Morgan Bach

Middle Youth

210mm x 138mm
Publication date:
10 August 2023

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The poems of Middle Youth look directly into the fire. Sometimes they find joy and the possibility of sustaining oneself; sometimes they feel the sense of an ending. 

Morgan Bach writes with a dark, crackling energy and controlled rage about the world we find ourselves in. Here are the loves that fill and drain us, tarot readings under a roof weighted with snow, and a body that keeps on moving though it feels like a full stop. Here is the usefulness of hope, even a secret one.

'Truly beautiful.' —Hamesh Wyatt, Otago Daily Times

‘These poems are bitter as a herbal tonic and salty as the sea itself. They are bloody and brutal and aware of the strange rhythms of their own heartbeat.’ —Hannah Mettner, author of Saga and Fully Clothed and So Forgetful

'In Middle Youth, Bach explores moving away from youth into an uncertain, climate-stalked future. I love the "trap" poems. I resolve to tread lightly.' —James Brown, the Modern Letters newsletter

'Morgan Bach does us a huge service with this frank expression of her vision. We need more of such unvarnished truth-telling.' —Margaret Austin, Regional News

'Often a sequence of sorrow and hesitation, Middle Youth is carefully crafted and does open up to us a certain perspective that is rarely revealed.' —NZ Listener

'Who wants to be hot / on a doomed planet? Morgan Bach bathes the ending generations in forest fire radiance, partying contagiously on the edge of the extinction event where we become brittle stars unable to tell the quaking earth from our shaky hearts. Middle Youth looks out from this faded blue dot and its leaky seed banks to other love-struck planets, and inward to birthdays nobody quite expected to celebrate as the years stretch and flee in every direction.' —Rebecca Hawkes, author of Meatlovers

'Middle Youth is poetry at its skin tearing, provoking out of slumber, flame sparking best.' —Paula Green, NZ Poetry Shelf

'Bach’s bodily symbolism conveys her generation’s inheritance of and frustration at an increasingly damaged ecosystem that increasingly risks damaging us. Consequently, the resonant imagistic conjuring of the world in the poem "the pomegranate" as "an open-air museum / where everyone is relaxing / into their graves" mutates into "a forest of glass" in the poem "blood moon". Throughout, these recurring intimations of planetary vulnerability resulting from human interactions are juxtaposed with authorial meditations upon light and air as physical and responsive, but also as disregarded and endangered resources.' —Siobhan Harvey, Landfall Review Online

Morgan Bach was the recipient of the 2013 Biggs Family Prize in Poetry, and her first book, Some of Us Eat the Seeds, was published in 2015. Some of her recent work appears in Turbine, The Spinoff and Best New Zealand Poems. In 2014, with Hannah Mettner and Sugar Magnolia Wilson, she co-founded the online poetry journal Sweet Mammalian.

Cover painting: Karla Marchesi, The Sense of an Ending
Cover design: Todd Atticus

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