We Are Travellers

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We forge forward into the night
Hidden by shadows
Submerged below the moonlight
We pass unseen

By Maria Parenti-Baldey

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Written in Response to  June Perkins, World is Mirage 3, Illumine Exhibition.  

Thanks for permission to share Maria’s workshop poem.

 

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Writing Poetry in Response to Art

Workshop Offered at Magda Community Artz

(80 Boundary Road  Bardon, QLD 4065)

OCTOBER 7th Saturday  2-3pm

OCTOBER 8th Sunday 2-3pm

Click  HERE TO BOOK  (Selection of Date option will come up and you choose the day).

Description

June Perkins will share some ways in which the visual arts can inspire poetry. Participants will be invited to write their own poetry interacting with the Illumine Exhibit. They can also bring along a photograph or visual arts piece that they would like to write about.

This workshop is suitable for youth and adults who love both art, photography and poetry, or who are visual artists beginning to develop their poetic skills.

Although the workshop formally concludes at 3pm participants are welcome to continue on in the space writing their visually inspired poetry until 4pm if they wish and to chat about poetry and art.

Biography

June has been a poet since childhood, and has had many poems published, in collections of Pacific, Far North Queensland and Baha’i Writers during that time. She crowd funded and published the well received illustrated poetry collection for children and families, Magic Fish Dreaming. She recently shared her poetry and participated in a panel at the Queensland Poetry Festival.

June regularly contributes photographs to the Nineteen Months website, and attaches written reflections and quotes that speak with her photographs for this. Her blogs often include her own photography. She is generally interested in working across art forms as well as in the empowerment of youth and adults through writing.

Professional Website

For more information mandala and tapa workshops also available for this festival, visit our website https://beillumined.wordpress.com

This event is part of the mini Illumine Festival.

New Poetry Collection in Development

Delighted to have a new collection of poetry for the bicentennial year, almost edited. These were some of the comments back from Beta readers. They also offered some great constructive critique as well to improve the work. I thank them so much for their time, guidance and beautiful words.

Will be sharing some of these poems for the first time in public on the opening night of Illumine

Comments on June’s new collection

I enjoyed the stream of consciousness.  Some of the poems reminded me of Rabindranath Tagore’s work. I related to the references to Holy Spirit and reference to Joseph in poems like Art as a Gift of the Holy Spirit and Dear Artist.

Very deeply felt and flowing verse, reminding me of thought patterns in the Eastern spiritual tradition. The Poetry Bird / Swirling, Almost Something / Prince of Peace / The Dreamer each struck a chord in me, seeming particularly gentle and transcendent.

Wow! This work is illuminating, smooth, cool and smart! Real smart! The pieces that really resonated with me were The Poetry Bird, Poet’s Tree, Dear Artist, Art as a Gift of the Holy Spirit, First Light, Declaration, Dawn Breakers and In Faith.

I LOVE this book. So many gems – I particularly like The Dreamer.

Boonah World Environment Day in July

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My family arrived in Boonah last Friday night, and stayed at the tranquil home of my friend Elizabeth who is a local resident and greatly involved in her local community’s efforts for sustainability.  After enjoying a beautiful misty sunrise and breakfast, we headed up the next day to the World Environment Day festival which was being hosted by BOSS (Boonah Organisation for a Sustainable Shire). The most striking thing to attract our attention when we first arrived was the Vomitor, made from recycled materials and warning us what will happen if we don’t stop littering!

 

At tenish the traditional welcome from the Ugurapul people happened, conducted by Douglas James, his wife Denise and others from their community.

This was full of ceremony and quite moving.  It included a reenactment of what should have happened when new people arrived on these shores, and a smoking ceremony.

 

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After the traditional acknowledgement I gave a short  official welcome speech and shared a poem especially written for the festival and dedicated to its themes.  I spoke about how poetry is in everything, the totems that many of the Indigenous people’s of the world have and shared that my family totem from PNG is the Bird of Paradise.

I remembered my youth growing up in Tasmania and working with others to in my community to make sure the Franklin stayed wild river.  I read out some statistics on the state of the environment in Australia and read ‘River Song’ from Magic Fish Dreaming.  I focused on the power of unity and collective action from everyone in whatever capacity they can to bring about change in the world, and mentioned the story of Jadev Peyang.

 

My dear children shared three songs, and it is so good to see them continue to build their confidence performing in public!

This one is Courtesy festival photographer (I was videoing)

There were more things happening throughout the day in the main stage area, but I mostly spent my time in the sheltered area on my book stall, selling books and was treated to some lovely chats with locals, visitors and other stall holders.

 

We encouraged people to contribute to a group poem, with about 15 people stopping to participate in this.  You can read  FROM LOVE – HERE.

Participants, all ages particularly liked the magnet play to create parts of the poem.    Here are a series of photographs on the poem in progress.

 

I managed to sneak up the top on a break to see the following dancers, due to having my dear family on hand to help me out.

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Gypsy Caravan Tribal Dancers

 

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The highlight of the day was making friends with Rebecca Brain (BOSS Vice President), also from PNG.  I was so delighted when she took a copy of the book home to read to her children, which I wanted to gift to her, but she insisted she had to pay me something,  and paid me the retailers price and presented me with a bilum as well.  Quigley the Quoll loved that bilum!

 

 

I met some other lovely stall holders, food van people, performers, and non profits as well as the singers of the day stopping by to say hello and offer encouragement to my kids for their music.  That was just lovely.  There was also a storyteller, or was it bush poet who came and told me a long joke about Salmon Rushdie and the Atlantic ocean, because my book reminded him of it… (due to being about a fish.)

 

Pictured  (above) are the not for profit Days for Girls  making a difference.  There was a whole range of workshops, films, face painting, and demonstrations going on, but I didn’t have a chance to capture all that as I was chatting with people at the stall, about poetry, totems, environment and more.

 

Dear Elizabeth dropped by a few times to see how it was all going.

I just loved meeting so many interesting people in Boonah.

A massive, massive thank you to the people of Boonah as well as my friend Norah who said hello.  May your festival go from strength to strength.

It was also a lovely surprise for my hubby to see the father of a friend from his childhood, who now lives in Boonah!

 

For more photographs of the day head to my FLICKR SET

You can find out more about BOSS on their facebook page. HERE

Poetry for Children Event

Writing Poetry for Kids

When Saturday, August 26, 2017, 1 – 2pm

Are you thinking of becoming a children’s poet? Are you already a children’s poet looking for a way forward in your journey? What can poetry do for children?

Join poets Sally Murphy, Dr June Perkins and JR Poulter, in-conversation with Dr Virginia Lowe, for this fascinating discussion.

Brisbane Square Library, 266 George Street, Brisbane City

Bookings required.

Phone Brisbane Square Library on 07 3403 4166 to reserve your place.

Queensland Poetry Festival & Brisbane Square Library

Cost FREE

Ten Things About Poetry and Me: Teena Raffa-Mulligan

1.What is your earliest memory of poetry?

Sitting beside my tiny English grandmother on the sofa or my bed, listening to her recite poems to me. I particularly recall a sad poem called Papa’s Letter about a little boy who writes a letter to his father in Heaven and is trampled by a horse when he goes out to post it. I’ve since learnt it was written in the nineteenth century by an anonymous poet. Another that lingers in my memory from that time is William Allingham’s The Fairies, a favourite of both Nana’s and Mum’s and one I eventually shared with my own children.

 

2.When and why did you begin to write poetry for children?

I always thought of myself as a writer, not a poet, though I did produce a number of rather serious contemplative poems as a young adult. It never occurred to me to write poems specifically for children until years later when my children were in primary school. I was writing mainly short stories, picture books and chapter books but occasionally I’d have an idea for a poem. I discovered The School Magazine in 1998 and began to write poetry with these wonderful publications in mind. Some of my published poems were initially written as rhyming picture books that didn’t sell in that format. I believe in being open to possibilities so I looked at alternative markets for them and struck lucky.

 

3. Do you think writing for children is the same or different from writing for adults?

The same skills as a writer are required for both. It’s a matter of keeping your audience in mind when choosing what to write and how to write it. However, a well-written poem for children will be appreciated equally by adults. We’ve all been children and can remember how we felt in our younger lives. When poets can draw on this child aspect of themselves, the poetry they produce will have universal appeal.

I know how much I enjoy reading the wonderful poems being submitted to the Australian Children’s Poetry website for posting as Poem of the Day and how often I think, ‘Wish I’d written that!’

  

4. If you could be any poet in history who would you choose to be and why?

John Masefield. His poem ‘Sea Fever’ has been a favourite of mine since childhood for its rhythm and imagery. It gives me goosebumps even now when I say it aloud. Cargoes, too, has a wonderful sense of rhythm.

 

  

5. Give five words to describe your poetry?

Child-friendly, whimsical, playful, amusing, simple

   

6.Share a few lines from one of the poems you have written that you are most proud of?

‘ Leaf Lace’ was inspired by the discovery that caterpillars had been making a feast of my geraniums. One night when I couldn’t sleep, I mentally sifted and sorted the words until they felt right.

 

Lace maker

Toils secretly

Tucked out of sight;

Creates ornate

Patterns

Until they’re just right.

Delicate, intricate

Handiwork done

Designer departs

To start

The next one.

Serrates, decorates

All my plants in this way.

I confess

I’m impressed

At this leaf lace display.

 

 7.What is your favourite form of poetry?

Rhyme. I get a lot of pleasure from playing with different rhyming patterns, so I might focus on rhymes within lines, or an AAB, CCB end line rhyme pattern. Whatever pattern I choose, it’s always a challenge to make the rhyme feel natural rather than contrived. I also enjoy reading well-written rhyming poems.

 

8, Have any of your poems been illustrated? If so what did you think of the illustration? 

