After reading Michele Seminara’s Suburban Fantasy I came away with a feeling of elation, even taking into account the poems written from behind her ‘domestic trenches’. The dark material of many poems and a clean-cut technique only strengthens the fierce hope that shoots through the book. This is created by very fine writing and the strength of the particular spirit behind it. Seminara’s line ‘It is a dark world in which we dare love’ is a key to this brave poet who takes on the existential risk of writing to the edge of things. Michele is the finest poet of her generation, and her experimental ‘remix’ versions take on writers as powerful as Christina Stead, William Burroughs and Patrick White. These poems are disturbing and uplifting to read, and the accuracy of tone and the way they upturn the original texts works beautifully. This book is stark and lyrical, distilled like a spirit gift to the careful reader. — Robert Adamson
Seminara cleverly pulls the shades up on linguistic imagery and domestic disconformity within the folds of Suburban Fantasy — an abode of poetic reality in which we have all dwelt. — Yvette Henry Holt
Suburban Fantasy is a beautifully crafted and important book of poems; the domestic world described in Seminara’s work lifts the facade of an Australian dream and reveals the turmoil and horror buried beneath, both interpersonally and personally.These poems speak from the voice of a mother, daughter and woman in contemporary Australia, exploring the complexity of family as well as violence, mental illness and forgiveness; whilst always behind the darkness lies a hope to confront and embrace the ‘absence of erase’.
What Seminara does so well is write of dark and troubling events with strength, empathy, and attention to craft. The impressive achievement of her debut collection Engraft is incomparable to the voice, control and sheer beauty found in the lines of Suburban Fantasy. An extremely revealing, resonant and startling collection of poems by one of the finest writers at work today. — Robbie Coburn
A startlingly frank take on modern femininity, Michele Seminara’s Suburban Fantasy combines finely crafted narratives with lyrical artistry and sure-footed eloquence. This is raw, fiery, firebrand feminist writing that manages to artfully co-exist with giddying intimacy and poignant soul-bearing.
At the heart of this fearless work is a scream, “existential and unruly” (‘Blood Nature’) that will surely resonate through every woman reader. From the desolation of its lopped ‘Family Tree’ (“They cut the limbs off first/Of that tree which is me”) and ‘A Great Sorrow’ (“a storm-grey bird/has come to roost inside you”) to the candour of ‘Run Rabbit’ (“The coiled snake/of the father’s anger/sleeps at the base of his spine”), this book never shirks its central tenet of candid reflection on the state of suburban womanhood. That archetype is wryly exposed in all of her domestic splendour (‘Ms Suburbia’: “What a tame beast she has become, idling in the paddocks of her family’s unmade/beds and mountainous dishes”), though it is hard not to believe the pervasive dark humour of this book is wholly in earnest.
Do not be lulled by the songful beauty of its language — this book rejoices in baring sharp teeth that shimmer amidst its bright, widely (at times wildly) alert consciousness. Threaded throughout with an intoxicating Dickinsonian pull towards the dark side, Suburban Fantasy nevertheless proves to be wistful, wishful and uplifting. — Anne Casey