Illuminations – on its way!

I have been a bit quiet of late, as a new book, Illuminations: 19 Poems and 1 Story, is about to be born.

At the end of this post is a preview of the back cover.

It has been a happy process – and has reunited me with designer Heidi Den Ronden and editor Matilda Elliot from Magic Fish Dreaming and led to working with new illustrators, Ruha and Minaira Fifita and some additional editing from Belinda Belton.

This book will be available in June 2020.  I am using the Ingram Spark platform and developing more publishing and distribution skills this time around.

I’ve also retreated a bit to do some writing!  Will keep you posted on the book, and I am keeping up my instagram posts.

I’ve been reflecting on how we treat the aged in our population after passing my fiftieth year.  Some new poems being born through my poetry notebook.  They are perculating, aging gracefully to find their meaning!

That’s all for now.  Keep well, and think of happiness as a process not a destination.

The Poet at Play 1


If you don’t like knowing the secrets to conjuring tricks read no further.  But if you like to have an insight into how to do them then you will like this series, the poet at play.

In this series I explore how the poet, and creative writer can make their words more powerfully appear on the page, and their metaphors more astounding.

It’s about ways of pushing beyond the boundaries of a cliche, and the obvious.  It’s based on the belief that EVERYONE can potentially make their words salsa, waltz or tango or do the cultural dance of their origins or liking.

I’ll introduce you to some of the text books I like to work with, and some of the things I have found that work for me through my own personal reading, practice and study.

This week, I am working hard on new poetry for competitions and submissions.

I have two metaphors that have been preoccupying me for a couple of weeks. They simply won’t go away. I even had a vivid dream based on one of them last night!

I have put preliminary words down on paper. Now I am faced with the task of playing with them until they become fully formed poems. As part of this process, I am doing some creative writing exercises from Hazel’s Smith’s  The Writing Experiment.

I spent nearly two hours reworking two ideas, and these may turn into two poems or a suite of poems.

I loved particularly Smith’s exercises on additions and substitutions, which were my main focus of this first experimenting stint.

Whilst I can’t share the new poems, I thought I would demonstrate how some of the techniques from Smith’s book might work on poems I have already shared on this blog. Applying some of the techniques of Smith to past poems, here is what might happen to ‘You strip me back to the bones’   Beyond Prejudice where I substitute a new word for bones.

You strip me back to the bones
You strip me back to raw emotion
You strip me back to my outlines
You strip me back to my thoughts
You strip me back to my music
You strip me back to my soul
You strip me back to me

After I have done one of these experiments I can then do some of my own work and strip away the repetition and rework again. I pull out these words: emotion, bones, outlines, thoughts, music, soul, me.

A short poem emerges.

Emotions bones
Thought outlines
Soul Music
Me

Me
Music
Soul outlines
thought bones

Then these lines emerge as another starting point.

The music of me
In outlines

And looking at  ‘I refuse to see myself through your eyes’ from the same poem – and I continue the process as just outlined to discover new lines.

I refuse to feel myself through your hands
I refuse to hear myself through your music
I refuse to move to your expectations

But I stop because now I can mix the ‘music of me’ with some of the experiments just done, into the beginnings of a new poem,

The music of me
In outlines
you refuse to hear

You think you strip me back to my music
You think you strip me back to my soul
You think you strip me back to me

But I refuse
to feel myself through your hands
to hear myself through your music
to move to your expectations

(c) June Perkins  (This series to be continued)

Beyond Prejudice

Shirren Lim, Flickr

I refuse to see myself
through your eyes
to let your lens
become my disguise.
I won’t give in
to its stereotype.
I won’t become your lie.
My wish for freedom
will not die.

You strip me back
to my bones
classify me
by skin tones.
I am more than my skin;
If you look deeper
you could be kin.
I cut you adrift
deflect the hurt
you sought to give
so I can simply live.

After I have healed
from your slight
I send out a light
to shade us both.

I won’t become your lie.
My wish for freedom
will not die.

(c) June Perkins

Grass Skirt

DSC_4145_good

Kilt clan patterns
Mother’s hands twisting string for homemade
video to keep tradition strong
Once made from plants now plastic too
Scratching identity from legs to ankles
Calling out for head dress and for beads
Bare feet beating dance on earth
Sway and swish
Past, present and future steps
Given by my mother to say
You are grown

By June Perkins

 

This poem appears on Australian Children’s Poetry.  March 27 2018

Magic Fish Dreaming interview

bannermagicfish2

You can read an Interview with Ali Stegert on Magic Fish Dreaming HERE.

Magic Fish Dreaming is a children’s picture book project written by my friend and crit-buddy June Perkins and illustrated by Helene Magisson. Today, I interview the author about her beautiful work and her dream of bringing the project to fruition.

A Dreamy Book for Youngsters

Ali: “A dreamy book for youngsters” is my five-word description of your book. How about you describeMagic Fish Dreaming in five words?” HERE.