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Pressed specimens - prose poems from the Southern Cross Plant Science Herbarium

ByMoya CostelloBeir Bua Press

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“Moya Costello’s highly inventive writing in pressed specimens engages imaginatively with the global herbarium tradition predicated on the conservation of pressed plant specimens. Dense and fecund, much like scientific description itself, her prose poetry alchemises multisensory impressions of – and empathetic identification with – pressed plants with the technical lexicon of botanical classification. Her, at times, playful writing brings specimens to life through an appreciation of plants’ medicinal, healing, ecological, and relational virtues. Images of pressed flora from the Southern Cross Plant Science Herbarium anchor the poet’s creative process in the scientific realm, signifying poetry’s capacity to transgress long-standing disciplinary boundaries. Costello’s work joins other phytopoetic classics with this absorbing collection of prose poems.” John Charles Ryan: poet; Adjunct Associate Professor, Southern Cross University; Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Nulungu Institute, Notre Dame University. Books include The Mind of Plants (Synergetic, 2021, with M. Gagliano and P. Vieira). “Through the vehicle of ecocritical prose poetry, Costello’s work distils the knowledge and experience of art and science in a truly unique way. Her words dance on the tongue – they have exquisite mouth-feel, they touch and taste like nothing I have ever spoken, drunk or spat.” Grayson Cooke: media artist, Associate Professor of Media at Southern Cross University and founding member of LabX. Exhibitions include Blinman Slag (Lismore Regional Gallery, February-April 2020). “Alongside images of plants that surrendered themselves to their colonial flattening, Moya Costello’s poetry deftly evokes their lives and liveliness. In the traditions of Peter Larkin and Louise Crisp, and with echoes of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Costello creates a lush language, melding close observation with inventive conjunctions of imagery, in relationship with the plants themselves.“ Anne Elvey: poet, Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics, Monash University. Books include Obligations of Voice (Recent Work Press, 2021). Praise for Costello’s other books: John Hanrahan, The Age on Small Ecstasies: “There is wit, irony and comedy in the writing, but also an assured seriousness and high intelligence”. Katherine England, The Advertiser, on The Office as a Boat: “The writing is beautifully clear and visually precise”. Nicholas Jose, Sydney Review of Books.


Publication Date
Apr 20, 2022
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
By (author): Moya Costello, Edited by: Beir Bua Press, Edited by: Michelle Moloney King


Interior Color
A5 (5.83 x 8.27 in / 148 x 210 mm)

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