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

 

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Haystack

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.

Now,
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.

https://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/australian-collection/quiet

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

Spirit of the Plains

Sydney Long, Spirit of the Plains, Queensland Art Gallery

 

Brolga! Brolga, follow me, dance with me across the plains,
for you are me, and I am you, if only though I had your wings.

Brolga! Brolga, bring your friends; I know you cannot live alone.
Listen, as I play for you, a wetland filling up with food.

Brolga! Brolga, I bless you; may your wetlands always be here.
Let them not be cleared away, let the sedge grow tall and well.

May the people hear our song, then dance with us across the plains.
Brolga! Brolga, I am you, and you are me: let us both grow tall and well.

 

By June Perkins, Brisbane based, poet and children’s author, This poem is part of Words and Pictures, Spring 2018

**

Embrace the Australian Collection as a place of quiet contemplation through poetry, drop-in drawing and calm living meditation.

WORDS & PICTURES: DROP-IN DAILY

Ongoing | Galleries 10 – 13 | Free
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. Take inspiration, and use the pencils and paper provided to create your own response through drawing or writing.

SPRING 2018 | This season’s Words & Pictures inspiration comes from poet and children’s author, June Perkins. June 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.

For more head to the Gallery or the webpage (other poems and stories at this site until November only)

The Diviner

Margaret Barr’s “Strange Children” [ballet], 1955 / photographer unknown

 
With her forked stick
she walks the surface of the drought.
 
She walks the future of their farms
calling water to sing through the twig
wherever it may be.

She looks for The Dog stars
in the sky
waiting patiently at the twin’s table.

Cosmic dogs with dry throats sing,
‘the land will once again
have need of boats.’

She throws her forked stick
into the expanse of sky, whispers
‘Little Dog and Dog star hunt for water
Give us rain.’

But for now she must find the underground stores
to tide them over until that rain is found.

The Great Dog rises before dawn
at the end of summer.

Now hunting
of the rains can end.

All will feast on her tears
soaking into earth
giving seeds birth to
saplings
and a land without drought.

 

(c) June Perkins

 

Notes on the photograph

Margaret Barr (1904-1991) was born in Bombay, India. She went to school in California, USA, and in the 1920s studied dance with Martha Graham in New York and choreographed her first works. During the 1930s she taught at Dartington Hall in Devon, England, an experimental school run by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst, and opened a studio in London. The productions of her own dance dramas often featured original music by composers such as Michael Tippett, Donald Pond and Edmund Rubbra. With her husband Bruce Hart, a conscientious objector, she travelled to New Zealand at the outbreak of World War II, where she accepted the position of Director of Movement at the Auckland School of Drama. She moved to Australia ten years later, and for four decades made a unique contribution as a choreographer, director and teacher. She formed the Margaret Barr Dance Group in Sydney in 1952, was Director of Movement at the National Institute of Dramatic Art from its inception in 1958 to 1975, and conducted classes at her Annandale studio. Her choreography was motivated by strong social and political concerns, and her dance dramas ranged over diverse topics such as the work of Mahatma Gandhi and Margaret Mead, drought, and the Melbourne Cup. She died in Sydney on 29 May 1991

 

Visit for More Details visit Flickr: Margaret Barr’s Strange Children

Responding to Art with the Written Word

Rosalie Gascoigne Lamp lit 1989
Rosalie Gascoigne Lamp lit 1989, Courtesy of Queensland Art Gallery

I have made significant progress on a poetry project, writing poems for The Words and Pictures  project at QAGOMA.

Which is just as well as there are just four days left for my final selections and edits.

Some of the works have  inspired more than one poem/micro story.  One even inspired four pieces.

I now have to select the ones  I feel will be the most interesting or evocative for the people visiting the gallery.  I might share some of the others that don’t go in, here on my blog.

It is not easy as I am quite happy with each version, but then I have a vision of how all the works fit together and want the poems to be spaced  throughout the gallery.

Also my goal is to give the poems and micro stories a broad appeal, such that people of many ages might enjoy reading them, including people familiar with my work on Magic Fish Dreaming.

So now my role is to curate the right balance of my own work, to show that I love writing for children, families, youth and adults.

I look forward to seeing how the public respond to the writing once it is up on the Gallery walls.

I have a few butterflies of course, but it is quite exciting to share poems alongside art works, and have them interact with each other.

If you visit the work, feel free to leave a comment on my blog, or QAGOMA instagram as I would love to know what you think.

I’ll let you know the dates it is up soon.

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Ray Crooke, Woman with Blossoms, Fragment. Courtesy of Queensland Art Gallery.

 

 

Poet at Play 4: Writing inspired by Art

Sonja Carmichael, Deranji Dabayil (Rocky place, healing waters): Baskets of Culture 2017 Courtesy Queensland Art Gallery

At the moment I am working on something special: writing inspired by art for QAGOMA. Later on this year my writing will go in display in the gallery alongside the art works.

The process so far has included exploring the art in the Australian Collection of the gallery and absorbing the atmosphere the art is displayed in and finding out the parameters of the project from the Engagement staff.

I am hoping to use some of my writing for children background in the works, and considering the way a narrative might weave stories out of the art works as well as employing poetic techniques in my response work.

As part of this journey I have been researching the works, their artists, and  the intentions and materials of the artists.  This is easy to do via the captions with the work, and the website of the QAGOMA which is packed with information, and sometimes includes things like video interviews with the artists.

That’s all I can say for now but will let you know when the writing will be on display and would love to know who has seen it and what their responses are.

I am very excited to be part of a project were different art forms inspire each other.

 

 Michael Stevenson The gift (from ‘Argonauts of the Timor Sea’) 2004-2006 and through the circle Alick Tipoti works, Kudusor, Courtesy of the Queensland Art Gallery

If you have ever been to an art gallery for inspiration for your writing do let me know.