Monstrous contains some famous creatures. You will find poems about Mary Shelley’s monster, who writes a new ending to his story. There are also lesser known monstrosities, such as sharks that eat suns, kings who wear crowns decorated with eyes, evil fairies, and the dubious future of the game of cricket.

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Monstrous contains some famous creatures. You will find poems about Mary Shelley’s monster, who writes a new ending to his story. There are also lesser known monstrosities, such as sharks that eat suns, kings who wear crowns decorated with eyes, evil fairies, and the dubious future of the game of cricket. Garden gnomes, in all their hideous whimsy, keep popping up. They are even found on the moon. Travel there with a nineteenth century adventurer on a steam-engine, along with some hidden aliens. Monsters take many forms, both disturbing and amusing. The horrible and the hilarious walk together in this book.

P.S. Cottier

PS Cottier, aka P.S. Cottier, aka Penelope Susan Cottier, is a poet, writer, anthologist and book reviewer who lives in Canberra. She has a particular interest in speculative poetry, having co-edited The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry with Tim Jones (IP, 2014). A short collection of poems called Quick Bright Things: Poems of Fantasy and Myth was published by Ginninderra Press (2016), and her poetry has appeared in Canada, England, India, New Zealand and the United States, as well as in Australia. PS Cottier was awarded a PhD for a thesis on images of animals in Dickens by the Australian National University, and she also completed a law degree in Melbourne. She has worked as a tea-lady, union organiser, university tutor and lawyer, but now writes full time. She wrote a PhD on animals in the works of Charles Dickens at the Australian National University. Her books are Triptych Poets , The Cancellation of Clouds, A Quiet Day and Other Stories , and The Glass Violin . Monstrous is her fifth collection of poetry.


A vision from the future appears to the creature as he runs

Vacanti’s mouse

The nude mouse grows
a human ear on its back,
seeded with a herd of
cartilage cow cells.
Is the mouse still a mouse
carting this foreign flap
elephantine on its spine?
Does the person who
wears the cowmouseear
listen for the rampage
behind the rhubarb of chat?
If she chews gum,
does a rumen erupt
inside, like Ripley’s
puissant alien?
Monstrous the tales
for such an ear;
Monstrous the listening.
Every sound an echo of an echo
straining to hear a progenitor.


The belly of the gnome

Round not because of ale,
not because of bratwurst,
but with a growing egg.
Like platypus, like echidna,
all young gnomes hatch.
Dubious, concrete glee
must be maintained,
batch after hatted batch.
The layer is always a he.
His stomach splits like a smile;
egg drops onto merry boots.
Overnight, the wound will heal,
the youngster breaks the shell
with a handy tool – spade or rake.
Some ask the frogs they ride on
to kick the shell into submission.
Some tunnel out with pipes,
as they are born to tobacco,
or its cuter accoutrements.
Those who see the process
have never lived to tell,
but are found, clutching chests,
as if their hearts were gnomes,
also anxious to explore.
Convenient toadstools provide
solutions for the gnomes,
salves that cause hearts to flutter,
flutter, flop and stop.

I sip my wine so cautiously.
I know the gnomes will come.



Some may call them summer-spots, but they are not,
although they may manifest themselves when the sun
bakes us into compliance. Each freckle is a small drawing,
carefully inked while we doze, indicating what will grow,
eventually, and take wing. If our eyes were keen enough,
microscopically adept, we might decipher the tiny glyphs.
This one is Pegasus, but Pegasus with a shedding disease
rendering him far less than bird, just a disappointing pony.
He will clip-clop through predictable, grimy suburban dreams,
paddocks of misery dragging after him like a poxy peacock’s train.
That one, on that exposed shoulder, is a full Brexit of portraiture,
disastrous, yet achingly slow. The creature it represents
lurks in the future, almost recognisable as someone we once knew,
but different, different in the way a beer-glass distorts,
screaming like Munch’s bloke crossed with a fairground clown.
We will meet him, surely, in an alley, late one glassy Friday night.

Who does the inking? Some say it is an alien, armed,
or an octopus, clutching a tool in each convenient tentacle.
Personally, I believe that each spot is injected by a cockroach,
taking revenge for all the traps, all that kitchen-laid pain.
The freckles will birth themselves into air: tiny puppies,
whelped into the future, sucking on fear and disgust.
There is no escape from the skin-maps, pointing where they will.
Our noses detect the provenance, painting air a clutching brown.
Far from cute, further from lovely’s farthest shores,
our skin itches with a colony of a thousand pregnant clouds.

ISBN : 9781922332189
ISBN: 9781922332189, 9781922332172
Weight 245 g
Dimensions 216 × 140 × 6 mm

Ebook, PB


ePub, PB, pdf

Customer Reviews

1-5 of 2 reviews

  • IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

    Monstrous is a collection to be enjoyed, delighted in, disturbed by and greatly admired.

    – Kaaron Warren, award-winning author of Tide of Stone

    July 18, 2023
  • IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)

    As a child I was fascinated by the threat of violence I found implicit in gnomes, but you don’t need that history to be engaged with Monstrous; it is enough that Cottier knows the gnomes will come for you, whether capitalist or communist, cheeks ruddy as measles, their barrow beckons. They dream of fingers. They dream of wings. Tooth faeries, serial killers silenced in series, the danger growing on our own skin or how we have turned ourselves into werewolves; this book distrusts its own narrators and that is a welcome change as it explores misogyny, capitalism, colonization and the moon. What have these blunt fingers touched — Cottier does not pose any questions she does not have an answer for.

    – Andrew Galan, author of the award-winning For All The Veronicas (The Dog Who Staid)

    July 18, 2023

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