Family Trees

Michael Farrell



The poems in Michael Farrell’s Family Trees operate according to a queer and inclusive logic, which binds humans, animals, objects, plants and concepts in familial relationships. The poems model contact through affection, sharing, and attention – sometimes violent attention. They tell strange stories – tall tales from the country, rambling reminiscences, shaggy-dog stories – which speak of shifting realities and weird and wonderful things, the coffin with legs that walked, an infertile rabbit that fosters a lamb, robots hunting in Kenya for the little white lion of Tokyo, an argumentative sock-puppet, marsupial geese and singing worms, and Pope Pinocchio, who thinks his heartbeat powers Italy. The characters in these scenarios are quite at home – they think, gossip, sleep and work. They construct ancestries and genealogies. A phrase, a detail, an object can act like a hinge, sending them in a hundred directions. Anything can be a twig (or bud or leaf or fruit) on Farrell’s family trees.

‘In the great tradition of queer Australian landscape poetics…Farrell recombines Australian ecology, history, and mythology into glorious, and very funky, new forms.’ – Judith Wright Calanthe Award citation

‘Endless, rascally contortions. Read them boldly as an archaeologist…but stay quietly aware that the texts are already affecting your cognitive frame, turning you into their accomplice in the renewing of language.’ – Gwee Li Sui, Sydney Review of Books

Download high-res cover image

ISBN : 9781925818406
pp : 128
Published : April 2020

About the Author

Michael Farrell’s previous collections include living at the z, ode ode (shortlisted for the Age Poetry Book of the Year Award), BREAK ME OUCH, a raiders guide (published by Giramondo in 2008), thempark and thou sand. His second collection with Giramondo open sesame (2011) was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award for Poetry. I Love Poetry won the 2018 Queensland Literary Award for Poetry and was commended in the 2018 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. He was the winner of the 2012 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.