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Monster Field

96 pages
Paperback, 21 x 14.8 cm
Published November 2022
ISBN 9781922725370

Monster Field

Lucy Dougan

The new collection by the award-winning West Australian poet Lucy Dougan.

Lucy Dougan’s new collection draws on and is alive to the mysterious zone that Surrealist artist Paul Nash called the ‘Monster Field’: the place glimpsed from a car at speed which cannot be found again easily, and which opens up a space between the everyday and the occult as it ‘almost slides past your eyes’. Like a monster, ‘elusive and ubiquitous’, a poem is a ‘showing’ of what is both unsettling and familiar. In the world of everyday perception, mundane or discarded objects, fleeting scenes and inconsequential places can become unexpectedly charged with momentary significance and rise up as weird extremities in the field of the ordinary. Dougan’s ongoing concerns – the hidden or unperceived, things out of place, the intrusion of wildness into ordered spaces, in art and film, the shifting relationship between past and present – are deepened in this new collection by the disorientations of middle age: in experiences of survival, difficulty, and failure; in the presence and pressure of mystery; and in her conviction of what is sustainable in the making of things and in living.

Dougan’s elliptical work hints at a life that hovers just beyond our comprehension; in dreams, tales, the past, in the imagination of the poet. This other world surrounds even the most domestic of the poems.
Winner’s citation, West Australian Premiers Poetry Award

Dougan brings our attention to the forgotten, the cast-off, the easily ignored objects, images, memories, and animals around us. Western Australia has a world-class poet on its hands in Lucy Dougan.
Kevin Brophy

Dougan is a poet with an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of the untamed, uncultivated and undomesticated and in an exceedingly challenging global political climate her poems are searing anatomies of survival, resilience, and reflexivity.
Cassandra Atherton

In her poems of interiors and exteriors, of the familiar and quotidian, of controlled considerations of ‘the immediate’, Dougan is building a vision of meaningful survival, of continuance fused with change. This can be challenging, sometimes upsetting and even quietly traumatic (Dougan never shouts in her poems), but is also deeply affirming about the relevant need for ‘discovery’, for growing with life and allowing insight to increase with encounter.
John Kinsella

Dougan’s poetry is profoundly youthful, alive with compassion and uncynical intelligence.
Lucy Van

Monster Field contains some of Dougan’s best work, and although previous books have contained references to events in her life-story, there is some additional cracking-open, a vulnerability, in this one that gives it an extra dimension – not just emotionally, but poetically as well, while not displaying any diminution in the steadiness, and warmth, of her attention.
Martin Langford, Meanjin

About the Author

Lucy Dougan

Lucy Dougan’s first poetry book, Memory Shell won the Mary Gilmore Award. The manuscript of her second collection, White Clay, won the Arts ACT Alec Bolton Award – it was published by Giramondo in 2008. Her third collection, The Guardians (Giramondo, 2015), was shortlisted for both the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry, and won the 2016 West Australian Premier’s Poetry Award. Her most recent collection is Monster Field.

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Poetry Says Interviewed by Alice Allan (2023)

Related News

Lucy Dougan: a note on Monster Field

‘I think it is a common experience, a kind of haunting in a way, the sense that you are close to something that is significant but that nevertheless eludes you. Slippages could be a good word to describe it. It’s the intersection between the absolutely ordinary and the occult.’

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