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Berndt Sellheim, Awake at the wheel

WINNER of the 2016 FAW Anne Elder Award for first collection

From the backroads of the Australian outback to the icy streets of Paris winter, these dynamic poems traverse geographies, languages and techniques. Marked by a subtle probing of the metaphysical layerings that underpin human experience, this exploration returns again and again to the concrete details of everyday happenings. Drawing equally on moments of joy and loss, shifting from comic and bawdy bohemianism to introspective sensory envelopment, Awake at the Wheel evokes a dynamic and fragile world. This fragility is an insistent theme, both in terms of human mortality and ecological crisis. These poems travel across a beautiful earth, through mental and spiritual zones bleached by consumer capitalism, and through country ravaged by mining, passing amongst the ghosts of those who have gone before, the spirits of loved ones, and of cultural and literary inheritance. This is a collection of playful, innovative and imaginative poems, driven by a refined and attentive musicality, brimming with possibility and surprise.

Judges' report for the Anne Elder Award 2016: "Berndt Sellheim’s combination of poetry and prose is impressive. It deals with pressing issues, impending ecological crisis, the scathing effects of capitalism, our own mortality. But it is also lyrical and masterful. We especially liked ‘The Experience Machine’, which is epic in scope and its all the right bases. It encap- sulates the modern existential malaise without losing its sense of humour. Technically accomplished, especially the line breaks; this is vital poetry. Sellheim is grounded in the art and craft of poetry, he embraces post modernist poetry and runs with it, producing a thought provoking selection."

Berndt Sellheim is a poet, novelist and occasional academic.He has taught creative writing and poetics at UTS, and lectured in philosophy at Macquarie University, where he completed a doctorate in phenomenology in 2008. His poetry and critical work have been published in periodicals such as Meanjin, Heat, Island, Overland, Best Australian Poems, Plumwood Mountain, Eyeline and The Journal for the British Society of Phenomenology. He is the author of the novel Beyond the Frame’s Edge (Fourth Estate, 2013).

Berndt Sellheim, Awake at the wheel
2016. 90 pp. 210 x 180 mm. ISBN 9781922181916  
Release date: August 2016.


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