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Darger: his girls

Henry Darger was an untrained artist and a social isolate who was obsessed with little girls. When he died in Chicago in 1973 at the age of 81, his work was completely unknown. Now his work is hung in major international art galleries and his innovative use of materials places him in the pop art milieu. The poems in this book tell the story of his life. Click here to purchase print or ebook.

ISBN: 9781921450648

‘Chevalier’s four part poem sequence plus coda is a poetic animation of Henry Darger’s life from childhood to death: his plights, conflicts, moods, his creativity. Chevalier uses a range of poetic forms and structures to give us the textures of Henry’s life and psyche. She gives him plenty of space to speak for himself using the monologue form which prevails through most of the narrative. Drawing on art critique, critical biography, Darger’s writings including autobiography, and her own empathetic, astute, and inventive imagination, Chevalier has produced a rich, feisty and evocative portrait – without sensationalising, confining or whitewashing her subject. In the coda, Henry even appears and speaks from beyond the grave.’ — joanne burns, LAUNCH SPEECH 17.12.12

“Chevalier’s fine-tuned ear makes her poems enjoyably fluent and direct, their observational stance driven by restless interest in the world around her and its linguistic and formal mediation.”
– Kate Lilley


Linen Tough as History

In Julie Chevalier’s Linen Tough As History Frank O’Hara meets Julia Gillard on election night for lime spiders at Fairy Meadow beach: “she’s hurrying toward him as fast as she can with the sole of her orthopaedic boot built up so high…” Chevalier’s poetry is fresh and feisty, as she navigates contemporary tensions between the cosmopolitan and parochial, stretching from Sydney down the escarpment to Wollongong’. —Keri Glastonbury

ISBN: 0781921450501  Click her to purchase

‘Like joanne burns, Chevalier revels in odd junctures, in coming at her subjects sidelong and with a raised eyebrow for the gender and social differentials present in our everyday interactions. Her style is fresh, incisive and she has a deft ability to nuance her poems with an impressive tonal range and an eye for weird personal and social milieus, finding imagery and syntax to match … Linen Tough as History announces a poet whose work is deeply satisfying and accomplished. — Judith Beveridge, WESTERLY 57:1 2012

‘There are prose poems and set forms (sonnet, pantoum), an alphabet poem and a few experiments. “Corner of Glebe Point Road and Broadway” is a wonderful in ‘response’ to Gwen Harwood’s iconic “Suburban Sonnet”. I used this poem to open the Poetry Issue of Southerly I edited in 2009 and, rereading it in the book, I once again loved its pacey vernacular and rhythmic control. When it all comes together, as it does here, there’s a lot to admire. — Kate Lilley, AUSTRALIAN POETRY JOURNAL 2:2 2012

Best Aust Poetry 2012

Thanks to John Tranter for selecting my poem ‘amore of the moon’ for Best Australian Poems 2012.




Alec Bolton Prize

artsactlogoThe Alec Bolton Prize is for an unpublished manuscript and is open nationally and valued at $5,000.


Darger – a sequence of poems by Julie Chevalier (NSW)

‘ms marbig No. 26 16′ was chosen by John Tranter in this year’s Best Australian Poems 2011

haunted girl lines my pocket with headlines‘ and ‘& dribbled catsup on his clean shirt‘  appear in Issue 10 Prose Poetry Oct 2011 edited by Keri Glastonbury.

‘darger: his girls’ won Third Prize in the Newcastle Poetry Prize 2011

linen tough as history

Puncher & Wattmann

linen tough as history, my first poetry collection, will be launched on February 11, 2012 by Puncher & Wattmann. Details to follow. Four or five short poems in the collection are about a girl who grew up surrounded by surf culture.  She was brought up by her nana in Towradgi, on the coast just north of Wollongong, NSW, Australia. The only thing that can drag her away from the sea is the dream of acting in films.

Art deco cinema

Hollywood.     9:45 (last night)

Cannes            4:45

Venice             6:18

Towradgi         2:45 (arvo)

Berlin              (whatever).

When I’m brushing my teeth to go to bed, Heath is brushing his, only its yesterday. If he lives in Hollywood. If stars brush their own. Probably has his stylist do it. Anyway, I’m not here about him this time. I’m here about getting to Sundance. Nana tells me to keep doing French because Charlotte Rampling is the wisest, sexiest woman in cinema. Nana wouldn’t slab on the sunscreen if she thought freckles were that cool. My room in Towradgi will look just like this. Rip up the wall-to-wall; paint the floor sea-black. A magic carpet, diagonally in the middle, mint green. Wooden furniture bent into curves. More Movieworld posters, definitely. Mum would say, Westie op shop. Tempe Tip. Mirrors with light bulbs are so Go-Lo, aren’t they? Hooks for my swimmers and goggles. Blockout. Spotlights. A stage in one corner.

previously published by Blue Dog, Australian Poetry and as Poem-of-the-Month, October 2008 on the Australian Poetry Centre website

monofilament atonement

the starlet that never started-up

the space shuttle that never achieved lift-off

i fell from the land

where there are no angels

the curling arms of the tasman sea

beckoned     return return     then broke

and i broke

my piggy & nana’s heart

aerogard & headbanging at the local

fatty bangers on rolls:  toohey’s new

rollies round the back    i never fit in

the zits crowd     either

i collected sandy hours of beach plastic

waitressed at north beach

brought home leftovers for nana.

would any drama school accept

a size 12 girl from towradgi

without outstanding bone structure

if i hadn’t gone to la la land

i’d still need to go

Darger:  his girls:  a sequence of poems about the life of Henry Darger

(working title)

A biography of Henry Darger in poetry is almost ready for publication.  One of the sixty pages of poems, the bandage room appears in Blue Dog:  Australian Poetry. December 2010.


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