From the Archives

The last month I’ve been working on creating folio samples for applications and checking my archives for works that have potential, but perhaps just need more editing or a process of reinvention.

The above picture is of a poem from a Writing Group Anthology from 10 years ago! Under One Sky with the Licuala Writers.

I enjoyed writing this poem, capturing childhood with my children and a memory of a trip to Kiribati. Maybe I will write more pieces like this! My children are all grown into adults, and one has left home, which makes poems like this especially poignant to read.

Last week was a super productive week, making entries to writing competitions, and anthologies, as well as preparing some new picture book submissions.

I was especially pleased with edits on the picture books. Leaving them for a while really helped, and resulted in a magic day when I looked at them and just knew what to do to polish them.

I’m on a break from working on my novel, and about to move into its third draft. I’ve such an optimistic feeling that the same magic will happen in the break from working on the novel.

May you enjoy the reconnection with your story archives!

Have you ever had a positive experience with revisiting an old story, picture book or poem and a magic day of editing it to shine?

Inspirations: Fairytales, Music, and Soul

Just celebrating some recent publications.

I was happy to have some poems accepted for the Australian Fairy Tale Society Ezine, Bold Heroines and Magical Helpers, a short story to the about to be released anthology, South of the Sun and to publish my second collection of poems, Illuminations!

Looking ahead, I’m working on a new collection in which all these worlds begin to collide: fairy tales, music and soul, and the remaking of a world without racism, where picture poetry books might be rewritten and artists are trail blazers in community transformation.

Volta – a Turn for Poetry

Dr June Perkins, Samuel Wagan Watson, Kylie Thompson

Images Courtesy for Queensland Poetry Festival,

It’s been 10 months, since a live poetry event for the Queensland Poetry Festival (QPF). So, it was perhaps this that led to such anticipation and a within minutes booked out venue for the first Volta (an Italian term for the ‘turn’ in thought or argument in a sonnet, although we weren’t required to perform sonnets) at the Brisbane Square Library.

Thankfully a move to a larger venue at the same library was possible, and that was again rapidly booked out.

Covid 19 has altered so many art events, festivals, performances and pushed them into adaptations which include an expanded use of online performance and workshops.

Panacea Poets, was one such innovation of the QPF, and involved 46 poets recording their performances and sharing them in an online curated youtube channel.

Yet the yearning for real space, not cyberspace poetry is not completely fulfilled by these adaptations. Why?

Once many years ago, I listened to Anthony Warlow, sing live in Phantom of the Opera.  Nothing prepared me for just how powerul and moving his voice in person actually was. 

The music resonated through my bones and muscles in a way that an online and recorded rendition could never do.

So, it is with this backdrop that a group of three poets, Kylie Thompson, June Perkins, Samuel Watson were hosted by the Queensland Poetry Festival and the Brisbane Libraries, for the very first Volta (now replacing the couplet program).

The audience were warm and welcoming.  Everyone was excited, and ‘pumped’ especially as Sam was to do his first performance in Brisbane for a few years. Margaret, a regular to QPF events, welcomed me and wished me well for my reading. Luminaries such as Shastro Deo who I have known through Instagram and her stellar poetry career and elsewhere, were completely approachable.

Zenobia Frost, herself a venerable poet, was the host of the proceedings.  She welcomed us, with good humour and enthusiasm and acknowledged the traditional owners of the land upon which we read our poetry. 50 people attended (the maximum the library allows under still continuing covid19 restrictions).

For Kylie, this was her first live reading (not that you would know it, she did brilliantly!). 

A poet and writer based in Redcliffe, Kylie was shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Prize in 2020. 

‘The thing about lying it’s really easy to get addicted to the … touch of your own genius and so he get’s cocky and starts to assume he’s the smartest in the room no matter what the room, starts to half arse the effort but rev up the execution’  (Five Days & a Gaslight Anthem)  

Kylie Thompson

She shared with us 4 astounding poems, ‘Lysithea in Crescent’, ‘Five Days & a Gaslight Anthem’, ‘Hexcraft’, and a recently written poem, ‘Some Days, Your Bed Is A Coffin.’ Some of Kylie’s work will be included in upcoming anthologies.

‘Five Days & a Gaslight Anthem’ and ‘Some Days Your Bed Is A Coffin,’ were particularly potent pieces, especially for anyone who has experienced gaslighting, or those days when you just don’t want to face the day.

Next was myself, reading 6 poems, with a backdrop of slides from illustrators of the poems or to share aspects of culture such as the totem, a Bird of Paradise, of my Mekeo mother.

Zenobia read my biography and explained that she had met me through engaging me for ‘Panacea Poets’, a video youtube project during the pandemic lock downs.

