" and cannot put it down. I wish I had finished it before I heard him at the launch, although it is probably a good thing because I would have stalked him and bombarded him with 10 billion questions, or maybe would have just been shy..

Claire's softly spoken reading conjured many different feelings including love, love-lost, sadness, passion and sensuality and visual imagery including that of daffodils and birds...one would think the phallic and uber erotic Whiteley artwork as a backdrop with a 'look at me' attitude would be a distraction but for me it added to the complexity filled with double meanings and beautiful images that were already forming in my head.

A little bit about Claire Potter


Claire and Lucas Ihlein from big fag press preparing the broadsides

What others are saying:

In Swallow, Claire Potter offers a dramatic synergy between observation and feeling; literary vignettes, glasshouse musings, mythical characters and desire interweave within the haunting shadow of the swallow’s migratory absence/presence.
This debut collection is composed of four sections, beginning with the persona of a mythical sea-diver clutching seaweed in her hands, it culminates in the wing-beat of a giant kinetic bird. The poems hum with an incantatory quality; they are bites of empty sky brimming with the tension of a lightning storm. Swallow has all the sensuousness of Potter’s earlier work; her poems are beautifully wrought, resounding.

Swallow is a beautiful book. These vital poems lead the reader on from the first page to the last. Claire Potter is a born poet, expressing passion along with ideas in the ‘open field’ of her work. Her forms dance with the intelligence of her choice of imagery. Her lines, laced with flight and song, double back through the poems, then unfold extra meanings on second or third readings. Potter has drawn on Mallarmé’s idea of a book as a ‘living composition’—where each page becomes a stanza in the poem of the whole book…This is all carried off with style…vibrant sensuality moves under the controlled surfaces.
Robert Adamson

Swallow reminds us that poetry’s magic is inseparable from its risks. Potter constantly sets lyric against innovation, formal and aesthetic performance against the net of the page. These poems are highly finessed, sensate, intelligent and their alliances between strangeness and beauty, the way they yield their perceptions so keenly and with such virtuosity can only impress. Claire Potter’s work is both charged and charming.
Judith Beveridge

In Swallow Claire Potter presents us with poems that exquisitely describe not the ten thousand things of the world but her experience of those things, which is an entirely different matter. The result is that we see the world freshly because we see it as it becomes manifest to her. Experience here, though, is not the passive registration of sensual impressions; for Claire Potter it is the risk of opening oneself to danger: the danger of seeing the world differently, the danger of becoming a new person by virtue of what one writes. Here are lyrics that are at once tender and tough, careful and bold.
Kevin Hart

Title: Swallow
Author: Claire Potter

ISBN: 978-0-7340-4159-3
Format: A5 Paper Back, 82 pages
Price: $21.95
Publication Date: October 2010
Contact: Susan Fealy, susan@ramp.net.au