October was a rich and busy month for me and poetry! Earlier in the month I read a series of poems around ‘Mothering/Daughtering’ at a Girls on Key event at Open Studio – thanks Laura Fisher! Then I collaborated with visual artists Sharon Monagle and Toby Penney in a collaborative installation at Mulbury Gallery, ‘Bodies: Form, Poetry, Paint.’ Below is a ‘found object piece from Toby and my poem in response: ‘Mend.’ It was great fun.
I also had two poems published in Pine’s ‘Earth’ edition – check them out! It’s great to be supporting new and innovative publications like this
I’m next reading at a Girls on Key Event with a selection of poems on the theme of ‘Mothering/Daughtering’ . Fellow poet Marian Webb will be the other featured performer- come for supper, company, listening and sharing
I’m very pleased to have two poems included in this year’s Grieve Anthology put out by the Hunter Writers’ Centre. These poems, ‘Sadness is a long tunnel’ and ‘Epithelial,’ come from a longer mourning cycle Impossible, written in the aftermath of the death of my young friend, Sophie Ellis.
On Tuesday August 20, 7.30-9, I’m really pleased to be reading some of my poetry with three other poets at La Mama Courthouse – Bella Li, Ross Donlon and Harry Reid. It would be fantastic if you could join us! Use the link below to make a booking.
It’s a great honour to be included in the most recent issue of Westerly. This poem takes me back to my own childhood, to long trips to Queensland up inland New South Wales roads – and the figure of my beloved father, always and still just at the periphery of my vision.
I was thrilled to be part of the amazing collection, The Sky Falls Down: An Anthology of Loss (Ginninderra Press), edited and lovingly curated by Terry Whitebeach and Gina Mercer. It was launched yesterday in Melbourne by Carrie Tiffany (having already been launched in Hobart).
The book is available through Ginninderra Press or at Readings in Hawthorn, where it was launched.
As Mary Oliver put it, ‘Loss is the great lesson:’ if we’re going to be open to loving we need to learn how to be open to and manage loss. The diverse contributions in this Anthology I think are all ways of struggling with this great lesson of being human.
My contribution was a poem about the ongoing experience of loss – written on the five year anniversary of the death of my father:
Five years – and still there are days when I want to pick up the phone and call you; time seeps by, and though grief loosens its cruelest hooks I remain bereft, perplexed – where are you?
Are you still sitting at your computer tapping out the stories of your life – the boy in the Queensland bush, the young man stationed in Darwin, poring over radar?
Or will I see you coming into the kitchen – a cup of tea in the offing – joining us around the table, the arc of your arms still wiry and strong?
And if I could get a line through to you – what would I say? The children are growing, beautiful, I left my job, the old cracks in the family widen and groan like lathe and plaster in the drought – I admit we are all diminished without you.
Most of all, unreconciled, I would ask you to come home – it’s enough now, please come back –
And here it is again: the persistence of that old, mad dream of restoration, when the patience of mourning, the gratitude for all the rich love you left amongst us – gives way to the shocking need for the miracle: the past intact and cupped in the broad palms of your sun-tanned hands.
I had great fun on the weekend reading at this festival event: thanks to a wonderful and receptive audience for making this such a enriching experience.
Here I am -in black and white and in colour – reading amongst some of the terrific art works!
I think maybe the most enthusiastically received poem was ‘Clothesline’ – a poem that comes from my book, Even in the Dark (UWAP 2013). It’s a little window both into the pleasures of doing laundry and the possibilities for that interstitial moment , when we see the ordinary in a different way: