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In the Constellation of the Crab

‘Here, with heightened intensity and greatly augmented range, are the strong themes which have already distinguished Doris Brett’s poetry: flight, light, magic, and metamorphosis. Of especial power are her haunting lyrics about cancer and the all-too-real operating theatre; but her re-inventions of the old fairytales are also marvelous. Hers is the flashing, compacted, restless imagination which somehow always knows that “we are in the giant’s kitchen.”‘ – – Chris Wallace-Crabbe

“The cancer poems were my journal – I wrote my way through the experience. Their essence has been the transformation of a life-threatening experience, with all its pain and terror, into something illuminating and transcendent. I see it as a companion for the journey.” – Doris Brett

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Published by Hale & Iremonger 1996.

Poems in In the Constellation of the Crab have won the following awards:

1990 Fellowship of Australian Writers John Shaw Neilson Prize

1994 Fellowship of Australian Writers John Shaw Neilson Prize

1994 Queensland Premier’s Poetry Prize

1994 Northern Territory Government Poetry Prize

1998 Judith Wright Poetry Prize

1998 Gwen Harwood Memorial Poetry Prize

“This is a surprising and impressive book at every level.” – Martin Duwell – The Australian

“The hospital poems are the single best suite of poems I have ever read about anything to do with hospitals or long-term illness.” – Dan Byrnes – New England Review

“. . . The poems . . . are compelling because of their immediacy and their courage. But this is not the source of their power, which really lies in the fact that here, where the limits are so close, the imagination ventures forth with innocent boldness shedding the light of romance and magic on whatever it touches. . . It is a world of enchantment and transformation in which fire escapes and fridges can start into life as surely as bones and stars. Brett’s territory . . (is) . . . those spaces beyond the safe limits of identity.” – Ivor Indyk – Heat