Monday, September 5, 2016

My New Poetry Collection

Today the postie brought me some lovely mail. One of the pieces was an event invitation, the other was a book. The event isn't relevant to poetry at all, but the book sure is. The book was my first copy of my newest book - a poetry collection, published by Ginninderra Press, a fine South Australian publisher, which many of my b=clever writer friends have been published by.

I've wanted to become a Ginninderra writer, and now I finally am one, hooray to me! My book is "Tense & Still", and is a book of my poetic thoughts about the creatures in my life, from the dogs I love, to cats, rabbits, lambs, foxes, insects, lizards, and a variety of less lovely critters. I don't hesitate to look at the darker side of living, and that is the sometimes bloody end, when creatures may die, as we all will, in the end.

I don't hide from death, and I'd like to think this book may be a way to help older children to think about both life and death. I would love to take this book into classrooms, and discuss these matters at some stage ...

Life and death, are both real, and there is no way to hide from either one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Playing games with Haiku

Today I was thinking about a new form of Haiku. Or it may not actually be a 'new'; form at all, I don't know. I'm prepared to hear what others think about my ideas concerning Haiku in Australia. I will call this form AussieKu or perhaps Ausku.

This form is about the idea of writing haiku which are Australian. Australia is a great big country, and many of the things about Australia are unique to our land. The wide open lands, where a kangaroo hopping past with her baby or babies in her pouch can certainly be there in the paddocks, by the roads, in the bushland ...

So this line of thinking jumped into my mind this morning when three crows flew overhead, calling as they went,  and then began circling overhead, above a paddock not far from my house. I thought about sheep in the paddocks, and the new lambs I've been seeing in these past few weeks, and a small poem was suddenly in my head.

This is an edited version of the initial poem:

The crows overhead
cawing, then circling over lambing ewes ...
Faaaaak, faaaark!

I've lived in the country long enough now, to imagine the mayhem that might occur, if one of the ewes were to get into trouble as they bring their new lambs into the world. Childbirth can be a worrying time, whether you're human or an animal. My heart aches for the bloodied babe that becomes a victim of Nature at its further bloodiest times.

I may not be a farmer, and for that I am often thankful, but I am a caring person, and I have been a small animal breeder in my past. Every new creature is a blessing, and every life is to be helped as much as possible. Farming is all a gamble though, and Mother Nature doesn't care either way, I don't think. Lamb or crow, it means everything, and it means nothing to Mother Nature ...

So what do you think? Do you have thoughts about any of this? I'd love to read about your thoughts ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Poetry is Many Things

Hi, I've been thinking about poetry, and enjoying the way my thoughts have been going. Poetry is indeed many things, and I wrote the following on a friend's Facebook page recently, in response to " Writers Write"


By posting that, what was I trying to put across? My initial thoughts were just to play with the word/words. That's certainly one of the ways at looking at it. But poetry is many things, and playing can lead to doing, and can lead further to presenting in a variety of different ways.

I've been thinking about identity lately, in response I suppose to the Gawler Friends of the Library poetry competition with Identity as its theme. Who am I? What do I do? How do want others to think about me? How do I want to think of myself?

Last week, thoughts like these led me to thinking about, and then writing a 'Rap-style" poem. The poem felt so good to write, that I felt I had to share it with others, so that's what I did on Monday. I'm the "Writer-in-Residence" at Poetic Justice Cafe Gallery three times a week, and Mondy is one of my days there.

I printed out my Rap, on card rather than paper, and in a larger than usual font, so I could more easily read my words, and keep them handy as needed. I read that poem at least five times on Monday, and apparently, every time I read it, I got more into the "Rapper" mode.

So who am I? Wife, mother, writer, dog lover

- yeah sure, I'm all of that. But I'm a Rapper now too, and I'm sharing my word with all of my Sistas, fighting to get the word out about who they are, what they want, all of those things - we all have lives and stories to tell, and don't get in our way, dude, 'cos we are on our way to GOOD things!

