What can Citizen teach me about Poetry?
Been digging deep for the next poetry collection. Filling a purple notebook with ideas, often written in prose.
Sometimes lines just spin out like poetry.
Then I type them up. During type up sometimes words and lineation change.
Sometimes metaphors are born.
Sometimes phrases that surprise HAPPEN!
Then I revisit them with what I have been discovering in my mentor texts. These texts suggest experiments. Things to try that I might not have done before. Or I see that I do something that poet does already.
Had some positive feedback from my mentor recently (and a new question) and the journey continues!
This is my reflection on Citizen and I have written some new poems based on this reflection (those are top secret for now).
Citizen by Claudia Rankin – Devices/Observations.
There are no titles only sections I – VII.
There is often a use of the second person you – to put reader in the shoes of the narrative speaker- the reader, you must inhabit the body of a black person.
Her series of vignettes is very prosaic at times but then there are these massively poetic metaphorical lines that just pop out at you
‘the sky is the silence of brothers'(p. 89 in citizen- very moving )
‘a novelist with the face of English sky’ (p. 115)
that said the work progressively becomes more and more poetic to express a depth of sorrow and critique of society that is indeed lyrical.
She mixes memoir, essay and the poetic. There is the mention of other texts and citations, like from James Baldwin. Something about the way she quotes them makes you want to read those intertexts.
There is the integration of photographs, surreal art works, multimedia scripts and more.There is an engagement with popular culture / tennis/ academic texts/ everyday life, news.
By referring to you I sometimes feel like the poet is in dialogue with herself, trying to understand herself, or the person she is embodying.
She deals very deeply with the objectifying of the ‘black body.’
She has great compassion that does not judge for the black person that rebels and responds to prejudice in the ways they have access to.
So what next? What do I read next after the mentor texts?
Give the Gift of Poetry!
Sing Me a River
Illuminations – interviews and guest blogs
Illuminations Interview on Baha’i Blog
Shaking Off the Dust
KBR Interview with Ruha and Minaira Fifita
June, Ruha and Minaira chat – Sound Cloud
SCBWI Announcing Illuminations New Work
Queensland Poetry Festival Panacea Poets Reading
Extract in anthology In Your Hands
Celebrating New Books in Troublesome Times Sophie Masson’s blog
How to Find Peace in a Pandemic
How are we all going to find peace in this pandemic?
That is a huge question.
Today the Premier of Victoria said there is a long way to go.
We need a vaccine.
We need to deal with finding peace of mind to make it through the day.
What does the world need to find peace from this common foe?
Unity of effort to find the vaccine?
But beyond that discovery will be administration to share it
beyond that administration to share it will be
share it justly to all nations and
all walks of life.
People are panicking.
They want to say the covid19 is not real,
exagerrated, a conspiracy.
Should they take a trip to India
to Italy, to America
and walk another nations nightmare
for a dare.
They want to imagine we will build immunity
that after many deaths it will begin to roll away
and they think that we can shut all the borders and all will
be well … but this virus is tricky .. monstrous… persistent.
And in all the nations where the the death toll rises
those with a low death toll think they will escape
if they shut it all out.
They want to rescue their own economies.
They want to avoid their own recessions.
And nobody wants to live a life as if it is in a prison.
And strange things are happening, like mask fashion
like connecting people all over the world
to listen to fairytales
And still we wonder if we are not scientists
and medical researchers, what will role will we play
to keep the world going until the vaccine is found?
What will it take?
How will we not break into
hysteria and vain imaginations
that the world can be disconnected to win this fight?
And we must win it!
We must strive.
We cannot see this
become humanity’s demise.
Until then –
I visit photographs to take me
all the places where
I can find peace.
Poetry in the Every Day
walk in softness
Photographs whilst walking
become source of reflection
inspiration and care on
days when I can’t walk.
memories only a few days old
This feather nestled in
the surrounds of the park
a moment of grace
saying ‘stop and be with me’
Today my heels are in a sorry state,
covered in antiseptic cream
band aids and slippers
and still I can hardly tread
So this what the little mermaid
meant when she said
‘I walk in pain.’
