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Winner of the 2012 IP Picks Best Poetry Award, musefood is modern, savvy and sharp-tongued verse at its best.

Ruckert’s musings on women in contemporary life explore a subject not often visited through verse. What could have easily been flighty or frivolous is instead a witty and honest social commentary, intertwined with varying shades of comedy and poignancy.

ISBN 9781921869969 (PB, 160pp)
140mm x 216mm

AUD $26 USD $18 NZD $27 GBP £12 EUR €14

ISBN 9781921869976 (eBook)

AUD $12 USD $9 NZD $14 GBP £6 EUR €7


"On opening Margaret Ruckert’s new collection ‘musefood’ one discovers a generously stocked pantry of poems. ‘musefood’ is almost cornucopic in its range of subjects. There are poems focussed on the contemporary woman, on contemporary lifestyle, education, science, hospitals and doctors, shopping, real estate, eating out, personal and family history, quirky museums, nature – and more.

Ruckert has a sharp and perceptive eye, and an inventive mind. She has the reflexes of a caricaturist. Her poems can be humorous, playful, witty, acerbic – and trenchantly challenging. In ‘party girl – submarine class’ the poet comments ‘and when she works a room, she’s a periscope on legs’. Another poem is titled ‘Miss Diagnosis’. In ‘by 12 p.m. any weekday’ Ruckert cheekily inquires of an extended family group eating out

              ‘Caesar salad, is one or more of them celebrating
               the birth of a baby……’

Lyrical moments such as a portrait of her mother’s shorthand skills in ‘mood cumulus’, and water image poems complement the more performative works in this collection."

– Joanne Burns

Margaret Ruckert

Margaret Owen Ruckert was born Margaret Owen in Sydney, NSW, to an English mother and Australian father. She studied at Sydney University, becoming a Science teacher in schools and TAFE colleges. During her career she wrote articles on science pedagogy and was a columnist for the college newsletter.

Having written poetry as a child, she decided to take a Creative Writing subject in her mature-age Master’s degree and this opportunity continues to inspire her writing. Following early redundancy, she retrained and currently teaches Literacy and Numeracy.

A previous winner of the National Poetry Competition of the Society of Women Writers, NSW, her poems and articles appear in leading Australian journals, as well as newspapers and anthologies. Margaret is Facilitator of the Hurstville Discovery Writers Group and presents monthly workshops on writing. Her first book You Deserve Dessert (2009) explored over 100 sweet foods through the poetry of language.


Margaret's website

Margaret on imagery in writing



she bobs across the city on the morning rush tide like cork on water always on a high bounce oxygen-fresh muscles to go if you asked her how she was feeling she’d shout you champagne orange juice and ice with compassion like this her enemies dissolve she’s fizz, flotsam head above the surges of water-mad workers jealous of her freedom waves of strangers confront her future if she’s wise she’ll duck-dive why waste explanations on signs and billboards female nudes fish for her dollars – she won’t buy it dipping a toe outside at lunch she tests the temperature hot end-of-month sales hot-for-her offers it’s hard to stay cool in a moving waterway of exceptionally-today young she’s up to her pecs cool coastal picking off the predators

blanket of cloud

some phrases are so embedded in language so in bed with others, we take them as partners like blanket of cloud – that feature of sky housekeeping with an English maid pillows of smoke – implied requiem a metaphor helpless to smother the horror cover of darkness – where night is a friend collapsing your fear with thick black humour five-star rating – my Continental partner a different bed, goose-feathers, duvet I quickly saw the Continental benefits nothing to be tucked in or tightened nothing to encourage the gremlins of weather under a quilted sky, I abandon the blanket

Neuro Evolution

as continents drift might organs drift toward a body of wisdom organs as raw, ingredients of change inspired by an other-worldly mind updating our continental body, its sensory plates, our nerve-stitched skin, tectonic cloth a one-sided cover that daily assumes our enemies will only do battle at the front a fossilised design for a seamstress of vision – a fantasy physician – to cut another template ‘just as the physical world renews, we see body-parts – volcano-like. Think Krakatoa.’ in this futuristic furnace, technologies ready with their vulcanising heat, for a fit survival on a volatile earth – their ideas not mine: eyes to multiply, with some relocation to a higher floor, opening brains to the possibility of sky automatic eyelids to trick the missiles noses pollution-savvy, some close to ground vacuuming smells of the dust we abhor the soil we mistreated, the dirt now to love mouths as sockets for knowledge, female input, a power board of mouths compatible with progress with taste-bud alarms for molecular assassins ears to flex, wide-ranging as wolves retractable for safety, swivelling to listen to the animal channel, its strategies on humans skin to remain as one source of newness a lavascape flowing to replenish the day the body ever growing, the mind a quake

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