Notions of home and unhomeliness have long been discussed by scholars in relation to Australian poetry, but little scholarly work has explored how contemporary Australian poets interrogate the relationship between renting and constructions of home. As the great Australian dream of homeownership becomes increasingly inaccessible and the availability of public housing declines, a larger proportion of the population privately rent their houses in a lightly regulated and highly competitive rental market (Morris et al 2021: 72). Poetry has long been used to record and preserve the affective dimensions of home, and in this paper I examine a series of poems concerned with finding rental properties, moving in and out of them, and with attempts to create a sense of home in houses that always already belong to others. I discuss the work of three poets whose recent collections grapple with notions of home, stability and security in relation to rented houses: Zenobia Frost’s After the Demolition (2019), Omar Sakr’s These Wild Houses (2017), and Fiona Wright’s Domestic Interior (2017). I argue that in these collections, houses are sites characterised by anxiety, instability, and erasure, rather than stable and secure archives of personal identity and domestic ritual.
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