Responding to Art with the Written Word

Ray Crooke, Fragment Woman with Blossoms, QAGOMA, Australian Collection

I have made significant progress on a poetry project, writing poems for The Words and Pictures  project at QAGOMA.

Which is just as well as there are just four days left for my final selections and edits.

Some of the works  have  inspired more than one poem.  One even inspired four pieces.

I now have to select which ones will be the most interesting or evocative for the people visiting the gallery.  I might share some of the others that don’t go in, here on my blog.

It is not easy as I am quite happy with each version, but then I have a vision of how all the works fit together and want them to be spaced throughout the gallery which will help guide me to the right ones for the series.

Also one of my goals is to  give the poems and micro stories a broad appeal, such that people of many ages might enjoy reading them, including people familiar with my work on Magic Fish Dreaming.

So now my role is to curate the right balance of my own work, to show that I love writing for children, families, youth and adults.

I look forward to seeing how the public respond to the writing once it is up on the Gallery Walls.

I have a few butterflies of course, but it is quite exciting to share poems alongside art works, and have them interact with each other.

If you visit, feel free to leave a comment on my blog and QAGOMA instagram (will let you know some hashtags) as I would love to know what you think.

I’ll let you know the dates it is up soon.

All art works featured courtesy Queensland Art Gallery, Australian Art Collection

Rosalie Gascoigne,  Lamplit,

 

From Fred Williams's, Fragment from Echucha Landscape
From Fred Williams’s, Fragment from Echucha Landscape

 

 

 

Poet at Play 4: Writing inspired by Art

Ripple Poetry

QAGOMA/ Sonja Carmichael

At the moment I am working on something special: writing inspired by art for QAGOMA. Later on this year my writing will go in display in the gallery alongside the art works.

The process so far has included exploring the art in the Australian Collection of the gallery and absorbing the atmosphere the art is displayed in and finding out the parameters of the project from the Engagement staff.

I am hoping to use some of my writing for children background in the works, and considering the way a narrative might weave stories out of the art works as well as employing poetic techniques in my response work.

As part of this journey I have been researching the works, their artists, and  the intentions and materials of the artists.  This is easy to do via the captions with the work, and the website of the QAGOMA which…

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The Book Garden now Stocking Magic Fish Dreaming

Magic Fish Dreaming

Announcing that Magic Fish Dreaming is now stocked by The Book Garden.

Looking forward to Magic Fish Dreaming reaching more schools and childcare centres!

About The Book Garden

The Book Garden is proudly Australian owned and currently celebrating 38 years.  They are part of the American Bookstore and have a physical location in Brisbane.

“Our Story

A momentous event took place in a Sydney garage on September 14th 1980.

Encouraged by our father (bookseller Maurice Zavelsky), we (Deborah and Carmel) began The Book Garden.
We started the business with a tiny budget, a small range of stock and two cars. We split Sydney into two sales areas and began visiting schools and childcare centres with boxes of books for sale.

After the death of Maurice in July 1981, Deb moved to Brisbane. It was here that The Book Garden put down roots inside American Bookstore.

Throughout our years of business…

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Stockings, Broomsticks and Friendship: Writing Inspired by Childhood books

 

During February I spent the month revising workshops and resources about structure as well as beginning a quest to re-read some of my favourite childhood books.  I also began to locate more contemporary books for middle grades and youth to unravel for their structure and best features.

I am putting enormous amounts of efforts into outlining, researching, and structuring prior to beginning my full write ups of the first draft of middle grade novels. Furthermore, I am seeking to support this by my study of the books I love and admire.  They are my friends as I make my journey through the first drafts.

I especially enjoyed revisiting the Worst Witch, and examining the length of the book, chapters, scenes, and how black line illustrations were distributed throughout.  It is so well balanced, with just enough of  description, dialogue and humour to appeal to the young reader. This book still makes me giggle!

Structurally there are small cliffhangers,  a gradual raising of the stakes,  foreshadowing, and scenes which make the story come alive. It is extremely well done. I paid close attention to the things that could help improve my own writing. Although of course I do want to foster my own voice and style.

As for Pippi Longstocking, what a character – super strong, generous, creative, brave and so true to herself always.  There was perhaps a chapter I didn’t enjoy so much, the section about Maids,  and that’s partly because of all the studies of literary representation I have done, which make some aspects of this a little outdated, although I do think Lingrid is very tongue in cheek and having a go at the way the tea party goers discuss their maids. This article from the Guardian is well worth a read Pippi Longstocking, Books Charged with Racism.

“”It is not that the figure of Pippi Longstocking is racist, but that all three in the trilogy of books have colonial racist stereotypes,” said Wollrad. “I would certainly not condemn the book completely – on the contrary, there are many very positive aspects to the book, as well as being very funny, it is instructive for children as it not only has a strong female character, she is against adultism, grown-ups being in charge, and she is fiercely opposed to violence against animals – there is a very strong critique of authority in the book,” she told the Local.”

Pippi Longstocking has some subversive elements to it though, which made it well ahead of its time and so it is still despite sections that might not read well to modern audiences a book worth reading.  The inspiration surely of movies like Home Alone.

Both Worst Witch and Pippi Longstocking are heart warming representations of friendship  that avoid the sickly sweet,  as well as being about overcoming prejudices others may have against you.

So it’s back to working on my novels.

Now I must get back to finishing touches of my plan, and begin the writing of the first chapter of one of them.

all the best, I’m a little busy!

June

 

Articles that may be of interest https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/nov/09/pippi-longstocking-books-racism

http://theworstwitch.wikia.com/wiki/The_Worst_Witch_(2017_TV_Series)

Queensland Poetry Festival – Event for Advocating Poetry for Children

The Week of the Queensland Poetry Festival is finally here.  If you are attending the poetry for kids discussion panel  at the Brisbane Square Library do book with the library.  The panel is followed by a reading for children at 2pm and while it is free it is a good idea to book.  See you there if you make it, and don’t forget to say hello!