Working on Project X

Arrival of a mentor text

My next poetry work doesn’t have a title. It’s a work in progress, drawing on my life, sense of being in the world and Australia as a woman of colour, a lover of actions beyond words, and just to make sense of this thing we call prejudice. It might include photographs, memoir, metaphor, lyricism, and is inspired by the many poets in the world, who in someway might lead me on my own journey, to understand why I write, where I am going and who I might become if I choose.

June Perkins
All the mentor texts gathered!
One of the inspirations for why I write is the next generation!
 So you might ask yourself why do you write?
 Do you like the idea of it?
 Do you like the idea of an author?
 Or do you write to understand 
 to release 
                           the tough memories
 so they dance until they make sense
 so the transcend you and find their meaning in 
                         larger steps to you?
Do you like to show who you are in what you write
                 Or do you hide yourself in there, hoping that one day someone will truly
                          understand the
                    that scraped the inside of your lids wanting to break the eyes open
                        to see the boundary lines of privilege smashed in 
                        a tango show down or a tap dance solo
that made you listen to the 
            rythmns of despair?
What is your lonely island?
                What is it?
                     Why do you want to leave it?
             What is the place that traps you and says you cannot speak it
                   the unspeakable 
                   that happened on that lonely island?
Can you take me inside your grief and isolation
 not as a tourist or an enemy but as a 
               to see your 
               lonely island ? 
By June Perkins - reflection on a mentor session
Zoom mentorship with Nick Makoha

And so it begins, from a conversation – now study, writing, reflecting, writing, and then again study, writing and reflecting.

And my new friends and teachers are Terrance Hayes, Safia Ellnillo and Claudia Rankine.

What is poetry today? What is my poetry becoming? What do I really want to say? How will I say it?


A big thank you to the Queensland Poetry Festival, for the zoom mentorship with Nick Makoha.

Was absolutely thrilled with my mentoring session with Nick. It was a thoughtful, intelligent, guided reflection. A drawing out of the things that I really want to say in my poetry but might not be quite saying right now.

A walking alongside 3 poets I had not read before who will be part of my future reading materials (mentor poems/poets)And I now have a plan for the process to create an unnamed, project; Project X. Had to make the effort to think deeply, but it was well worth it.

Feeling very inspired, enthusiastic and a renewed energy to dig deeper and tackle what it is I really want to say in poetry. Many thanks, for the opportunity to have a conversation/dialogue with Nick. Looking forward to continuing to work on some of the things we spoke about!

June Perkins


2 thoughts on “Working on Project X

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