Ivi   Ivi na   Alaka

Komo  oma  afa    itsima  imimi

Ana paiga  Ane Kaina (River Song, in Maipa Language)

June Perkins , Translated by Cornelia

I read ‘Dear Artist, ‘Dust’ and ‘Bird of Poetry’ from Illuminations, a collection dedicated to the bicentennial of the Birth of Baha’u’llah; a poem from Tokens on the bushfire seasons in Australia, ‘River Song’ from my children’s collection, Magic Fish Dreaming, but in Maipa village language to honour my PNG heritage.

This was followed by a shout out to young appreciators of poetry to the youngest audience member, a small child. I read a poem ‘Sleipnir’s Children’ (God of Horses) included in Creative Kids Tales Story Collection2, especially for him. Without the young appreciating poetry how can we keep the form alive! I finished with a short piece inspired by Irene Chou’s (1924-2011) abstract art, ‘Universe Within Our Hearts’ also included in Tokens.

The last poet to read was SAMUEL WATSON is a Wunjaburra/Munanjali/German writer.

Samuel Wagan Watson

Feel inspired by tonight by us, the poets. Go home and write.

Samuel Wagan Watson

Samuel is the author of a dozen publications of poetry and short stories, he was the recipient of the 2018 Patrick White Literary Award. He is proud to be labelled as a Brisbane author. An absolute legend to the Brisbane poetry community, and a highly accomplished poet, Samuel treated us to his warm personality, telling us the hilarious tale of his travel into the venue in a taxi with a man who wanted to suggest bizarre and way out topics for his poetry. Still recovering from three strokes, he courageously shared his work. The attentive audience had deep respect for this incredible poet.

 We learn, yet forget, in the cataclysm of our birth
 the owl songs of Muk-Muk;
 the death feather, and reacquainted we shall be
 in the sunset of our mortality.
 (The call of the strange bird is heard …)

 The didjeridu sits in the corner of my room
 near the window, ghosts breathe
 my frailty of spirit
 resonates in the acoustics of this gouged plain.
 (… on the pipe of the breathing floor …)

From Samuel Wagan Watson Love Poems and Death Threats 
The Crowd!
Zenobia Frost captures the poets as well as people discussing poetry. This photograph courtesy of Helen Kassila

The evening ended with a short amount time for catching up with other poets, and appreciators of poetry, and some official photographs. I was delighted to find out that the library has now stocked my poetry book and it will be available there for people to borrow. There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing people with a copy of your book, purchased or borrowed from the library!

A few of the poets and their friends, lingered outside the closed library, just to celebrate the joy of poetry and the thrill of being able to hear it live!

You can find out more about the poets and how to purchase their works and QPF here:

Samuel Wagan Watson

Kylie Thompson

June Perkins

Volta – Queensland Poetry Festival

Queensland Poetry Festival Facebook

The next Volta is already booked out! It will feature Amanda Thomas, Emma Simington, and Luke Best! (Yes I booked in, in time! )

Poetry is definitely having it’s turn during the journey out of the pandemic.

Bring on 2021

Ripple Poetry

Volta Poetry: Kylie Thompson, June Perkins & Samuel Watson

VOLTA is co-presented monthly by Queensland Poetry Festival and Brisbane Square Library. It replaces Couplet Poetry, which has been well-loved for more than a decade, to bring you ⚡electric poetry, spoken word, and the unexpected.⚡

Fri Feb 5 2021 at 6:00 pm

Brisbane Square Library, 266 George Street, Brisbane, QLD, Australia 4000, Brisbane, Australia

~~~

KYLIE THOMPSON is a poet and writer based in Redcliffe. Shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Prize in 2020, Kylie’s poetry will feature in an upcoming anthology from Neil Hilborn, due in 2021. Kylie can be found sharing poetry pieces on Instagram as @wildkatpoetry.

DR JUNE PERKINS is a multi-arts creative born to a Papua New Guinean Indigenous mother and Australian father. She was raised in Tasmania as a Bahá’i and combines poetry, blogging, photography and story to explore themes interesting her—peace, ecology, spirituality, diversity, resilience and…

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Meeting Readers!

Recent trip to the Gold Coast!

Magic Fish Dreaming

It was so joyful to meet readers of books I have put heart and soul into. Even though I did the best I could, it didn’t quite feel real launching Illuminations online.

It was a tough week in the lead up to the Gold Coast visit, as a reading event I was looking forward to was cancelled, and another trip to share the book was also proving impossible to organise.

But now having been out into the community to sell Illuminations (and other books), it feels real and my spirits are lifted.

People stopped throughout the day to chat and sometimes buy the books. It was wonderful readers are still attracted to Magic Fish Dreaming, and many copies were purchased by grandparents.

A massive thankyou to Big B books, for hosting me outside their shop.

Thank you to every single one of you who stopped, encouraged, purchased books, and shared…

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