Sunday, October 26, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
Bring along your poems! Open mic with book prizes and the inaugural lead logie (LMR pencil) to be won.
Bookings from the South Coast Writers’ Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or from Sturt Cottage on (02) 4860 2083. $25/$15 (SCWC members and Friends of Sturt Cottage).
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
The blurb states that: "Navigation contains poems that are short, sharp pieces drawn from her abiding concerns with family, death, and love". As I sat at Central train station reading her explorations of these human concerns I felt that the bustling of life around me was the ideal setting to get lost in Johnson's words.
'Paper Dolls' is an honest scene from a childhood, exploring the innocence of youth and the conflict that can occur in adult relationships. I remember paper dolls and paper bikinis from my own childhood, the concentration and care needed to pop all of the pieces out and neatly fold the tags so that the 2D figures could be as glamorous as their glossy haired barbie doll cousins. Through her description of the attention given to these dolls Johnson explores the child's emotional response to the sound of fighting from the next room:
I push hard on the perforations.
She comes away in two pieces.
Johnson writes poignant images, such as: "I remember the ground / dog-nose damp beneath my feet", capturing the imagination of a child and the sometimes uncomfortable relationship between father and daughter in her poem 'A Month Before my Father Died'.
A poem that resonates with me is 'At the Temple of Sisters'. Someone close to me has been recently diagnosed with cancer and in this poem Johnson describes the cruelness of the disease:
But snares and exorcisms don't work.
There is nothing to offer your cancer
that it doesn't already have.
Johnson's longer poems in this collection are historical narratives of whalers, a whaler's wife and the Tuniit people of the Antarctic. Here is a harrowing description of doing the laundry on a whaling vessel from her long poem 'A Whaler's Wife at Sea':
...After they are dragged
back in I sew the body-eaten ghosts
of drowned sailors with thick twine
onto the strung line.
Warrick Wynne has written a review of Navigation which can be found here. He discusses the diversity of poems and the four parts within the collection, stating that: "[he] found it a little difficult to find the centre of it all, or something like the true voice, if indeed that’s the quest. The book is diverse and moves from the past to the present and back again fluently and is as comfortable with the story as the lyrical moment". For me the centre of the collection is this theme of family, death and love.
I agree with Wynne that the first section, 'Ties', contains the strongest poems of the collection. These poems delve into difficult and sometimes uncomfortable emotions and display an impressive control of language. 'Cannas' is a perfect example of Johnson's rich imagery and description of the external world, alongside an exploration of our 'inner worlds' that Peter Boyle has praised her for. She captures the flowers, their "Garfield-orange, / fresh-wound red, / lemon-spread yellow" colouring and their "elastic javelin" stems. At the same time, she writes of the complexities of coping with cancer, "terminal clusters" that "flows like heredity /through my dreams".
To purchase a copy of Navigation visit 5 Island Press here.
Johnson's most recent book Stone Scar Air Water can be purchased here.
Monday, September 29, 2014
As interesting as the theory behind concrete poetry is it is not my favourite form of poetry. The experimentation in the aesthetics of language is sometimes beautiful and sometimes interesting, but I often struggle to understand the meaning behind the word art. Perhaps there is no meaning other than a celebration of the text, or it may be that I am unable to see beyond the visual.
Two poems in the edition that I did find meaning in as well as aesthetic interest are Jill Jones' 'While It Seems' and James Stuart's 'Adrift and Out'.
In 'While It Seems' the persona moves through long grasses: "among the floating mass", "in the spider season". Through the positioning of words, the pace of the poem and her lexicon Jones appeals to all of the senses and reconstructs this place, leaving us there with the wind:
there is not always need for wordsPhotographs of emergency radios in remote Australia are the back drop to the poem 'Adrift and Out', which contrasts the "carbon copy windows" of the city with the openness of the outback. Stuart tells of the role that the radio plays in rural Australia, a cry for help in times of emergency and a link to the noise of humanity and a blending of remote and urban living: "words & music / stars smudging / to black water".
to rest the wind takes the rest
You can read Bronwyn Lea's full forward here.
You can purchase the journal here.
You can read more of Jill Jones' poetry at http://www.jilljones.com.au/index.html
You can read another review of this edition at Rochford Street Review here.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Looking forward to the second Little Mountain Readings on November the 15th, 5-8pm. We have an inspiring line up of poets: Peter Bakowski, Jenny Crozier, Ron Pretty and Mark Tredinnick. There will be book sales and of course an open mic with book prizes and the annual LMR 'lead logie' pencil to be won.
For tickets contact South Coast Writers Centre on director[at]southcoastwriters[dot]org[dot]au or call Sturt on 02 4860 2083.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
You can find details of the program here http://www.wollongongwritersfestival.com/event/
Friday, July 25, 2014
In this interview, editor and poet, Rhiannon Hall talks with West Australian poet, Maree Dawes about her writing and its influences and about her verse novel, brb: be right back.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Monday, June 30, 2014
Alan Wearne will launch Phillip Gijindarraji Hall’s first collection of poetry at the University of Wollongong. The collection, sweetened in coals, explores “ways of responding to place; listening to Country in a way that esteems the Traditional Owners and interrogates colonialism’s crooked paths,” Hall said.
Please come along to the foyer of building 25 at Wollongong University on Friday the 4th of July from 4:30-6pm for a discussion and reading.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
This is poetry that dances like the brolga: in praise of wading waist deep in the mountain river's 'nourishing brown flow'; of parcelling freshly caught barra in paperbark before 'sweetening in coals'; of a campfire crackling in 'plumes of rising heat'. Hall raises the flag to Indigenous survival, listening to Country in a way that esteems the traditional owners and interrogates colonialism's crooked paths. This is poetry that keeps us sensitively engaged and committed from beginning to end.
'Every day twenty-first century Australia needs urgent corrections to that ongoing virus of phoney patriotism continuing to infect it. The plain-speaking, closely observed poems of Phillip Hall go a mighty long way in tending to that need.' - Alan Wearne
'Hall is a striking imagist, moving us toward a Thoreauean poetic of sauntering and ambient perspective. Sweetened in Coals is a stunning achievement.' - Bonny Cassidy
Phillip will be at the University of Wollongong in July reading poetry from his collection, which will be launched by Alan Wearne. I will post more details about the launch shortly. Thanks in advance to the South Coast Writers Centre and the University of Wollongong for hosting this launch.
To purchase the book visit Ginninderra Press.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
The article explores my work at the South Coast Writers Centre. I have sadly finished up my job in the office at the Writers Centre, although I will be staying on as a board member and I will continue to run the annual event, Little Mountain Readings.
It also discusses my challenges and successes as an emerging poet.