About the author
Sarah Holland-Batt is the author of three books of poetry –The Jaguar (2022), The Hazards (2015) and Aria (2008) – and a book of essays on contemporary poetry, Fishing for Lightning (2021). Her honours include the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry, a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, and residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo in the United States. She is presently the Judy Harris Writer in Residence at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, and Professor of Creative Writing and Literary Studies at QUT.
About the book
With electrifying boldness, Sarah Holland-Batt confronts what it means to be mortal in an astonishing and deeply humane portrait of a father’s Parkinson’s Disease, and a daughter forged by grief.
Opening and closing with startling elegies set in the charged moments before and after a death, and fearlessly probing the body’s animal endurance, appetites and metamorphoses, The Jaguar is marked by Holland-Batt’s lyric intensity and linguistic mastery, along with a stark new clarity of voice.
Here, Holland-Batt is at her most exacting and uncompromising: these ferociously intelligent, insistent poems refuse to look away, and challenge us to view ruthless witness as a form of love.
The Jaguar centres on a remarkable sequence about the death of the author’s father from Parkinson’s Disease: tender, memorable poems that capture grief and loss and love through unforgettable imagery, often blended with humour. Throughout the collection, Sarah Holland-Batt investigates the body as a site of both pleasure and frailty, writing equally effectively about sex, romance, and ageing.
Accessible, lyrical and wise, this is a book from a poet at the height of her powers.
“A confronting and heartfelt elegy for her father, bookended by the devastating end of his life but not forgoing the vivid living of the rest of it – capturing his humanity, his illness and her loss with clarity and love.” – Steph Harmon, The Guardian
“Her artistry is exhilarating.” – Amanda Lohrey, The Sydney Morning Herald
“Few poets can achieve this level of transformation, allowing their images to move with argumentative force… The poems about her father are among some of the most powerful written on this subject and many readers will be profoundly affected by them.” – Judith Beveridge, The Australian
Listen to Sarah Holland-Batt on ABC Radio National’s Big Weekend of Books
Read a profile of Sarah Holland-Batt in The Guardian
Hear Sarah discuss her work on the Poetry Says podcast