To be a poet one needs the six P’s – the pencil, the paper, the perception, the passion, the persistence and the unshakable persuasion that the poem is in fact possible and attainable. - Grace Perry

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wollongong Writers Festival

I'm thrilled to be able to promote the Wollongong Writers Festival, an exciting new enterprise that began successfully last year. Congratulations Chloe Higgins for doing such a fantastic job organising this festival!

You can find details of the program here

Friday, July 25, 2014

In interview with Maree Dawes

7264_19878_dawesauthorIn 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.

When did you develop an interest in poetry?
I used to write poetry as a child, continued through high school and early days of uni with a small group of friends – most of it very heartfelt and horrible. I did some poetry workshops, mentorships, residencies and uni studies in the nineties and had my first collection published in 2008.
Are you a communal writer? Is it important to you to workshop your writing with other poets?
I have been involved in a number of communal writing projects. one of my favourite projects was one where an artist Beth Kirkland and I had discussions about themes and topics and then did cafe performances where I wrote a page of stream of consciousness writing. Beth used a pencil to strike through most of my words leaving only a few words which she then highlighted with watercolour.  Sounds complicated but the result was two stories, hers and mine.
I really value getting feedback about my work regarding what is or isn’t working, and I get this from the writing group I belong to. A workshopping process where more of the content comes from others is not something I’ve done, I guess unless it’s a shared project I like what appears in the final copy to be my own work.
Who are some of your favourite poets and what is it that has drawn you to their work?
Dorothy Hewett’s poetry – her work was so experimental and feminist – and her poems about the wheat–belt are special to me because we inhabited the same landscape in different generations.
Dorothy Porter – I have to make myself read her work slowly, especially the verse novels. I just want to gobble up those seductive words … but slow reading illustrates again and again how a few words can push out the sky and make whole worlds of experience appear. Robert Grey makes everything come alive, with his perfect word choices and his balance of natural and made environments. Jordie Albiston, because I can only watch in awe at what she does with form – and while I’m watching the form she trips up my heart. Barbara Temperton for her imagery, getting to the emotional centre of things and the perfect length of line. Alvin Pang, to remind me that the city is also a landscape and Caroline Caddy who reminds me that sight is not the only sense.
What an unfair question … this answer could go on all night. I’ve also enjoyed national collections like Australian Love Poems and The Best Australian Poems.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Phillip Hall - Sweetened in Coals

Phillip Gijindarraji Hall, Sweetened in Coals

“This book is a stunning achievement.” – Bonny Cassidy

Phillip Hall has long been an antipodean follower of Henry David Thoreau and John Muir. He has worked as a wilderness expedition leader in Australia for many years writing his nature and environmental poetry in his spare time. For over ten years his poetry has been published in numerous literary journals including Antipodes, Meanjin, Overland, Plumwood Mountain, Quadrant and Southerly.

Phillip now works in remote Indigenous education in Borroloola, the Northern Territory’s Gulf of Carpentaria, where he continues to run camping and sports programs designed to teach emotional resiliency, cooperative group learning and safe decision making. He has immersed himself in Indigenous Culture and Story and has been welcomed into Gulf life with the most amazing generosity and warmth. He has been made a Gudanji man; known also by his skin name of Jabala and his traditional or bush name of Gijindarraji where he is a member of the Rrumburriya clan; he is Jungkayi (custodian) for Jayipa.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BRB A Verse Novel by Maree Dawes

I just realised that I haven't posted about brb on here. Maree Dawes published this verse novel through Spineless Wonders early this year and between completing uni and starting teaching I forgot to post about the book and my involvement in its publication.

I was thrilled to be contacted early last year by Bronwyn Mehan from Spineless Wonders. She emailed me a copy of the brb manuscript, asking for a manuscript assessment. I was over the moon to have been even considered for such a task. I carefully read and reread the manuscript, compiling a report about how the verse novel was working on a whole and my response to specific poems. Bronwyn was encouragingly pleased with my report and forwarded it to Maree Dawes. These two talented women then asked me if I would be interested in the task of editing the manuscript with Maree. I was really worried that taking on this task would be too much for me, given how busy I was with uni and with my work out the South Coast Writers Centre, but being me, I just couldn't turn down such an exciting and valuable opportunity. 

Although I wrote no poetry of my own last year, I greatly enjoyed discussing word choices, line breaks and the overall plot of brb with Maree Dawes. Maree was open to the opinions of a novice such as myself and we had a bit over 6months worth of emails, Skype chats and many different versions of the manuscript covered in track changes going back and forward between us. I am very pleased with how this verse novel finished up! Maree is a wonderful writer who captured the complexities of relationships, both online and in real life, with all of the angst, lust and compromises that are inevitable. 

Purchase your copy of brb here:

Check out some fabulous reviews of brb on the following blogs and websites:

You can read an interview I did with Maree Dawes, post publication, here:

Here is an interview between a dear friend and talented writer, Maureen Flynn and Maree:

Another interview with Maree Dawes:

Barbara Temperton launched BRB in WA and you can read her speech here:

Here's a link to Maree's website and Facebook page: