Sunburst through green
patterns like seventies wall paper
sing of Sounds of Silence –
in nature’s calls
the inner story of
glow worms and lyrebirds.
By June Perkins
1. When is the kickstarter for Magic Fish Dreaming running? We’ll let you know when this launches and the kickstarter page is live.
If you want to see this book happen please keep inviting people to the facebook page and blog in preparation for the kickstarter.
The video is in production, the rewards for supporters are being sorted and well there’s all that behind the scenes stuff you have to do before LIFT OFF!
The campaign launches in a few months from now.
2. Why are we kickstarting the book? The world, with all its challenges and joys, most definitely needs poetry for children and their families to read together and to each other, to perform and enjoy and which reflects their experiences of environment, family, and adventures but . . .
The situation in publishing is that poetry books are not taken on by most commerical publishers and yet it remains a loved art form supported by independent small presses and literary presses, and taught in school curriculum.
A major tendency in creating poetry books for children is to publish collections of much loved no longer alive poets (who did not necessarily write with children in mind) like Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman, centred around themes, and illustrate them. Exceptions to this are well known poets for children and families like Shel Silverstein, and Pam Ayres who have written some fantastic books of poetry that are not really just for children.
Another tendency is to publish poetry for children that is all about rhyming and sing song rythmns or completely tied to school curriculum needs and to stick with spelling list words. There is nothing wrong with poetry like this but poetry is much, much more.
Did you know a poet is considered a best seller in Australia if they can sell 500 books? Most poetry presses have their publishing books full up for up to three years in advance.
It seems poetry is one of those things that is really up against it when it comes to traditional publishing. Yet, it is something so much part of our everyday lives, especially when we consider songwriters at their best are poets at heart and the growing popularity of spoken word poetry events – slam poetry.
3. Why Poetry? Poetry is powerful. Poetry has champions like Maya Angelou, Judith Wright, and Oodgeroo. Poetry can move the heart and change the world.
Poetry can be many things, and appear in all sorts of shapes and forms and appeal to all ages and background- perhaps though it is its capacity to explain things through similie and metaphor, and to take on the point of view of others that gives it, its greatest power to help humanity cross boundaries.
Poetry is something you can take with you beyond what is taught in the classroom and the home, into a way of being and relating to the world.
This poetry book is about breaking down barriers, and sparking a love of poetry and language for children and their families with themes that are relevant to their lives. It is about working together with an illustrator, Helene Magisson, to attract children and families to poems, and bringing the visual and poetic art forms together.
4. Are you with us? My dream is that you will be enchanted by our samples to want to see this book happen, and will help us kickstart this book into the world. I have chosen to have this book illustrated by a wonderful artist who knows how to appeal to children through her art. I am enjoying this collaboration greatly.
We’d love it if you can invite any of your friends who you think would love a project all about the love of poetry, nature, family, adventure and more!
Join us on facebook and the blog, and at Kickstarter soon.
When you look up
you will see
attached to the trunk
a giant gecko.
When you look around
carved in a tree stump
hours of chainsaw artistry
not to take a tree down
but to adorn or transform it
to art about nature;
to make you want to connect
with the creatures
that live there;
leave the world of your phone
as you walk
with nature converse.
there’s a real possum hiding there
bounding out when you notice it
saying, ‘remember you saw me
you don’t need to take
a photo of me with your phone.’
Thankyou Matty G
for your clever artistry;
Thankyou Far North Queensland
for making me always want to look up
down and out…
(c) June Perkins
Research reveals that the two chainsaw sculptures above are done by Matthew George, a Queensland creative chainsaw artist.
You can find out more about the reasoning behind the project here Chainsaw Art at QUT’s Kelvin Grove.
The main idea of the sculptures is to connect the viewer (most likely a student) back with nature, and to encourage them to look up, and at the ground, rather than stick to their mobile phone.
They certaintly captured my eye. After seeing two I knew there should be more and my curiousity was lit and I went off on a web search.
I love making discoveries of real animals, but these art ones were also intriguing. Some even looked freshly done.
The other day when I was looking around QUT, I noticed a real live possum! It was staring at people wandering past, and was a gingery colour.
So far I have just found two chainsaw sculptures, but there are a few more hanging around the campus.
For even more information see Matty G Inc.
(c) June Perkins
The first lines and opening must avoid cliché
and even better still intrigue and invite me
into the poem’s world.
It really mustn’t tell me how much love is like a rose.
