By Libby HartPoetryFive Islands Press

This Floating World

Keenly observed and luminously captured, This Floating World is a seductive poetic tour of Ireland, unfolding over a period of 24 hours and dictated by the wind or the rain.

This collection is presented in two parts; the first a series of four ‘overture’ poems that set the scene for the book’s title poem, a songline through the island of Ireland, guided by an omnipotent force who listens in on the soliloquies of its people, ghosts, birds and animals, and even its landscape and ocean.

Quietly contemplative, both lyrical and narrative, this is essentially a celebration of how, in some small way, we are connected to all things.

Portrait of Libby Hart

Libby Hart

Libby Hart’s debut collection, Fresh News form the Arctic (2006) received the Anne Elder Award and was shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Prize. She is a recipient of an Australia Council for the Arts residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig in County Monaghan, Ireland and a D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship at the Australian Centre, University of Melbourne. Her poem, ‘The Briefcase Phenomenon’ was chosen for the inaugural Poetry in Film Festival in 2010 and filmmakers produced short films inspired by it. In the same year, This Floating World was devised for stage and performed by Teresa Bell and Gavin Blatchford. These performances received the Shelton Lea Award for Best Group Performance at the 9th Melbourne Overload Poetry Festival Awards.

Judges’ report

Libby Hart’s This Floating World is a poetic journey through Ireland. Along the way we are introduced to a variety of characters, among them ghosts, lovers, animals, drunks and the occasional speaking landscape. It is simply a privilege to read this elegant and graceful collection. We are charmed at the way we get to eavesdrop as we travel through the cliffs, seas, hotels and bedrooms of the country. It is no wonder that This Floating World has been devised for the stage – it deserves not only to be read, but to be heard as well as seen.


Is the second collection of poetry published by Libby Hart. Libby’s poetry celebrates magical Ireland where ghosts appear and water spirits loom within the waterfalls. Every poem uses nature and her elements to transport us to landscapes of constant wind, misty rains and peaks of wind bent grasses. The Floating World alludes to the mythical and legendary.

In the first poem, ‘If I were to build a heart’, we commence with the tragic scenario that describes how fragile the human heart is and the risk we take when we offer it to another.

And if I were to shape it, would you come?

Romance and dream-like imaginings resonate and pronounce a world within worlds - it’s just a beautiful collection. It reads like a sad ballad that stirs the soul.

The wonderful metaphorical dialogue illuminates the ordinary experience into the extraordinary: take, for example, ‘Daylight speaking to the wind’ - how does this happen? You perceive it through the last line - I hear the noise of the world escaping. My awareness is pierced by this echo.

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist