The Sky Runs Right Through Us

The Sky Runs Right Through Us

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Reneé Pettitt-Schipp



Winner - The 2019 Western Australian Premier's Book Award for an Emerging Writer

Shortlisted - 2015 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript

Shortlisted - The CHASS Australia Prize


Praise for The Sky Runs Right Through Us


I first saw these poems in manuscript when they were sent in to Radio National’s Poetica program from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and I knew they were important. It was not only their first-hand experience with refugees – though that was a big factor, as the plight of refugees is a defining feature of our times, and future generations will look back at our treatment of them and judge us as a people by it. It was also the geographical location of the poems and their sensitivity to an oceanic environment. Reneé Pettitt-Schipp has had an interest in the artistic and poetic movement known as Tidalectics, an ocean-based movement that seeks a more decentralised, environmental and fluid approach to world poetry and politics. The structure of the book follows a personal journey from Christmas Island, back to the Australian mainland to deal with the decline and death of her father, then to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and finally back to the suburbs of Perth. There is a restrained power in her lyrics and her political poems manage to be both trenchant and caring. In The Sky Runs Right Through Us, the sea unmakes our tight self-definitions and the margins become central. Reneé Pettitt-Schipp unsettles at the same time as she delights.



This deeply personal book is also an important historical record. Written from the heart and covering a period of time working on Christmas Island with asylum seekers until her return to Australia with an urgency to bear witness, Pettitt-Schipp’s steady eye is levelled at a façade of Australian inclusivity and openness “this land’s edge /has always been an invitation/a white-toothed smile/ to walk on”. To those denied entry, those white teeth become menace, exclusion, shark, crocodile. In a book filled with heart-breakingly tender portraits, borders and bodies, sanctions and sanctuary are held close to each other in ways which articulate the space but also, the common ground between “us”.



These beautiful Christmas Island poems capture both the despair of asylum seekers imprisoned by rock and sea and their ancient will to continue.



Book details

FORMAT: Paperback
EXTENT: 122 pages
SIZE: 210 (h) x 140 (w) mm
ISBN: 9781742589596
RIGHTS: World rights
CATEGORY: PoetryReneé Pettitt-SchippUWAP Poetry,