- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
By Thuy On
In this intensely personal collection, On explores loss, separation and renewal, online dating, sex, longing, rejection and desire. Though they are personal and confessional, taken from the author’s own life, these poems speak to anyone who’s ever loved and lost. Filled with short sharp burst of emotion, this stunning debut seeks to untangle the messiness of human relationships.
An accomplished poetic debut about how we love each other, and what happens when we lose each other, Turbulence is lump-in-the-throat nostalgic, stunningly lyrical, and skilfully sharp. Thuy On wields words with exquisite restraint.
Maxine Beneba Clarke
Thuy On’s poetry lives in the present tense of the present moment. It’s fluid, it’s vibrant, and it doesn’t stop talking to you the reader, for Thuy On has the rare gift of going right up to the reader and talking about anything and everything unashamedly all at once and with a voice that is smart, intelligent, alive and sensual. If it’s ‘a somersaulting fish in the rib cage’ kind of poetry you would read (if you read poetry) then this is that kind of poetry. Thuy On has (as she says) a cynic’s head and a poet’s heart. These poems, heartfelt and cynical, are brief enough to operate like a speed dating experience. Each one you read might be one of the ones you want to keep around and live with for a long time. When Thuy On writes that ‘Life is not for making reservations but for turning up and hoping a table’s free’, she’s talking about turning up at an Anthony Bourdain restaurant, and yes, that would be one way of saying I am alive, I am here, I am hungry, and I am everything anyone could imagine a poet might be.
Thuy On's poems are sinewy vines on which the fruit of love and loss have ripened and the resin of language is pressed in its second skin.
A new voice in Australian poetry where life writing and the lyric are never too sweet, nor too dark, though often a surprising and lingering blend.