Last Saturday I went with my family to Castle Hill library. It is one of the best librarys in Sydney. There’s a lovely cafe off to one side, easy to read signs on the bookshelves, books sorted by genre and classification (of course), really comfortable seats, and an innovative children’s area with a wooden castle and a great wooden dragon hanging from the ceiling.
While we were there, we met a lovely woman. Wendy chatted with her about back pain and the like. She was going to a meeting. It turns out it was a meeting of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Hills Chapter) and they were having a one off workshop at the library, which was not their usual meeting place. They invited me to join them for the poetry workshop.
The poetry workshop was hosted by a Canberra poet. Her theme was the use of colour in poetry. One of the exercises was to write a six-line poem using words and colours provided. The colour was in the form of a paint sample sheet, the word was written on a small piece of paper. This was an exciting idea. I received “Arctic Crossing” as a colour, a kind of muted off-white and the word “Cloud”. It was almost too easy. I conjured images of clouds swirling like penguins over a frosted landscape, and hence the poem. I now suddenly realise that the act of penguins swarming like that belongs in the Antarctic and not the Arctic. But I’m not going to change the poem for that. Call it artistic license.
Tomorrow morning (AEST) I will be reading a poem that I wrote especially for White Ribbon Day. The poem will be read at the Mayor’s breakfast at the Cultural Centre in Katoomba which starts at 7:30am. The poem I’ve written is based on the structure of a web page on the White Ribbon Australia site. If you click on the link “Act Now” you will be taken to a page titled “Be an active by-stander”. Hence the structure and title of the poem “The Active By-Stander”. The poem is written from a particular point of view. It took me to a very dark place, so dark that my friend asked me to preface the poem by saying it is not auto-biographical.
I will be posting it tomorrow morning.
I am writing a verse play for children based on Hansel and Gretel. A bit ambitious, but the flow went that way. I was especially proud of the two monologues I had written so far. One for Gretel about how she misses her natural mother and hates her step-mother. The other for the step-mother, who I’ve called Porsche, about how she hates children. Both monologues are “sister poems” in that elements of one are reflected in the other. Both are similar in that the last line of each stanza rhyme (within the poem), and some images and phrases are repeated. Whilst they are both age specific, Gretel is supposed to sound like a preteen so her imagery is not very sophisticated, whilst Porsche’s language is more mature. Porsche’s monologue break’s the fourth wall and she talks directly to the audience, whilst Gretel addresses her dialogue to her mother.
Both monologues are a bit dark and I wonder if they are too dark for a primary school audience (ages 5 – 10). Also is it reasonable to expect a young audience to be engrossed by monologues? Especially when TV shows go for short scenes and cut-away jokes.
Unfortunately I missed the deadline for the first draft, but that’s ok, the Mother Goose play is going ahead, and that will break the ground at the venue (so to speak) so that the next time we can put on a second show in tandem with Mother Goose. I am not in love with Gretel’s monologue anymore, I thought it was great, but now that I read it, it’s not as “poetic” as the Porsche’s rant.
Here are the links to the individual poems
A science fiction memoir. The story of a colonist from earth. The colony ship crash lands on the wrong planet. The crash destroys most of the seed banks, most of the technology. What is left is barely enough to sustain the survivors. Even worse, the planet is poisonous, the local flora and fauna is toxic. The soil can corrupt the surviving seed banks. It takes some doing to figure out what can and can’t kill you. The person writing the memoir is farmer and poet. He learns what native flora is safe for humans and tries to cultivate it. He learns what seeds are safe to grow in the soil. He chooses to work with the land, rather than with those who choose to convert the land. “Landing” in the poem is the place where the colony sets up its first base of operations. “Hannet’s Range” is a mountain range that was explored by another colonist (called Hannet). The sun has two moons named Cain and Able for obvious reasons. The sun is not called Adam. Lapas are a native animal – think of a cross between Australian dingoes and North American coyotes. Lapas is Russian for paws.
I used to be member of a group (yahoo) which ran poetry challenges. One challenge lead to one of my favourite poems “Wedding Dress”. The challenge was to use ten random words and construct a poem using each of them. Hence the poem “Wedding Dress”. I can’t recall the exact words.
A couple of years later I had my own poetry group where I would post my poems and I posted Wedding Dress to it. I was then asked to write a poem about my wife’s wedding dress. Hence the second poem “Wendy’s Wedding Dress.”
I kind of miss the group because I received some good feedback and the occasional challenge. I would love it if some of you challenged me to write a poem. Leave a comment below and I’ll see if you like the results.
We’ve had a one in ten bad weather spell. Constant rain for the last 3 days. SES had over 300 callouts, fallen branches wrecked cars and careless drivers took the balance. I’ve completed a mid-semester exam in Tax. TAX!!! Aargh. I’ve also started a first draft of a short story. The poem I posted on Sunday is my most recent poem closely followed by Horse-boy. I submitted a short story to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. I once submitted a poem to them, which they accepted for intended publication, but they didn’t. Lets hope I have a better result with the story.
My good friend Anthony recently completed and received his Doctorate. He had a celebration in Sydney last night and I was asked to write a poem for the occasion. Anthony is a dear friend of mine and I am very proud of him for achieving this. The poem was very well received by Anthony and by the other guests.
The poem is structured like a thesis, it has a proposal, a literature review, a description of the methodology, the findings and the contribution. The proposal was written based on what Anthony discussed with me during the process. The literature review looks at the process of literature reviews, as does the methodology. The findings bear no direct relationship to the proposal, except for the second one, and the contribution is an in-joke for those who know Anthony.