Bella Li, Lost Lake
Shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award 2018
'Lost Lake is a lush hybrid of prose poetry, collage and photography, forming what is one of the most beautifully produced poetry titles of recent times. Expansive and imaginative, Li challenges the possibilities of the medium; Lost Lake is an adventure in form, where the book’s design is as poetic as the text it contains. A poetic travelogue of sorts, the book journeys constantly between the poetic and the visual in a narrative that takes on and repurposes the tropes of colonial exploration in order to tell a different, multi-valent story. There are funfairs, hothouses, and green houses. There are lost lakes. Li’s prose poems bely their slick forms; the voice is assured and sophisticated, even though many sentences are charged fragments from her source texts. Hovering underneath text and image alike is a devotion to what has been lost, to its recovery through expansion into the surreal. Positioned at the interstices of the subliminal and the known, the work reveals absences in time and space that soon we long to inhabit.' (From the QLD Prize judges' report)
Following on from the groundbreaking Argosy, Li's second collection Lost Lake ups the ante, taking the reader and literature alike into new reaches and realms of the imagination. Lost Lake, which exhibits Li’s distinctive use of text and image, consists of eight extended sequences of poetry, collage and photography, drawing on sources ranging from Dante’s Inferno and Steve Reich’s Different Trains, to Woman's Day magazines and the archives of artist and autodidact Joseph Cornell. Through the eight sequences of Lost Lake, geography and music, history and architecture, works of art and literature, encounter each other in striking and unexpected ways, generating new hybrid objects. Lost Lake disassembles boundaries and challenges expectations of what a work of literature can be—its alchemy blooms in the spaces between eras, genres and forms.
Bella Li is the author of Argosy (Vagabond Press, 2017), which was commended in the 2017 Wesley Michel Wright Prize, highly commended in the 2017 Anne Elder Award, and won the 2018 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry and the 2018 Kenneth Slessor Prize. Her work has been published in a range of journals and anthologies, including Best Australian Poems and The Kenyon Review, and displayed at the George Paton Gallery and in the Triennial of the National Gallery of Victoria.
Bella Li, Lost Lake
April 2018. 176pp. PB. 140mm x 210mm. 54 colour images.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.