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POETRY PERFORMANCE: Stars

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The recent Australian Poetry Slam has me dipping into the vault again. This time it's not a video poem but a live performance. 'Stars' was recorded on stage at the Sydney Opera House in the APS National Final, 2018.     SYNOPSIS & CONTEXT: Reflecting on my own time in the APS scene, I'm proud of the performances and the poems, but also wondering what was it that drove me to compete in slams. I was first introduced to them in Adelaide 2016 when I was asked to be a 'sacrificial' poet at the SA State Slam Final. I loved  being the 'warm-up' poet but it was safe. It took me a couple more years to find the courage (was it courage?) to perform as a competitor. Ironically, I was working on a novel at the time and was writing in residence at Writers SA where I saw the poster advertising the national poetry slam every. single. day. Was it desire to win that made me compete, or something else?   It was 2016. I was 48 years old and peri-menopausal. It might see

VIDEO POEM: Murder Girl gets wired

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To celebrate Poetry Month in Australia, I am dipping into the archives to share a series of video poems & recorded performances of my poetry. Here's the second in the series, Murder Girl gets wired.   SYNOPSIS & CONTEXT Writing really is a long game. I wrote Murder Gets gets wired in 2007 after I'd relocated from Perth to Adelaide and was still elbow-deep in writing for theatre. I didn't know about prose poems. I thought I was just writing little sketches (were they poems? were they stories?) with a view to heightening ordinary fuckd-up urban and suburban folk to a kind-of mythological status. I didn't really know what I was doing. I'd give my characters names like Murder Girl, Violet Sweets, Beef Boy and they'd always drink too much & have low self-esteem. Auto-bio much? Now I can hear rhythms & a smattering of rhyme in this poem, which were the precursors to me writing and performing my first spoken word poem in 2016.   In 2020, when I receive

VIDEO POEM: LOST, featuring Caroline Reid & Port Adelaide

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To celebrate Poetry Month in Australia, I am sharing video poems and performances of some of my poems. I'll also include a synopsis, a bit of history about how the poem came about, and the full text of the poem. Here's the first one: LOST, a video poem. Enjoy!   In 2017, I won my first poetry slam hosted by Draw Your (S)words. As part of that prize I got to work with emerging film-maker Pamela Boutros to make short film or video poem of one of my poems. We spent a day shooting in Port Adelaide (Yertabulti) and made LOST. SYNOPSIS & CONTEXT: LOST is a fusion of poetry, visual art, humour; it's a blend of the personal, political, cultural, spiritual, & performative confessional. I'd written a few terrible poems, and thought I'd never write a good poem again. Not being able to write became my starting point: 'Most days   I am not a poet'. Instead of pushing away my thoughts, I began paying attention to them, my worries and regrets. I wrote them all down

SALA Exhibition: The Pursuit of Happiness

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Each August in South Australia you will find thousands of artworks exhibited across the state as part of the South Australia Living Artists Festival (SALA).   This year I am part of a group exhibition titled 'The Pursuit of Happiness' along with artists Donna Gordge and Bernadette Woods. Why happiness? After Covid and some recent rough personal times, all three of us felt we needed to make work that lifted us, made us feel a little lighter.    We met once to discuss how we might approach exploring 'happiness' visually, and came up with lists of things that made us happy including stone fruit, lime-green linen, poached eggs and birds. We talked about the materials & methods we might use - family photographs, paint, posca pens, wallpaper & collage - and then we just got on and made stuff. We checked in with each other a few times online. Then, before we knew it, we were in the West Torrens Gallery hanging the works. We open on Thursday 3rd August, and the exhibit

Vaulting Ambitions, July23rd Showcase

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This year I was accepted into Vaulting Ambitions , a 5 month incubator program “designed to arm creatives to tackle the business side of their craft.”  It’s run by Libby Trainor-Parker and Matthew Trainor at Prompt Creative under a strategic partnership with City of Adelaide. There’s so much learning going on! I realised I was hungry for this kind of learning, from digital literacy to how to write a pitch letter, it's hands-on, with practical application, and we're getting to meet all kinds of industry professionals. One of the program's great strengths is the regular check-ins and mentoring sessions. A regular space that holds you accountable can seriously help with ticking off those list and bigger goals. I think what I'm saying is that the real gift here is community. Being in contact with other creative folk has made me feel less alone, more connected. I’m reminded that everyone experiences challenges when running a solo arts business; and that talking about i

Want to get better at writing poetry?

