Longlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize

The Open – Lucy Van

Fiction · Cordite Books

The Open

About the Book

“The ocean passes beneath these poems and one inevitably gets wet. It’s ‘a liquidation of territory’, whether in Vietnam or in Australia, or between what’s touched and what’s yet to be touched. Site of frission. Contention. Then insight. These prose poems start as a moment flowing in interior monologue into multiple spaces and times. Then sneakily, and bravely too, they open estranging doors, so poetry starts reading like short story becoming extemporaneous discourse, erudite and interrogative, hopscotching from Foucault to Kristeve to Malouf to Plath. Van’s quicksilver to-ing and fro-ing creates an insight-coaxing discombobulation.” – Merlinda Bobis, ‘Introduction’ to The Open

“The Open invites an understanding that the privacy and vulnerability necessary in order to make these decisions is complex and fraught.”

– 2022 Stella Prize Judges

Lucy Van

About the Author

Lucy Van

Lucy Van writes poetry and literary criticism. She has been a writer in residence at Overland (2019–2020), and a Melbourne Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne (2018–2019), where she is currently an honorary fellow in the English and Theatre Studies program. Her poetry has appeared in publications including Australian Poetry JournalThe Suburban ReviewRabbitAxon, and Best of Australian Poems 2021. Her essays have appeared in KatipunanLiminal Book ReviewHistory of Photography, Journal of Australian StudiesMeanjinSoutherlyCordite Poetry Review and others. Her first poetry collection is The Open.

Further Reading


“Van’s absolute strength is infusing small images with the emotions of decolonisation.” – Clare Millar, Readings online

“…as the title suggests – open, in both its honesty and its capacity to encourage and sustain readings from many angles of approach.” – Riley Faulds, Westerly

“Each book deserves a broad readership. Each beats back the lethargic thinking that has invaded society under the cover of the pandemic.” – Anders Villani, Australian Book Review


Read Merlinda Bobis’s introduction to The Open via Cordite Poetry Review

Read ‘5 Questions with Lucy Van’ via Liminal Mag

Listen to ‘Tell Me Like You Mean It: Lucy Van’ via the Emerging Writers’ Festival

Judges’ Report

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