This is my last blog post for a while. I’m heading north to the UK to see my 93 year- old mother and to catch up with friends. I just wanted to update you since I haven’t been very active lately.
I’ve been busy offblog editing a chapbook for Melbourne Poets Union, (Lyn Chatham’s Artisan due out soon), running a workshop to promote Tango writing, launching a children’s book and author-hosting for Geelong Library. I’ve also been writing quite a bit after a long hiatus. Publishing a book does this to me. I lose the will for quite a while. Now I’m back.
Some of my favourite writers and singers have come out of Canada. I’m thinking Joni Mitchell, Tim O’Brien, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje just for starters. My father was stationed in Banff during WWII and he loved the place and the people. A few girlfriends and I road-tripped up to Nova Scotia three years ago where I failed to find a moose but found the graveyard of the Titanic and drafted some Maritimes inspired poems. Four of them have found a home in an established literary journal The Antigonish Review. This is my first time in a Canadian journal so very encouraged by that. Canadian journals are well supported by the government so a surprising number pay. We don’t write poetry for the money but we like to feel appreciated. Here’s a guide to Canadian literary journals. Many accept Canadian writers only.
I’ve been asked to be Feature Poet for Damson Poets in Preston, Lancashire at the end of September. (A Hopper inspired image of their previous venue). I’ve been there once before at the invitation of my collaborator, Terry Quinn, who organises this and gets between 20-30 people attending which is brilliant for a relatively small place. We’re working on our second collection of reply poems.
And lastly, almost…I have two poems coming up in the next issue of the beautifully named online journal Not Very Quiet. Hoping to get the launch in Canberra in October on the way back from Sydney.
When I heard that two of my poems had been selected for this special issue of Southerly I was over the moon. David is known and admired for his elegant and heartfelt writings and for his views on animal cruelty and human excess. What is not as well appreciated is his generosity in fostering Australian writers.
It was David who selected one of my earliest poems for The Best Australian Poetry (UQP) in 2008. I was so naive and inexperienced that I had no idea what this meant. A couple of years later he chose another of my poems for the Bunyip issue of Southerly. So, when my debut collection was to be published three years later, I remembered that David had chosen my poems and so I did a daring thing; I asked him if he would mind looking through my manuscript and writing a few sentences.
He came back to me so promptly and with the best recommendation I could have hoped for. He was so positive and thoughtful in his comments. He also gave me a recommendation for my second book, Kiss of the Viking, a pamphlet published by Poetry Salzburg.
I shall always have David to thank for his encouragement, his kindness and generosity. David Brooks played a significant role in building my confidence as a writer. This gave me permission to journey into the world of poetry, and although I’ve never met him, I would like to thank him and wish him a very happy and well deserved celebration of his expertise and service to Southerly, but above all, his unsung kindness to emerging and aspiring writers.
I’m very happy to report that I’ve been granted a two-week residency in the Booranga Cottage next year. I’ll be presenting a workshop on Eco Poetry and also delivering a public reading or lecture. I’ve been reading Robert Macfarlane’s poetic forays into wild places for inspiration. This image is from the Living Desert and Sculptures outside Broken Hill. They’re eroding very rapidly and becoming part of the sandscape.
I have a few projects on the go so will use the time to work a couple of collaborations, one with Terry Quinn in the UK and one with Avril Bradley, here in Australia. I also have a lot of poems that need sorting into collections or pamphlets.
The Booranga Writers’ Centre was established to serve and promote the interests of local writers, and has been active in the Riverina region since 1994.
Booranga serves its members and the local community through hosting Writers-in-Residence at the Booranga facility located on the CSU Campus in Wagga Wagga, and through the publication of its annual anthology fourW. We also support local and visiting writers with venues, book launches and reading events.
Visiting Writers-in-Residence give readings, facilitate workshops and are available to mentor local writers, while working on their own projects and enjoying the picturesque grounds around the Booranga Cottage on CSU’s Wagga Wagga Campus. To apply for one of our four annual paid Residencies, please complete the application form, provide the supporting documents listed and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for the following year close on 31 May each year.