All of the poems I’ve had accepted by The School Magazine (about 20 in all, several also reprinted) have been accompanied by wonderful illustrations. It’s always a thrill to receive my copies of the magazine in the mail and see how an artist has interpreted my words.

 

9. Where is your best spot for writing poetry and why?

I don’t have a best spot. Once I have an idea, I will mull it around in my head as I go about my daily activities, jotting down fragments or lines in a notebook as they come to me. Often I’ll mentally work on a poem if I’m awake during the night. When I’m a passenger in the car also seems to trigger my poetic impulses. Of course, the real work of refining poetry happens in my office when I start keying my random bits and pieces into the computer.  

 

10. What advice do you have for other poets wanting to write for children?

Read the work of contemporary poets to get a sense of what is being written and published now. Today’s children are incredibly savvy and they’re exposed to very different influences than earlier generations through technology and social media. Keep in mind who it is you are writing for, and don’t forget there is still a child in you who knows what it is to be a child. Write from that place.

You can find out more about Tina here

Website: www.teenaraffamulligan.com

FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/TeenaRaffaMulligan/

Twitter: @TraffaM

Blog: https://intheirownwrite.wordpress.com

Ten Things About Poetry and Me: Virginia Lowe

In 2016 Virginia was awarded the Leila St John Award for services to children’s literature in Victoria. Here she is with the medal.

1. What is your earliest memory of poetry?

My mother was a pianist. She was always at the piano, and I could sing 80 nursery rhymes when I was two (so my baby book says). Then there were the Zoe McHenry songs as well. All of these are rhymes, of course, so my first introduction to poetry was via song. The piano was a player piano, and we had rolls of most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas as well. As soon as I could read, I could sing these too – and loved them.

I think we also had to  AA Milne When We were Very Young and Now We are Six, as I vaguely remember ‘Jonathan Jo had a mouth like an O’, ‘Christopher Robin is saying his prayers’ (oh no, it’s called ‘Vespers’ isn’t it?) and ‘Buckingham Palace’ – but I read them so often to my own children later, that it’s hard to think back through that to my own childhood experiences.

We learned quite a lot at school, for which I am very grateful – they stay with you for ever. I remember some of Walter de la Mare’s, Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’, and Shelley’s ‘The Cloud’ from elocution  in secondary school).

 

 

2. When and why did you begin to write poetry for children?

I have written poetry for as long as I can remember (at least since adolescence) and I am interested in children’s literature.  I have been a children’s and school librarian and lectured on children’s literature at uni, the book from my thesis is Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two Children Tell, and for the last twenty years I have run a manuscript assessment agency Create a Kids’ Book. Some of my poetry naturally turns out to be for children.

Published by Routledge in 2006.

 

3. Do you think writing for children is the same or different as writing for adults (explain)

Pretty much the same – it’s all about playing with words, and settling on just the right words in just the right order, whether it’s for adults or children. I do think children like rhyming poetry better. At least the poems I remember from school – the ones of Walter de la Mare for instance, all rhyme. And the favourites of my own children – by Ogden Nash, Lewis Carroll and Doug McLeod for instance – also rhyme.

 

4. If you could be any poet in history who would you choose to be and why?

Emily Dickinson. I wouldn’t really want her isolated life, but in her few pithy words she can sum up a situation and an idea – it leaves me breathless sometimes! Such a philosopher.

 


5. Give five words to describe your poetry?

Narrative, socially aware. Take a simple idea and elevate it by cleverly twisting it and putting it in a poem. (Just needed some extra words for this one!)
6. Share a few lines from one of the poems you have written that you are most proud of?

From ‘Baby Walking’

a baby, much too small

stands stolidly erect

then deliberately

loses balance

to step forwards

into his future

as a biped

 

7. What is your favourite form of poetry?

The really short pithy ones telling a philosophical or social truth – but I can rarely manage it myself.

 

8. Tell me about how you like to perform your poems?

Other people’s poems: I used to take a poetry basket into schools, with about 30 little objects in, and everyone in the class would have a chance to feel in and take something out and hold it while I recited/read ‘its’ poem.

I just read mine, when I have a chance.

 

9. Where is your best spot for writing poetry and why?

In my study, at my computer. I rarely know what I think till I see what I say (as EM Foster had it…)

Sometimes I also think of a few lines, or solutions to lyrical problems, while I am swimming laps in the pool – there is pen and paper in the car for me to write them down as soon as I get out.

 

10. What advice do you have for other poets wanting to write for children?

Keep writing poems. Some of them will turn out to be suitable for children, some not. And read, read, read. Get a name for yourself by publishing to the weekly prompts on Australian Children’s Poetry https://australianchildrenspoetry.com.au/

 

To find out more about Virginia

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/?s=virginia+lowe.

https://australianchildrenspoetry.com.au/?s=virginia+lowe.

www.createakidsbook.com

 

(Interview by June Perkins, This blog is part of a series on Poets for Children, Ten Things About Poetry and Me.)