I must be content with scrolling
through the beauty of my last walk in
just down the street.
swim in softness
So near and yet so far.
This soft feather a solace.
And mystery is a feather
discovering its poetry.
(c) June Perkins
Illuminations featured at Panacea Poets
A huge thank you to the Queensland Poetry Festival team for the invitation to be part of Panacea Poets.
In Panacea Poets, Queensland Poetry Festival administers a twice-weekly booster of short readings from wonderful poets via their youtube channel.
QPF will deliver these soothing doses of poets-in-iso indefinitely.
It is such a great honour to be part of a project to apply the bird of poetry to the experience of the Pandemic, and to maybe inspire listeners to draw on their strengths and optimism.
So many esteemed and inspiring poets – Kirli Saunders, Stuart Barnes, Charmaine Papertalk Green to name just a few, do check out the playlist! I’ll share a few of my faves from time to time!
Here is my reading!
‘Tahirih’ in the Music of Delia and the Poetry of June Perkins
I invited the wonderful Delia Olam to the launch of Illuminations, via a video presentation. We have a mutual admiration for the Tahirih a hero of the Baha’i Faith.
Delia Olam is an Adelaide-based Actor, Director, Playwright and Singer-songwriter with Bachelor degrees from Flinders Uni Drama Centre, UNE NSW, and AC Arts with Honors in Directing.
She has worked for over 10 years as a freelance and touring performer, singer-songwriter, director, theatre maker and drama teacher – performing the collected songs of 2 released albums and 3 new theatre/cabaret works and engaging in attendant forums and workshops on the Equality of Women and Men, Creating Theatre from (Baha’i) History, and songwriting from poetry.
Among these shows is “Just Let The Wind Untie My Perfumed Hair…”, a historical drama – which took 2 years to research and develop and which tells the story of Ṭahíríh The Pure, through 5 different characters. It is now in its 5th year of life as a Nationally and Internationally touring solo performance work.
Tahirih inspires Baha’i creatives, and women and men wishing to work for the equality of women and men the world over.
You can read more about the poetry of Tahirih on Baha’i Blog.
As for Delia, you can find out more about her FACEBOOK or her website.
Power of Artists – A Virtual Launching of Poetry Collection Illuminations
On the weekend I officially launched Illuminations – 19 Poems and 1 Story with the wonderful team and a special guest Delia Olam
I held the whole event on line. However, I was able to do one in person interview with my designer Heidi, and my dear husband David helped out on that one. That was truly lovely! We caught up in real space!
After a discussion with the production team as well as with a friend who works in media I created a number of short videos that could be watched individually or in sequence. I placed these on facebook ready to go on the day of the launch. I knew it would take quite a while to upload them so I started the day before.
I decided to do the launch this way so people could take the event in through small morsels, that might make them interested in taking more in.
I wanted to take into account how people use social media, and how they might not have large chunks of time to engage with the launch (especially at such short notice of the actual details of the event with many attractive events also on).
I felt that often poetry is something you want to engage with in small amounts, so you can treasure it.
I wanted the launch to be about more than the book, and share how rewarding the process of collaboration can be.
It was a lot of work editing the videos, as anyone who works with video or film knows, and especially because I hadn’t done video editing for a long time and was mixing with a program I hadn’t used before. At times I felt like I had definitely bitten off more than I could chew. Argh.
June with Designer Heidi Den Ronden
I didn’t have full command of the program and there were a few more things I would have liked to do with my edits. However, I just did the best I could with the time I had, to achieve the kind of variety I wanted.
I pushed myself to have them done in time, and to do the best I could. I was thankful for the team sending me their footage excerpts to assist in the process and giving their time to do interviews.
