For poets, poetry lovers and teachers…


One of the unique features of Box of Words is the set of pdf files that allow you to print, fold and staple to create a complete facsimile of the chapbook Things in a Glass Box, which was originally published as part of the SCARP/Five Islands New Poets series in 1994.

The 'glass boxes' of the title are museum display cases and dioramas, television sets, cameras, shopfronts, train windows and mirrors. These poems explore themes to do with memory, history and desire; and the ways in which we classify, record and compartmentalise both our private and our public histories; examining what gets kept and what gets discarded.

Spencer writes that the title also 'captured for me the pleasure of collecting images, and a sense of poems as small, precious (almost decadent, fetishised) objects in an age of mass culture and mass production. Love objects.' (From background notes to Things in a Glass Box, in Box of Words.)

A suite of poems from Things in a Glass Box makes up the first six tracks on Body of Words. These were produced in collaboration with Sydney sound artist, Stuart Ewings and were broadcast on ABC Radio National's Poetica.

An essay about the process of turning this work into a radio feature, titled 'The Museum of Fire' (after one of the longer poems) is in Heart, Mouth in Box of Words.

Other works that sit on the borderline between poetry and story are ‘Eve in the Garden’ and ‘My Mother’s Eyes’. Both were originally published in Spencer’s first book of fiction, How to Conceive of a Girl (Vintage/Random House, 1996), but they are essentially prose poems. Both have been adapted as radio works with audio versions on Body of Words and the texts (including the radio script for ‘Eve in the Garden’ for four voices and sounds) are in Box of Words.

There are also several poems scattered throughout the Heart, Mouth collection --  ‘A Blue Mountains Coin in the Slot Telescope Poem’, ‘Untethered’ and ‘Just Wanna’ – as well as the influence of poetic form and method throughout much of her fiction and essay writing.

Another feature of Box of Words is the addition of class materials. Background notes, discussion questions and writing exercises for each of the pieces included in audio form on Body of Words are included in the Box of Words CD-ROM. These are designed to provide some starting points and models of how to go about breaking open the poems, and suggestions for how to use them to encourage students to explore their own writing.


free sample-version with class materials | Body & Box of Words info |

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