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Tamryn Bennett, Icaros

With illustrations by Jacqueline Cavallaro

ICAROS returns to the shared roots of plant, animal and human existence. From the evolution of a single ancestor some four billion years ago, the poems entangle plant and human experience, song, ceremony, medicine and healing. The poems grow from Bennett’s childhood in a plant nursery as well as experiences of vegetal ceremonies during her time living in Central and South America where botanical knowledge is revered and plants are known the wisest of teachers. Illuminating the poems are artworks by Jacqueline Cavallaro who layers human and non-human connections. Below the surface of bodies, we’re invited into a realm of molecular questions and mark-making that invites new interpretations of word, image and ways of being. The poems of ICAROS are offered as rituals for remembering nature, what we are made of and in turn what makes us.

'Icaros is a conversation between human and planet, a songbook of ancient and earthly wisdom, a mixture of mourning and adoration for plants, animals, and people. These pages act as a healing spell, reminding the reader to listen, look and commune with our beautiful world as it aches and blooms.' Jacqueline Suskin

Tamryn Bennett is a poet, artist and Artistic Director of Red Room Poetry. Her book phosphene is published by Rabbit Poet Series. A second collection, icaros, is forthcoming with Vagabond Press. She is the editor of Líneas en tierra / Lines in land a bilingual collection of Mexican poetry. As Artistic Director of Red Room Poetry, Tamryn has developed numerous national and international projects spanning Poetry Month, Poem Forest, New Shoots and Extinction Elegies that actively engage communities in creation, conservation, and tangible climate action. She has been poet-in-residence at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK), El Centro de Cultura (MX), Bundanon Trust and Wollongong Art Gallery (AU) with poetic works and exhibitions held in Australia and overseas. Her poems, comics and essays have appeared in Covert Plants, Australian Poetry, Cordite, ImageText and Image [&] Narrative amongst others. Tamryn has a doctorate in ‘comics poetry’ from the University of New South Wales. She was awarded the 2018 Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship and Australia Council for the Arts Professional Development Grant. She lives on unceded Dharawal land.

Jacqueline Cavallaro has a meditative artistic practice which culminates in enigmatic worlds that draw the viewer in and invite them to bring their own interpretation. She studied at COFA UNSW where she received the Basil and Muriel Hooper Scholarship from AGNSW. Her works are held in private and public collections and have been exhibited with Sheahan Galleries, Flinders Lane Gallery Melbourne, NG Art Sydney, JanKossen Contemporary New York, Wollongong Art Gallery as well as numerous prizes. In 2016, after many collaborative projects with the poet Tamryn Bennett, along with performance artist Tamara Elkins and the composer Guillermo Batiz, Wollongong Art Gallery hosted an exhibition of Jackie’s work phosphene. Subsequently, a poetry book including her images was published as part of the Rabbit Poetry series. Jackie was born in London and migrated to Australia at age six. She currently lives on Dharwal Country on the NSW South Coast.

Tamryn Bennett, Icaros
With illustrations by Jacqueline Cavallaro
2023. 148mm x 210mm. 96pp.
ISBN 978-1-925735-56-7
Release: February 2023


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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