Cow


Publication Date: 1 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781876756888

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    Reviews and Awards

    Finalist: Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry (USA)
    Shortlisted: Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, NSW Premier's Literary and History Awards

    I recommend you lie in bed and read it to your lover, or pleasure yourself with it, mouth it, tongue it, and maybe as I did, circle its words and metaphors, anotate, indulge in marginalia, dally in thesauri and etymologies and listen and be encouraged to sing along.

    —Sarah St Vincent Welch, Rochford Street Review

    Susan Hawthorne's magical book is simply fantastic; quirky fun, highly intelligent and shines with imagination!! A montage of myth, fantasy, re-imagination, and reinvention. Poetry at its most extraordinary... and completely accessible. If you are not a poet, but love mythology and fantasy... READ THIS BOOK!!

    —Merry Gangemi, Goodreads

    ...Hawthorne's words here skim, swim and sing across the page in an endless delight of shapes, line lengths and verse forms that tantalise the eye and thrill the heart as they weave fantastically real stories

    —Lindy Warrell, Wetink

    Cow is one of the most discussed books I have experienced in the last three years. It is a book that is deeply challenging to the reader. Hawthorne has provided us with a fresh amalgamated mythology along with the flavours of Ancient Greek and Indian poetic structure.

    —Rhonda Jankovic, Spoken Word, Radio 3CR

    Cow is so monumental in so many ways I’d be shocked if it doesn’t win at least one major poetry award for 2011.

    —Heather Taylor Johnson, Mascara Literary Review

    Hawthorne carries her erudition lightly into poems that are playful, wise and provocative. Her evocation of the milk cow next door as the cosmic creator, woman, queen, philosopher, lover and thinker communicates with immediacy and vigour. By book’s end, we have traversed a world of mythology, place and story, all emanating from the single figure, cow.

    —Robyn Cadwallder, Verity La

    A courageous and daring collection that playfully and intelligently uses the symbol of the cow to reimagine a history of modern women...Cow, with its obvious interest in and inspiration from India, manages to write about India and the sacred in a fresh, fun and surprising way that goes beyond the regular, often saccharine, retelling of ancient myth.

    —Judges comments, Kenneth Slessor Prize 2012 Shortlist

    Sustained by the old wisdom traditions that knew the sacred and carrying such knowledge into these times, Susan Hawthorne is an awesome poet who gathers us into the future. A major achievement.

    —Deena Metzger, author 'Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems'

    One man's dinner is another one's idol. "Cow" is a collection of poetry as author Susan Hawthorne dives into the relativity of culture, politics, and the world's relationships with one another. With a certain wisdom and humor, "Cow" is an intriguing collection of poetry, very highly recommended. "What Queenie Says About Tamil": How the letters land/might be an indicator/in Tamil/the letter on all the temples/is the same sound/aum om/in Tamil/it resembles/a giant ear/at the centre of the universe//listening/listening/to the music.

    —Willis M. Buhle, Reviewer's Bookwatch

    Cover to cover, Cow is simultaneously a wonderful work of scholarship, of craft—and of art.

    —Judith Laura, Medusa Coils

    ...the book of poems [Cow] cannot conceal Susan's sharp intelligence and it is this blending of emotion, lyricism and historical reference that makes the collection an intriguing one.

    —Denise Carter, The Weekend Post, Cairns

    ... a work that effortlessly blends scholarship with sensuality to produce a rich and intoxicating mix. Moving, evocative, dark and humorous, Hawthorne's poetry is a unique dance between Sanskrit and Ancient Greek traditions, haunting the reader with its erotic and melancholic rhythms.

    —Jane Montgomery Griffiths

    This 'Cow' has Grade A milk, rich in ideas, wordplay, myth, science, philosophy, humour, sensuality and insight. This is non-homogenised, non-pasteurised poetry, full-bodied and in no need of supplements. To drink these poems is to immerse in a divinely creamy churn of universes, where stars and milk collide. You never know when the next Milky Way will emerge ...

    —berni janssen

    Susan Hawthorne's Cow poems are fascinating, fabulous and ceaselessly engaging. They are intellectually supple and emotionally labile – seductive and demanding, vernacular and subtly formal, sassy, accomplished and compelling reading.

    —David Gilbey

    I will probably never look at a cow the same way again after becoming familiar with how Queenie sees and tongues the world.

    —Sue Fitchett

    Cow is a real literature that entertains, charms and provokes. Hawthorne's erudition is elegant: she moves from cowshed to cosmos lightly and with technical grace and welcomes you into her fascinating mind.

    —Chris Mansell

    Reading and re-reading this book is like watching a flower gradually unfold, each layer revealing more and more of the beauty within.

    —Lesbian Caucus

    ...One of the wonderful freedoms resulting from the sense of play in the book is the latitude Hawthorne has to also “play” with her form and language...Most breathtaking is a myth moment reframed into desire and adulation, as “she looks down the throat of her lover there inside the mouth / galactic swirl” .

    —Jocelyn Heath, Lambda Literary

    Several nights running, after reading another string of Hawthorne's magical poems, Cow, I settled down and let my imagination out to pasture...Susan Hawthorne has struck gold with Cow...

    —Sinister Wisdom

    It is through the perceptive gaze and the knockabout humour of our guide that the poetry takes us to the mythical worlds of Greece, India and elsewhere without any sense of awkwardness or “scene-setting”.

    —Jennifer Mackenzie, Plumwood Mountain


    I am nothing special just a cow who wants to change the world a cow whose eyes are on the sky

    Cow leaps and flies into imaginative realms carrying mythology and language. Cow creates the universe, the galaxies and travels through the sky as a herd of stars. Cow writes love poetry and ponders lost histories.

    An intriguing approach to the rewriting of myth, this book takes the reader on a journey through the history of languages and symbolic traditions.

    Through a main character, Queenie, a cow of many abilities and a history that takes in the creation of the universe, readers come to see the world in new ways. The collection draws on the author’s knowledge of ancient languages and its structure draws on philosophy and the Sangam poetry tradition of South India.