Decadence by Thuy On cover


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Thuy On

Longlisted for the 2023 Stella prize

From the Stella judges:

Thuy On’s Decadence is a thrilling and wry evisceration of poetry gatekeeping on this continent. She sometimes resists the non-poet reader, and other times brings them in openly on the joke without resorting to the easy gags about poetry. Even as it endlessly needles the industry in which it’s situated, Decadence stands in as a kind of portfolio demonstration of On’s craft and cleverness as a poet – focussed, sensual, critical, charged, interdisciplinary. As a book of poems about poems, it inevitably turns in on itself in a delicious way, but despite this Decadence is rarely up itself. When the collection looks outside to apply or play out its theories, On provokes us as readers to reconsider the role of poetry in our lives.


Funny, clever and keenly observed, Decadence is a profound musing on literature and language, that deftly skewers the would-be gatekeepers of verse. With this second collection, Thuy On has cemented herself as a vibrant, unique and captivating new voice in Australian poetry.  MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE


In Decadence, Thuy On indulges in her love of language, assembling a unique erotics of word and punctuation, showcasing a poetry that is pure—in being about itself—but also powerfully seductive. As the poet herself puts it, this is ‘art laid bare’, performing how language works as language but also as a window onto those dark, human mysteries of being and feeling. Indeed, if On builds such a brilliantly decadent mansion out of poetry, exploiting striking imagery and playful wit, it is ultimately to provide a kind of refuge, ‘lest the cave of night swallows you.’  MARIA TAKOLANDER


Thuy On's poems are always wry, epicurean and defiant, and this book underlines her unique place in Australian poetry. Literate yet disarmingly unpretentious, wildly playful yet leavened with complex feeling, Decadence is a surreptitious delight.  ANDY JACKSON


Book details

ISBN: 978-1-76080-223-3

PUBLISHED: July 2022



PRICE: $24.99 (incl GST)