Listen to David read the poem Ordinary Euphoria #2 from his book.
A young girl believes in magic. A young boy of similar age, but from a different culture, does not mock her belief in magic, but mocks the magic in which she believes. A clan of foxes believe in the law of the jungle. Their leader believes the sweet meat of the young girl will bestow everlasting powers. The forest animals believe the Natural Order is the Way; they trust Gronups to guide them. In turn, Gronups believe the young girl’s spirit may open up a turning point in the path of destruction that has seen a contraction of habitat and extinction of animals. They believe the spirit of the young boy is ancient, and they have met it before. The young girl’s father believes her imagination is problematic; Gronups believe it may be the answer.
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In many senses, Kumakana represents an in-betweenness that is reflected in teenage life. Teenagers sit on the edges of childhood and adulthood, and the thresholds between them are frequently indistinct. This same sensation is true of Kumakana , where Lavender Jensen sits in a liminal space that transcends the reality of being trapped in a scary place and the magical realm of being at one with the animal world. While she has a foot in both, she is never really in one or the other, and this sensation is what gives rise to the book’s magical realism.
The cultural work of Kumakana is achieved through its expression and shaping of the long term effects of colonisation on the south-west Australian landscape, but to do so it needs to draw on life as it might have been prior to the upheaval of invasion. The central theme of the work might be a message to the reader to ‘let go your beliefs’ because it’s in the act of letting go that meaning might be made.
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The idea of ordinary euphoria, the title of my upcoming collection of poems, and also the title of two of the poems in the book, is an attempt to capture an experience we all have at some time. It happens at unexpected times, when we are simply going about our everyday business, and not at all in a mood of spiritual readiness or even much vaunted mindfulness. It is that moment when an odd lining up of accidents, a shaft of light hitting an object, or an experience of unguarded human emotion, or a sense of time passing, transforms time and space into the numinous, or the transcendent: when we feel somehow close to the heart of things, a sense of the earth’s essential mystery.
Something related happens when we read a great poem, or gaze at a great painting—or catch something fascinating and beyond definition in an old forgotten photograph. I make no claims that I have captured that sense, that mood, that moment in the poetry. I think the poems are more “about” that feeling than “of” or “in” it. But it is why I write, too—well, why I write poetry.
We are kicking off our 2017 book launches with David Moody’s Ordinary Euphoria on Thursday evening February 23. To be at the event, visit our facebook event page. While you are there, be sure to like our official facebook page, and to secure your copy of Ordinary Euphoria to collect at the launch visit our bookshop here.
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