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I recently delivered a writing workshop at The Adelaide City Library aimed at generating new material and drafting a piece of writing using an object or piece of clothing as a prompt. I really love presenting this workshop, and am always amazed at the diversity of work produced. Afterwards, someone asked me how they might develop their work and get better at writing poetry. They were new to poetry, didn't plan on going to university to study but wanted to work at writing and editing poetry. I realised that I didn't have a clear answer, so went away, thought about it and emailed them my suggestions few days later: READ POETRY - there are many websites where you can read free online. Here are a few examples, but there are plenty more: Red Room Poetry (AUS), Cordite Poetry (AUS), Overland (AUS), Poetry Foundation (USA) & Quartet (US). Buying anthologies (or borrowing from the library) is also a good way of getting an overview. Try The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry , Co

Tips for Dealing with Grief

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Rabbit is an Australian journal that publishes nonfiction poetry, and their most recent issue #37 COLLABORATIONS is out in the world. It's full of juicy work, including a piece by myself and visual artist Donna Gordge. 'Tips for Dealing with Grief' is a tongue-in-cheek guide for how you might 'deal' with grief. Let me be clear: I don't believe that grief is something we deal with but rather something that we must go through. Grief turns everything on its head; the reason and logic of language can fall short. This poem doesn't make logical sense because grief doesn't make sense. It has to be felt, not reasoned with, and we need to make adjustments to include loss & grief in our lives. Hence the repetition of the word 'adjust' in the poem.   I approached the making of this work by Googling 'tips for dealing with grief' and included some words from my searches. I also reference the ritual of tea making, punning on the phrase 'adjus

SOLACE, art and poetry exhibition

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I've been working on something really special. Not long after meeting visual artist Donna Gordge , I discovered that we were making work in response to similar themes - grief and the loss of a parent. I suggested we exchange some work, and create new work out of that exchange. The outcome is SOLACE, an exhibition of art and poetry that opens at Mrs Harris Shop at 6pm on Saturday 18 February . SOLACE is a free Adelaide Fringe event . Mrs Harris Shop is a suburban single room gallery that, yes, used to be a shop before supermarkets became the place we went to buy our groceries and these little shops disappeared. It's a beautiful, light-filled space. Donna's work is on display (including a canopy made out of teabags!), and my seven poems are exhibited alongside. I copied out the poems using a fountain pen on rice paper and I'll be doing some free readings over the duration of the exhibition. Recently I was interviewed by Vision Australia for their new series on emerging

I Just Wanna Wish You Well

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We Just Wanna Wish YouWell I had intended to write a cheery Christmas post but I put it off because I wanted to share a  new poem that went live at Quartet Journal (USA) on January 1st. The poem is titled 'Mary Ruefle is Right: Menopause is Adolescence All Over Again', and it pretty well sums up my preoccupations in 2022. Quartet is an online journal of poetry by women fifty and over. I admire the work in Quartet very much, and am really pleased to have this particular poem accept in this particular journal. CLICK HERE to read my poem and all the other super poems in Quartet's Winter 2023 Issu So you don't miss out on the extended version of my updates, you can subscribe to receive my newsletters HERE. I send them out once a month or so. And have you heard Baker Boy's 'I Just Wanna Wish You Well' featuring Bernard Fanning? No?  "Do yourself a favour" (as Molly Meldrum would say back in the day) and CHECK HIS MUSIC OUT HERE.   Warning: You will p