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The Jaguar (2022, UQP)

Winner, Stella Prize 2023

Winner, Queensland Premier's Award for State Significance 2023

Winner, The Australian Book of the Year 2022

Winner, FALS Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award 2023

Winner, AJA/Wiley Book Award 2023

Longlisted, Griffin Poetry Prize 2023

Shortlisted, Prime Minister's Literary Award 2023

Shortlisted, Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize 2023

Longlisted, ALS Gold Medal 2023

With electrifying boldness, Holland-Batt confronts what it means to be mortal in an astonishing and deeply humane portrait of a father’s Parkinson’s Disease, and a daughter forged by grief. Opening and closing with startling elegies set in the charged moments before and after a death, and fearlessly probing the body’s animal endurance, appetites and metamorphoses, The Jaguar is marked by Holland-Batt’s lyric intensity and linguistic mastery, along with a stark new clarity of voice.


Here, Holland-Batt is at her most exacting and uncompromising: these ferociously intelligent, insistent poems refuse to look away, and challenge us to view ruthless witness as a form of love. The Jaguar is an indelible collection by a poet at the height of her powers.

'The Jaguar is a tour de force. It will leave you dazzled and devastated. The wisdom, kindness and musical rigour of these poems is everywhere apparent. Their emotional range is considerable: intimate, sorrowing, celebratory and philosophical by turn. Holland-Batt possesses a mighty and singular talent, showcased here in all its glory.' - Michelle de Kretser

'Holland-Batt is one of the best poets writing not only in Australia but anywhere in the world in English. What astonishes is the startling image held in place with a controlled and consistent voice, carrying the reader through confronting and surprising revelation. This is an art of necessity, of belief, and of artisan-like commitment.' - John Kinsella

'Considering Holland-Batt’s technical nuance (her unpredictable harmonics, intense wordplay, neologisms, synesthetic sensual registries, double analogies), her book’s resonant emotional force, and its insistent internationality, what is there to say about The Jaguar that doesn’t begin with "extraordinary."' - Forrest Gander

'Her artistry is exhilarating.'Amanda Lohrey

'The Jaguar is a tremendous collection of poems, deeply compelling in their subject matter and exemplary in their attention to language and craft. Holland-Batt displays her mastery of the form by applying immense pressure on the poetic line, often seemingly without effort, yet continually producing surprising, dazzling results. This is muscular, tenacious writing of great intensity that bears unflinching witness to the decline and death of a loved one, that embraces the necessary suffering that is part of loving and of being human. The Jaguar is poetry of the highest order — poetry that changes us in the reading of it.' 2023 Kenneth Slessor Prize shortlist citation

'Intensely moving poems which explore grief, loss, change and memory in transformative ways. The poet’s metaphorical imagination and control of language ensure that her poems are shapely, richly evocative and affecting. Through concentration of thought, image and emotion, The Jaguar brings the reader into an animated connection with the poet’s experience of her father’s protracted illness and eventual death. Other poems deftly give voice to the complexities, disappointments and ironies of love and desire, and to encounters with place across continents and states of being. A poet of meticulous craft, Holland-Batt amalgamates narrative and lyrical strategies to enterprising ends.' - 2023 Prime Minister's Literary Award shortlist citation

'Few poets can achieve this level of transformation, allowing their images to move with argumentative force... The poems about her father are among some of the most powerful written on this subject and many readers will be profoundly affected by them. Holland-Batt has produced a powerful and sustained work, a book that I will keep returning to for its rich haul of images, its intensity of emotion, the pleasure of its finely wrought music and its elegant craft.' - The Australian

'Brilliant.'Martin Duwell

'A remarkable sequence about the death of the author’s father from Parkinson’s Disease: tender, memorable poems that capture grief and loss and love through unforgettable imagery, often blended with humour... Lyrical and wise, this is a book from a poet at the height of her powers.' 2023 Stella Prize citation

'In The Jaguar, Sarah Holland-Batt writes about death as tenderly as we’ve ever read about birth... This is a book that cuts through to the core of what it means to descend into frailty, old age, and death. It unflinchingly observes the complex emotions of caring for loved ones, contending with our own mortality and above all – continuing to live.' - Alice Pung OAM

'The Jaguar brings the full power of poetic language to bear on experiences often pushed to the edges of public life. The most stunning poems in the collection focus on the experience of ageing, illness and death – in ways that are both deeply compassionate and fierce... With a combination of ruthlessness and tenderness, clear-eyed witness and imaginative flight, this is a poet who knows exactly what she is doing.' - Julieanne Lamond

'It’s rare for a volume of poetry to be so coherent: it functions as a complete whole, a volume not just a collection. The Jaguar is astonishing for its use of rhetorical, poetic and metaphoric language to convey strong, sometimes searing and sometimes intimate emotions. Holland-Batt almost overwhelms us as she uses every poetic tool at her disposal to come to terms with her grief.' - Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award Citation

'A confronting and heartfelt elegy for [the poet's] father, bookended by the devastating end of his life but not forgoing the vivid living of the rest of it – capturing his humanity, his illness and her loss with clarity and love.' The Guardian

'Lyrical and compassionate, The Jaguar is a moving exploration of family dynamics, ageing, memory, desire, nature, and art... Technically brilliant and experimental, this collection is intelligent, accessible, nuanced and finely balanced.' - Queensland Premier's Award for State Significance citation  

'A poet at the peak of her powers.' ArtsHub

'Her most accomplished yet... Holland-Batt's linguistic dexterity remains, as ever, consistently fresh and surprising.' - ABC Arts

'Absolutely sublime.' - Caroline Overington 

'An affecting meditation on mortality... Holland-Batt's highly metaphorical style has been influential on numerous younger Australian poets – although few seem to equal her almost conversational ease in the medium. In The Jaguar, the poet’s approach is slightly more relaxed – though, paradoxically, more intense... Importantly, her father’s humanity is not simplified – or sentimentalised in retrospect.'The Age

Order it: Book DepositoryUQP

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