Writing Sisters of the North Visiting Words and Pictures

Carol Libke and June Perkins at the Queensland Art Gallery, September 2018.

It was a delight to catch up with my writing sister (by the bonds of writing and living in the Far North Queensland related), Carol Libke, from Far North Queensland, and to take her on a tour of my writing in  ‘Words and Pictures.’

The writers of the Far North are special to me, because they accepted some of my work for an anthology many years ago. The poem, ‘Grumpy Fisherman’ inspired by the theme ripples, was later to become the inspiration for the Magic Fish Dreaming poetry book. Furthermore, they invited me to attend and read at a Cairns Writer’s Festival lead up event, and to be on panels on digital storytelling and blogging. Carol attended a workshop in Mission Beach, and we stayed in touch when I moved to Brisbane.

Mission Beach Workshop after Cyclone Yasi

We had a great yarn up about writing, health, family, the state of Australia and how nobody should be defined by the place they are born or live in in a way that doesn’t enable them to live their dreams.  Both of us had spent time in our early life living in areas with a dodgy reputation. Carol told me that she interviewed Ray Crooke many years ago, so she took a photograph of me in front of one of his paintings on display. The photograph of both us features Bannon Falls, and also possibly one of my favourite paintings, by Sydney Long, Spirit of the Plains.

Extract from Woman With Blossoms

For those who can’t see, even in places
where touch is forbidden, there are ways
to journey into art

(Perceval’s Angel)

As she stands in the doorway
Feel her face – unwrinkled
Smell the flower in her hair – frangipani
Carry the basket in her hands- useful.
Go through the open door behind her . . .

By June Perkins

(read the rest of this work in exhibition or at this pdf until November)

June Perkins, with her writing inspired by Ray Crooke’s, Woman with Blossoms, Queensland Art Gallery, September 2017



Losing Parents


Sometimes when I can’t find the words for someones loss
I send leaves, flowers and hearts
a poetry of stickers
for them to interpret how they wish

If I know them well I might
share a special memory of the person
lost and how that will always be
like gold.

But when stickers, and flowers, and
everything just don’t seem to fit
I scroll past silently and think of them
and write this to send.


For anyone of my friends and readers who has lost a parent


To all my friends losing parents this week
I don’t know your parents except
through anything you do that is inspired by them,
and anything you build in their legacy,

Or anything you do opposite to them (because you need to),
but you still loved them because
they made you see yourself clearly.

To all the friends losing parents
in the last few years,
who still feel that loss, maybe you
hear their wisdoms, jokes, and
see again funny things at
the oddest moments.

Perhaps you look forward to
seeing them again one day and
catching up.

Or maybe they are reincarnated
in someone else you know
in some way
in the shape of face
or character
or some other way

Celebrating all the positives in our parents,
living and present, gone but still present, and
future parents too,
about to join this fold.

All who have this blessing,
could well ask,
what will our children write of us?

(c) June Perkins


(I will keep reflecting on this theme and go searching for a poem or story that might express
it more eloquently)

Event at the Queensland Art Gallery

June cover page-4
John Perceval Sculpture: The Herald Angel 1958 Ray Crooke, Woman with Blossoms


10.30AM SUN 28 OCT 2018

On Grandparents Day, visitors of all ages are invited to join Words & Pictures writer, Dr June Perkins, on an interactive journey through the Australian Collection. Follow June’s series of poems and micro-stories throughout the Collection – with paper and pencil in hand! Write and draw your own responses, accompanied by special insights from the writer.

Discover a fresh perspective on the Australian Collection with Words & Pictures, an ongoing project that invites local artists and writers to respond to artworks in the Australian Collection. The Words & Pictures inspiration for Spring 2018 comes from Dr June Perkins. June is a Brisbane-based poet and children’s author, of Indigenous Papua New Guinean and Australian background, raised in Tasmania by Baha’i parents. Her first children’s book was the award-winning poetry collection, Magic Fish Dreaming (2016) illustrated by Helene Magisson.


Koolmatrie's Hot Air Balloon
Koolmatrie’s Hot Air Balloon


Middle Grade Fiction with Gabrielle Wang

Pearlz Dreaming

At the recent packed annual SCWIBI Queensland  Professional Development Workshop, I  appreciated Gabrielle Wang sharing her creative process with us. She gave us some inventive and wonderful ideas to improve our work in second drafts and shared her personal story of the importance of perseverance and the value of a mentor and challenge.  Do visit Gabrielle’s site to find out more about her books, and buy or borrow them!  They are fantastic and I can’t wait to read more.

Sheryl Gwyther, SCWIBI coordinator for Queensland,  and Gabrielle are pictured above sharing a concertina book with us. In this book Gabrielle told the story of a treasured object visually.  The true story of the object from real life was created first, but then she invented a story inspired by it, on the flip side. This process produced an idea for a story I am going to begin writing today! Gabrielle said…

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Image: William Delafield Cook A haystack 1982, Courtesy of the Queensland Art Gallery


Look! Rats and the children run out from
their hiding places in the haystack to
dance in front of us in a merry line?
Who else do you think hides here?

Do you have a memory of haystacks or
artist’s haystacks?

(Perceval’s Angel)


Tumble down the Haystack
dreaming columns of Greece.

Tumble down the Haystack
​             with childhood farming friends.

​Tumble down the Haystack
​             to horses and the cows.

climb up that artist’s Haystack
and tumble down again.


June Perkins (Brisbane-based poet and children’s author)​


This appeared on Australian Children’s Poetry blog today, and is currently up at the Queensland Art Gallery.


June cover page-4
John Perceval Sculpture: The Herald Angel 1958 Ray Crooke, Woman with Blossoms

Dr June Perkins, a Brisbane based poet and children’s author, has developed an interactive journey, through the Australian Collection, through poems and micro-stories for visitors of all ages, with particular appeal for children and families: Art Adventures in the Australian Collection.  

She invites you to follow the angel, follow the feathers, follow the art.

This adventure is part of Words & Pictures, an ongoing project that invites local artists and writers to respond to artworks in the Australian Collection of the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

Visitors to the gallery are invited to take inspiration, and use the pencils and paper provided at the stations to create their own response through drawing or writing.

There are 12 pieces in all. Haystack, was inspired by William Delafield Cook, A Haystack.

Perceval’s Angel is a character who takes the children on an adventure into the art gallery and so is often quoted.

From September – to November, this link will lead you to the poems and the art if you can’t make it there in person to visit the adventure.  Words on display from September to November.


A slide show preview can be found here https://ripplepoetry.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/wordsandpictures/

Unforgettable – the poetry of memories

My daughter chatting with Isobelle Carmody after attending the Write Links Mini Fest.

Reading a quote from Cathy Freeman at Soul Food, Milton.


Catching up with friends at a Baha’i history book event.  Book Club plans!  Hope to start this soon.


Working on poems at the Queensland Art Gallery in preparation for Words and Pictures.  My daughter takes this lovely photograph for me.

Soul Food Event, Bardon.  Seeing a friend’s new baby.

With my friend Chikako!


Attending Sprout Sunday and reading poetry with children and families and spending the day with Renee Hills.



Meeting the author of Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton

With one of my poems at the Queensland Art Gallery! Exciting times.

Hand Series – June Perkins

 What would you write for these hands?


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Gumbootspearlz Photography

The poetry of hands that become

the birth place for art

that turn over a new leaf

where finger nails are not adorned but

covered in paint and filled with earth

That hold






That Feel

when the eyes can’t see

here they are softly touching, discovering

showing and giving

gifts of memory.

(c) June Perkins

What would you write for these hands?

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