By Tina GiannoukosPoetryAustralian Scholarly Publishing

Bull Days

The poems in Bull Days grapple with desire, ethics and compassion. From the first, the speaker confronts the challenges of today's world. Language becomes the ground of the undoing of a relationship that we are not certain has begun. Perhaps it may yet emerge out of the speaker's contemplation. Multi-voiced, this sequence of 58 sonnets explores the contemporary possibilities of the form.

Portrait of Tina Giannoukos

Tina Giannoukos

Tina Giannoukos was born in Melbourne. As a child, she lived for several years in Greece, where she completed her primary-school education. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne.

She has worked in teaching, journalism and law, and has held a Varuna Fellowship for new writers. She has also lived and worked in Beijing, and has travelled widely, including in Egypt. She has read her poetry in Greece and China. Her first collection of poetry, In a Bigger City, appeared in 2005.

Judges’ report

Tina Giannoukos’ Bull Days is a sequence of 58 sonnets threaded in a graceful tapestry of words laden with tender yet explosive intensity and unbridled passion. Giannoukos explores the trials and tribulations of love in its infinite possibilities. This powerful narrative-driven collection ebbs and flows in cyclical motion, shifting in form, alternating voice and taking us on an emotional, philosophical and spiritual rollercoaster. ‘Love’s desire is stripped bare … ’

Extract

XI 

All loves are linked. The liturgy of this affair,

heretical, permits violation. In dialogue,

we discover the monologue. My words

slip between idioms. I am in drag.

The monasticism of your love whets

the tongue, and a startling excessiveness

emerges. You are right to limit

the alphabet of my love. The vowels

of moaning proliferate. Polyphony

disturbs your spare musicality. Bare

is the sound of your pain. No one

can play this harmony of silence and

complaint. My favourite instrument,

right now, is the lyre of lament.

The Premier’s 21 Shortlist