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Kate Lilley



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Ladylike is Australian poet Kate Lilley’s much awaited second volume of poetry, following her 2002 debut Versary (Salt Publishing).

The title poem of this collection (‘Ladylike’) draws on pamphlets associated with the notorious case of the bigamist Mary Carleton, who was executed in 1673, and texts contemporary with it; women from Sigmund Freud’s case studies provide the material for the series of poems, ‘Round Vienna’; and the poem ‘Cleft’ is dedicated to Kate Lilley’s mother, Australian literary giant Dorothy Hewett.

Throughout this collection, Kate mines the areas of her scholarly specialisation – the early modern period – as well as contemporary popular culture and matches it with some of the twentieth century’s enduring interests such as psychoanalysis and Freud.

Ladylike is a valuable addition to Australian poetry at large and will be of interest to readers of poetry, early modern history, Freud and early psychoanalysis.

Kate Lilley


Kate Lilley was born in 1960 and grew up in Perth and Sydney. After completing her PhD on Masculine Elegy at the University of London she spent four years as a Junior Research Fellow at Oxford...

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Shortlisted – 2013 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards (Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry)

Praise for Ladylike:

[Kate] Lilley’s poems…are restrained, subtle and dry, and her confessions are modulated by a dazzling array of cultural and historical references. Her poems present a refreshing and valuable world of slant humour, bright fragments and deeply considered oddities, with subtle hints of suffering redeemed.

— The Australian

Intelligent, graceful, sceptical, endlessly resonant, [Kate] Lilley’s poetry gives us a passionately exact language, which opens up the complexities of the inexact; in particular, the complexities of desire and love…Lilley continually pushes the language towards sheer exuberance: the poems become a riot of costumes and performance that give her wit and delight in language full rein.

— Overland

Fierce in its intellectual enquiry, it is also a poetry of exquisite form, and consolidates the emergence of a strong voice in Australian poetry.

— Australian Book Review

[Kate] Lilley’s poems are always concise with wit and meaning, and the same bold, singed humour.

— Sydney Morning Herald




Paperback, 198 x 128 mm
88 pages




Australia and New Zealand

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