If there is metaphor it needs to flow and extend naturally
and there are so many metaphors that have been overused
it might take some experiments to find something original
but too original than perhaps I won’t relate.
The poem could profound
I don’t mind having to do some work to understand
but if it totally confuses, leaves me lost,
then I am unlikely to read until the end.
Please don’t let it have an artifice of depth
but actually be a shallow pool.
It might leave me with a question, an impression, a mood, a challenge,
a pertinent observation and
a constant musing on its end.
I might want to read it again and again.
It might be the poem I’ll forever carry in my head.
It might enchant and seduce with its
delicate impressions that capture
the natural world I love.
It might introduce me to words
I have never heard before but instead of shutting me
out make me curious and willing to go and look them up.
It might touch a nerve
crawl into my poetry sense
with its metre and cadence
burrow into my head
to create comfort or discomfort
to unnerve me
with its truth.
Perhaps it is clever beyond belief
an artful crafting of sonnet, haiku, prose poem
but if it’s clever just for clever’s sake
I might not give it a second reading
even though I admire the technical skill.
Or maybe it’s just what I needed to read that very minute and
it just came into my life
in the feed, in the poetry book someone gifted to me
in a random search online.
Maybe it says what I am feeling
trying to do
trying to understand
trying to remember
trying to encourage in the world
trying to forget.
Now I’ve told you my reasons
I wonder dear reader
Why do you read a poem ?
(c) June Perkins
Whilst thinking about how to deepen my writing about place – a love for ecological writing, nature writing, and an idea for a new book of poetry and story has been born, or surfaced. Looking back I see there are hints of it, that perhaps I didn’t take notice of at the time, even though artists like Sasi Victorie and a writer/philosopher Nell Arnold told me it was there.
Every new essay and book read has been triggering an outpouring of thought. I follow trails, that seem to connect and double back on each other. Connections I could never have forseen appear – opera, wandering men who make the land their home, crocodiles, and plants weeping flowers that want to be named,
Songs of birds and humans, layers of land, story, culture, – the power of names, and the biographies of ecologists have been adding themselves to my consciousness, and rather than confusing they are clarifying and deepening my love for understanding the world around me.
An adolescent love of biology, a delight in the many documentaries of David Attenborough, and a love of stars have been combining to take me on a new writing journey. I find myself watching documentaries on the origin of black holes. I look up the stories of the places I live in to find out: what the street names mean, who the Original peoples and Indigenous language groups are, and what are my old and new suburbs current cultural and age demographics.
In a picture book idea I find myself searching for a bird call I want to represent in language and following a trail of bird sites This leads me to exploring side track after side track, but the time is not wasted. I am creatively gathering – building a nest, or is it wings. I am asking questions like what did the birth of the moon cause? I alternate between a nature essay and a notebook of ideas for poems, with snatches of yet to be fully formed verse.
Am I living a second childhood, or discovering this is a way I want to be more in the world? Why is this way of being in the world, being more aware of its many layers, actually making me feel closer to my own soul?
Ah it seems something to unpack in poetry, that is for sure.
(c) June Perkins, words and images
For the Tasmanian Forests
In my slow growing long lasting huon
There are the stories of your grandfather’s hands
And gaze taking me all in
I carry you in my arms to the safety of Earth mother to
Shield you from storms and yet you would
I belong to your children and grandchildren
Would you unfriend my many shades of green
Lime and moss on rolling hills
See them parched yellow crying
Would you delist me from your protection
Hold me at a distance
Forget that I am your breath
Forget my distinct scent
In timber in new life as your love seat
Would you let me be overharvested
So people of today are the last ones
To say they saw the Ancients
Who had to make way for too many tree farms
Together we braved the tempest
Of droughts and fires
And as we survive should not our
Bond be stronger?
Would you lie down in
My green tears
To cleanse your heart?
Could you learn to bless me
Let me be the forest at your back
The open arms that
Lovers long for?
(c) June Perkins
The Haiku for peace quest continues
orb of light
branches cradle sunbeams
until they dance
light dances lost optimism
puts on winter gloves
cradle frozen fingers
reaching for warm
until they dance spring
goodbye winter gloves
(c) Words and Image, June Perkins
todays webs hang
raindrops of possibility
as nature’s eyes cry
storms trembling trees
see past forest’s danger
as nature’s eyes cry
footpaths gather prints
dance for lost youth dreaming
as nature’s eyes dry
Image and Words by June Perkins
See more Haiku at Thousand Healing Haiku