When Sara Moss speaks of the 'tough little flowers' of "Daisy Chain" she might well be speaking of many of the poems in this, her first collection. Apparently modest in thematic and formal scope, their roots run deep, with a strength that comes from the interaction of a direct eye, a lively mind and a responsive, often troubled, heart. Though her vision is by no means uniformly sombre, being at times distinctly feisty, Moss is most impressive when demonstrating her under-standing of the ordinariness as well as the mystery of suffering, whether that suffering comes in the form of 'Illness, grief at the specific loss of someone loved ("A Deep Fear of Trains", "Holding On"') or the vaguer inti mat ions of those "Bad Days"' when we feel 'the rasp/ of fate's whiskers'. She also understands, and writes cogently about, the violence of private and public life, the anger that women direct at each other as well as against men, and the difficulties of situating a self-conscious self in relation both to other people and to historical events.

Her success in suggesting the mysteriousness of people, events and objects is largely due to her grasp of the fact that mystery is best conveyed not through asserting its existence but through its evocation in images which may be 'Teasing — with a hint of profile' or precise as orange segments 'arranged/ like flower petals' on a white hospital plate. To be 'in the hold/of what is known' is a sanctuary for the distraught persona of "Through the Carriages, but it is also a major strength for the poet.

– Jennifer Strauss

Yes, but there's often also a poignantly lyrical quality as in the haunting lines of "Returning": `Gulls cry in the morning/salt grazes my tongue/You never know/when you have everything/when health courses/through blood and tissue/when you are one/with the lapping tide.' Some of these poems may indeed recount hospitalisation and physical incapacity but they never display the impotence of spirit and despair. While Moss never understates the strength of the darkness, she asserts her identity, her selfhood as woman, lover, feminist. There is an honesty and integrity to all this, and an enduring courage.

– John Knight, Social Alternatives

Sara Moss is one of the interesting new voices on the local scene. This is a thoughtful and very accessible collection with plenty of social and personal relevance to readers. The anthemic Fat may appeal to some. `I am fat/ I like being fat/ I resist inducements to diet... I'm the fat you fear/will roll you/FLAT! Then there's a lament for the great contemporary troubador in "Losing Bob Dylan", where the poet regrets Dylan `Suffering the indignity/of being digitally/remastered'. Published by David Reiter's cutting-edge Interactive Press, this is a good place to taste test the vibrant contemporary local scene.
– Phil Brown, Brisbane News

Throughout the collection there is an underlying pessimism for the human state, mixed with a rather sad acceptance, hardly surprising given the topics addressed — loss, the memory of loss, the plight of the sick, especially children, and the plight of wives and mothers caught in the web of domesticity and other necessities. However, much of this is looked at with irony or with cynicism, in a style that ranges from the flippant through to the humorously sardonic, in these lightly strung poems that do, very often, pack a punch.

– Helen Horton, Imago



Sara M

Sara Moss was born in Somerset England in 1967 and emigrated to Queensland, Australia with her family when she was twelve years old. Her early ambitions for a career in journalism reflected an interest in writing but her desire for a wider education led her to Sydney and a study of history and politics at Macquarie University.

Returning to Queensland in the early 1990s she began writing poetry, combining the observation and humour of spoken word based texts with the economy demanded in writing for the page. She realises her poetic vision through voices echoing facets of the self and everyday life.

Experiences of migration and isolation manifest in themes of loss, separation and returning. Her ability to dramatise these subjects in a disturbing world gives universal strength to her poetry.

IP is pleased to announce the publication of the first in its Emerging Authors' Series, Sara Moss’  A Deep Fear of Trains.

In this brash first collection, Sara Moss strips complacency away from the poetic experience. A provocative blend of the intensely personal and incisive documentary,  A Deep Fear of Trains celebrates the bravery of sick children, while satirising the selfishness of the privileged.

These are works that reach out for contact in places where defeat is the norm, to find beating hearts in stale kingdoms. Her poetry questions whether salvation is possible but never denies the necessity of attaining it.