Journal of the First Step
The poems in this collection continue and develop the evocations of experience arising from meditation of The Moving World, described by Robert Gray as 'a daring and triumphant project'.
Although 'unlike any that have appeared in Australia before', as Natalie Seger says in her doctoral thesis examining Heald's work and that of Kevin Hart, Judith Beveridge and Robert Gray, Heald's poems aim for a naturalness and accessibility of address. At the same time, they voice a profound challenge to mainstream world views, in particular that of philosophical materialism, as it operates in all spheres of contemporary life. These poems may often be heard as a lyrical protest against the absurd, deadening and destructive nature of that ideology, and as an earnest invitation to allow the awareness of a fuller reality to be recognised.
Notes for this book can be found in the pdf at right.
'This is a remarkable and original book.
[Heald has written] poems of great clarity and subtlety, classically direct poems...
This book seems to me a daring and triumphant project. I hope many people will be strongly drawn to it, as I was.'
- Robert Gray
Reception of The Moving World (2011)
'Vipassana is a world beyond language and expression, ineffable. Yet for those who have been there, these stealthy, patient poems, at once hugely ambitious and admirably modest, will remind them of their journey, how it felt and what it meant. The quiet mystery of these poems will be an invitation to Vipassana. Anyone accepting that invitation will surely one day exclaim: so this is what the poet meant!'
- Tim Parks
'As sustained descriptions of a highly personal experience within a universal technique, the poems of The Moving World are quite unlike any that have appeared in Australia before. In its invitation and its continuation of an ancient tradition of poetry, spanning centuries and many cultures, the volume has a focus and purpose that stretches beyond contemporary Australian poetics and yet remains an important part of it. Its colours, angles of observation and the constant presence of Australian plant and animal life within Heald’s work intuit “a deep readying” (“Sitting” 21), and the connection forged here is a development that may not be understood for quite some time.'
- Natalie Seger
About Michael Heald
Michael was born in Grimsby, England in 1959, and came to Perth, Australia, with his family in 1972. He studied at the University of Western Australia, where he obtained a PhD in contemporary Australian poetry. His previous books are Occasions, Body-flame, Focusing Saturn and The Moving World. His forthcoming book is Journal of the First Step, due to appear in mid 2022 with Puncher and Wattmann.