Poetry. Introduction by Juliana Spahr. Since 1972, satellites have circled the earth, collecting images of it and sending them back to be catalogued and examined. Conventionally these satellites are called landsats, sometimes EarthHawks. Landsats tend to have a 16-day orbit. Most of them only last for three years. But Landsat 5, it lasted for 29 years, meaning it circled the earth over 150,000 times, sending back over 2.5 million images. Landsat 5 captured Chernobyl three days after the nuclear disaster. And the oil wells that were lit on fire in Kuwait as the Iraqi forces left. And the tsunami in South-East Asia. But it did not just capture large historical events. As Landsat 5 circled, forests burned down and then became deserts or parking lots. Flowers bloomed and died and bloomed again and died again. Rains came and went. As did floods and hurricanes and droughts. Ice caps melted and 11 new emperor penguin colonies were birthed.
"O'Keefe writes with a landsat aesthetic. She uses juxtaposition so that fragments of the world float by, bumping up against each other. The poems travel, board planes, catch the bus, have a lot of walking to do. Unsurprisingly, things are often seen through a screen. In one poem, there are 'whole corners for televisions / that burst from brackets.' In another, 'flat screen jellyfish inhabiting conversions.' In another, workers 'hold phones / up to the hidden moon.' Sometimes these same screens broadcast the riots of our time and are 'a ledger / of brutality that stays near.'"—Juliana Spahr
Ella O'Keefe grew up in Sydney but has lived in Melbourne for almost a decade. She was the winner of the 2015 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize and the joint winner of the 2018 Harold Tribe Poetry Award. She completed her PhD in literary studies at Deakin University in 2019 and has been employed variously as a university tutor and researcher, and as a library worker for SBS Radio and in public libraries. Her radio work has been broadcast on 2SER FM, FBI Radio and Radio National.Author City: MELBOURNE AUS