Carapace takes for its title an extension of the idea of shelter, protection and home and attempts to crack the outer shell of language to reveal the vulnerability of language forms, relationships, and safety. It archives the journey of a young girl towards developing, losing, and leaving relationships within share-houses. This book is a follow on from Rooftops in Karachi, where the young girl has left her family home in Australia to begin at the age of 15 to navigate the world of relationships within the boundaries of temporary share-housing. Further responding to Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space is the conviction that there are traceable transcendent possibilities of personal poetic phenomenology within the realm of the house. This work is distinctly a meditation on experiences of share-housing and seeks through the dimensions of the house, an archive of her encounters with sex, mental health, and identity, as experienced distinctly by a young POC woman in Brisbane from the mid 90s. The recollections are a new dialectic of inhabiting temporary space and relationships best expressed through a creature who is developing an outer shell, which is the only home she really embodies. The archive is intensely invested in corporeal experience, and is, sometimes explicit and forthright in its explorations. It makes a vital and original contribution to feminist writing, particularly POC Queer writing and to the Australian literary landscape since it invests and insists on narrative that gestures towards the beautiful and transcendental experiences.
'There is a diamond-like depth to the work, each piece a perfect prism of recollected reels and flesh-fable scapes. Survival, belonging, sex and identity are some of the dorsal points which weave through Carapace.' Annie Te Whiu
Misbah Wolf is a Melbourne based poet. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of QLD. The author of one chapbook, Rooftops in Karachi
(Vagabond Press 2018), she has for over 15 years published poetry, performed as an artist and musician both within arts festivals like Queensland Poetry Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, Brisbane’s Slam Poetry Festivals, and more recently as costume and art developer for theatre in the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2019. As well as contributing her considerable creative talents to running writing workshops, radio shows on Melbourne’s RRR and performing in the underground music scene of the mid 2000’s in Brisbane, she performed and collaborated for many years with world renowned bands like Daevid Allen’s Gong and performed alongside the famous vanguard of spoken-word poetry and award-winning poet David Stavanger, aka Ghostboy. Her first book Rooftops in Karachi
was highly commended in the Shapcott Poetry Prize and acclaimed by Thomas Shapcott, Bronwyn Lea, and John Kinsella. Both Lea and Kinsella have referenced and further commented on her important contribution to the new poetic voice of the Australian poetry scene in The Australian
, and in Lea’s essay Australian Poetry Now
in 2016, and in Polysituatedness: A poetics of displacement
by John Kinsella in 2017. Her work has also been discussed by the award-winning American Poetry Professor and Poet, Timothy Yu in his review of the Journal Contemporary Asian Australian Poets
, for Cordite Review
. Her work went on to be commended in the same year Kinsella won the Wesley Michel Poetry Prize in 2018. Wolf also acted as a guest deputy editor for Mascara Literary Review
in 2014 and has published her work through Peril Magazine, Australia Poetry Journal, Cordite, Slow Canoe, Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word, Mascara Literary Journal
and has featured on ABC’s Radio National Poetica. Her fiction has appeared both in Peril
and been longlisted in the Liminal Fiction Prize and subsequently published in an anthology Collisions-Fictions of the Future: An anthology of Australian writers of Colour
in 2020. She was commissioned by Cordite
in 2019 to be a guest contributor and respond to the theme of ‘resistance’. Again, Wolf in the same year was asked to respond as a guest contributor to this same theme in Australian Poetry Journal
, Volume 7, 2019, edited by Kinsella.
Misbah Wolf, Carapace
2022. 148mm x 210mm. 48 pp.
Release date: March 2022