In the compilation of videos I decided to do an interview with the artists on zoom, Ruha and Minaira Fifita, and designer Heidi Den Ronden, in person on my phone, to take people behind the scenes of the production. They submitted video footage and images of themselves at work.
I posted the chat with the artists yesterday, on the blog here. I made a short video excerpt and also a sound cloud of the full interview. We yarned up about collaboration, arts and spirituality and family. It was such an enjoyable chat.
So happy to have captured it, as we often have discussions like this but we don’t usually bother to record them! I am thinking about a zoom interview series! Or a podcast rather than posting of text.
I invited Delia Olam to share a performance of Tahirih’s words, a poet and Baha’i hero, who inspired one of the poems and say whatever else she felt like saying. She submitted her video.
And then I recorded myself with my phone, welcoming everyone to the launch, introducing Delia, reading poetry and thanking everyone at the end.
Being a perfectionist, I did several takes of myself reading and considered elements from my training with the Australia Society of Authors on virtual presentations such as wearing a block plain colour rather than something busy with patterns and reasonable lighting.
I shared some of my readings on my instagram, and informed people about the launch.
I decided to mix some videos of art with musical backing – wordless – for viewers to take in the visuals of the project in a creative way.
These were mixed into a full sequence of videos, for a watch party. Hmm the watch party was a tricky thing to do live, but I saved the whole thing for replay and left it for commentary.
I kicked the whole thing off with a facebook live, explaining how to take in the launch.
The facebook live had friends from Far North Queensland, Brisbane, Canada, Sydney and country New South Wales and they were from, Writing groups I had been in editors, I worked with in the past, to people who have known me and my love of poetry since I was a young child (and who informed me that I had always been drawn to poetry and visual arts combinations), and more.
Many people have visited the recording of it afterwards, and a few people said they wished they had known about it in time as they would have definitely turned up. Oops that’s my bad.
I didn’t do an enormous amount of prepublicity for the online launch, maybe because I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go, and despite my ambitious program wanted to keep it a bit low key.
I did inform lots of groups that I regularly visit on line and sent out a few invitations. I also had a preorder, and so some people had the book in hand and have been sending in their wonderful feedback! This one made me cry!
I enjoyed pretty much every aspect of this virtual launch, except for the watch party – where it all went a bit haywire as far as having a true live interraction under it. However the replay is pretty enjoyable to watch back and I am still glad I had a go at seeing if it would succeed.
As part of the launch I posted some creative activities for people to do, and will be looking for submissions which I may PUBLISH on this blog. I was so delighted to see the first submission to this project turn up in my social media today!
One reader posted a tremendous, short and sweet, review on her instagram! Thanks Vacen.
In future I would be confident to run something like this event again, but would see if I could give myself a longer preparation time, and more prepublicity. I would probably avoid a watch party, and add a zoom invitation live chat instead.
That said my major pre publicity was to have a preorder and quite a few people actually had their books in their hands on launch day! They turned up to the virtual event too, which was fantastic.
Much love and thanks to everyone that turned up, and is still turning up, watching, participating and interacting. I will post some of their responses to the launch in future posts and do an analysis of some of the data on the attendance and participation as it unfolds.
A special thinks to the collaborative team.
Matilda one of my dear editors who prefers to remain behind the scenes, so hence no video interview with her, turned up throughout the whole weekend from her home where internet can be hugely intermittant and was a wonderful participant as were all the team. They have been such a pleasure to work with.
I’ll let you know when the next virtual event will be!
My enthusiasm for this form has grown, due to the way it can bring so many people who have become like family, and who live all over Australia and the Globe into one space to share the love of poetry, the arts, collaboration and community building.
Of coure it will be lovely once again to have warm in person meetings, such as at the Illumine exhibition (I have a picture above of that!) and to see people open and interact with the book.
A special thanks to those people who sent video of themselves opening their book privately to the team. What treasures to make us feel like we had an in person launch.
Look out from some more video posts on this event.
If you want to attend the full watch party you are welcome to do so now WATCH PARTY REPLAY