Beyond Individualism

Sandra, June and Minaira (artist).

There is so much power in the connection of artists within community. It keeps me optimistic no matter what else happens. The conversations, the friendships, and the thoughtfulness.

Behind the scenes, for a few months now, I have been connecting with Sandra, Minaira and several other people to work on a special publishing project to be out at the end of the year.

It is my first guest editing spot with the Queensland Writer’s Centre, and has been a wonderful experience.

You will eventually find out the significance of this Ngatu, which Sandra was picking up from Minaira to take to be scanned.

I don’t want to share too much just yet, saving it for the editorial.

I’ve also been to a super special poetry workshop on the Art of Invisible Mending, (poetry editing) with Felicity Plunkett. It was tremendous to learn about Felicity’s process and have four lines of poetry edited, in what became a magnificent master class in editing, with sensitive listening, and questions.

We also had to do a spot of feedback to our fellow participants. Special thanks to Queensland Poetry for organising poetry workshops on zoom.

Well, that’s all for now. Back to work!

Book Week With the Students from Higaturu Oil Palm International School

Book Week at HIGATURU OIL PALM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

Magic Fish Dreaming

Work from the students of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School which became a class anthology, Escape to Wonder

A recent week of Book Week workshops via zoom, at Higaturu Oil Palm International School, was wondrous.

Students were willing to imagine and open their eyes to a sense of wonder, to explore other worlds within worlds, from nature, to rivers to the moon and outerspace.

We began with learning about cheeky Cassowaries hungry and looking for food after a cyclone, and imagining what they might say or think, and advanced to humourous dialogues within the river and exploring a sense of wonder, through sensory adventure poems.

Students learnt about the power of working in pairs and in groups and how many voices combined can create, extend and then joyously and confidently perform their creations.

Throughout I used my own illustrated poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, as…

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Returning to the Motherland 2#

Part 2 of the blogs on Book Week in PNG via zoom.

Magic Fish Dreaming

So, continuing on from my last post on zooming to PNG for a most memorable book week, here is more about the classroom itself. This image is what it looked like from the point of view of the students in the main zoom room, before we were allocated to our learning zoom room with the students and their teacher.

Image Courtesy HOPIS school

So how did we end up with a confident performance of a group poem by the end of book week (despite the challenges of working via zoom and classroom learning space combined) and a wall full of beautiful art and sense poems?

This is where the immense dedication of the teacher, her assistant and children, going with the flow of a physically distant author communicating and coming to terms with being on a large screen, and stuck there, makes a massive difference.

As I communicated, using voice…

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Returning to Motherland 1#

I never expected that my first trip back to Papua New Guinea, since I moved to Australia as a one year old, would be in my fifties and via zoom and would be working with writers based in three different countries.

Yet, none of us knows our future, and so it was that the last week my first ever Book Week experience, occurred this way.

I was invited by Tina Marie Clark, to join a CYA team, including her, Albert Nayathi, Phil Kettle, Caroline Evari (and works from Michelle Worthington and Dannika Patterson) that has been mostly going to a school there in person for the last ten years.

The last two years they have had to conduct the visit via zoom, because of COVID19.

Although I haven’t done Book Week before, I have done several workshops in libraries, environmental centres, and schools, to mentor creatives of all ages from kindergarten through to people in their seventies, in poetry. Something which became such a passion I ended up writing and publishing a poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, for children.

I wrote Magic Fish Dreaming, to express a sense of the place I was living in at the time, which was the Cassowary Coast, in Far North Queensland, as well as to demonstrate different poetry techniques which might appeal to children but also extend them. At the time of composing this work I was facilitating workshops in the community and needed to create original materials not just use what was already out there.

Magic Fish Dreaming, represents all the beauty, grandeur, magic, and heartache and I saw whilst living in that area, all captured for families to relive some of that and hopefully fall in love with poetry.

During this visit, I was able to bring all the experiences of the last few years, in designing workshops, as well as my recent enrolment to teacher train together into my contemporary practice.

I was delighted to see the effect of the workshops on the students and their teacher and teacher assistant. I can truly say I had as much of a feeling of joy out of this as out of being published.

My heart soared to see them engaged with the activities and WRITING! And finally confidently performing work they had collaborated on composing together.

What did we and the school do during the week to reach this point?

Find out in my next post.

to be continued…

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