Haiku, rap, villanelle, ballads, these are all poetry, give them a TRY and you may be thrilled with the results.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Adelaide Plains Poets "Transitions" Poetry Competition 2016 Judge's Report Judge: SB Wright

'Transitions' Adelaide Plains Poets 2016 Poetry competition Judge's Report

Adelaide Plains Poetry Inc
"Transitions" Competition
Judges Report

Judge: SB Wright


Open Division

1st place:         Fade Out (poem 57) Damen O'Brien 
2nd place:       raptor (poem 104) Glen R Jones
3rd place:        Change of Heart (poem 96) Rees Campbell


Schoolies (poem 79) Melinda Kallasmae, Bigger on the Inside (poem 98) Jenny Blackford, Wood turning (poem 78) Melinda Kallasmae

Secondary School Division

1st place:        Timeless Despair (poem 2) Alexandria Walker
2nd place:       Under an Army of Clouds (poem 1) Valini Goorha

Primary School Division

1st place:         Pinery (poem 3) Sarah Pettina
2nd place:       Once (poem 2) Ashleigh Dowling

General Comments:

Open division:

The poems submitted this year displayed a wealth of variety and inventiveness, covered subject matter from the comical to the tragically personal.  It was a privilege to read a number of fine poems and personal narratives.  The theme of Transitions was approached directly and indirectly with life changes featuring prominently.  The place winners and highly commended poems excelled not just in their tackling of the theme but in those elements of poetry they chose to promote.

Secondary School Division:

While not as highly subscribed as the open category all entrants were courageous in their attempts to tackle heavy subject matter.  There was plenty evidence here of students using the emotional power of poetry.

Primary School Division:

There was great variety in the poetry, as to be expected considering the different age groups and levels of development.  The place getters though were hard to differentiate, displaying skill and judgement that could have seen them compete in the Secondary School Division.

Commentary on winners:

Open Division:

The Fade Out :

From the outset it’s the music of this poem that begins to seduce you.  There’s a definite iambic rhythm, with enough variation in feet and line length for it to form a strong under current rather than a steady trot. 

This is further complemented by repetition and reversal of phrases (especially in the first stanza and the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth) and subtle and sparingly placed internal rhyme.  The effect is one of subtle echo or melody which I find aligns exceptionally well with the content.

The rhetoric, the logical structure and unfolding of the poem is again a well articulated use of the theme.  There were other poems that were far more subtle in their construction around the theme of “Transition” and there were others that were more blatant. 

What the poet achieved here was a good balance, using Transition in both the literal and metaphoric sense. Surrounding the keyword with other film terminology that supports the extended metaphor made it settle into the poem far better than if it had focussed entirely on Transition.

The imagery was an enticing mix of staple images of natural transitions or nature transitions and the aligning of film terminology with our internal psychology of self was engaging both on an intellectual and emotional level.

Secondary School Division

Timeless Despair:

In judging the secondary school division the hardest part was judging excited young poets who were throwing all their learning and talent at the piece. Timeless Despair emerged as clear winner for much the same reasons that the winner in the Open section did. 

The poem presented, was a well rounded piece using a number of poetic elements.  Other poems in this division sported more complicated diction and more formal registers, but fell down in presenting a clear narrative or logical unfolding of the poem’s ideas .  This poem has a simpler diction and a more common register and this aligns with a straightforward narrative.  The end rhymes don’t feel forced or too cliched - indeed the poet displays as good a handle on rhyme as some of those in the open division.

Primary School Division:


Not a great deal separates 1st and 2nd place in the primary division.  Pinery, though displayed a clearer sense of the theme, managed seven end rhyming couplets  and gave this reader a rounded and complete movement of both idea and poem.  But above all there was a sense of it being firmly bedded in lived experience, beautifully articulated.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Gawler Festival of Words 2016

The Adelaide Plains Poets writing group is again going to hold the Festival of Words in July. The Gawler event, the inaugural event, was successful and we are working hard to make the 2016 event even better! We've begun our first crowdfunding campaign, and are hoping many other people who love words will get involved and help us!

We are using indiegogo to raise some more funds, so that we have lots of money to give to the people who have been affected by these terrible fires. I know some of these people, and I very much hope this anthology may bring them some hope for a better future.

The anthology will contain creative writing from a broad range of situations and ages, and as the editor I am both humbled and delighted with the works I have seen so far.

Bad things happen, yes, but events like these fires have brought out the good in many, many people.Their personal stories about how the Pinery Fires affected them are in this anthology, covering the bad things at the beginning, to the more hopeful dreams for the future, and all of the hard work in between.

Puss in Boots is helping us with our fundraising efforts, and having him involved can bring a smile to most faces, regardless of their age.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Poetic Thoughts - a Ballad about the Terzanelle

I currently do a poetry workshop on Sunday mornings, at a lovely cafe in Gawler called Poetic Justice Cafe Gallery. today, the poetic subject I was telling the attendees about was the Terzanelle, using this person's website: GryphonSmith
I don't know this person, but I liked what they wrote about the form, so borrowed their words. I then went of to have a go at writing my own terzanelle poem, but sadly is is still not complete. I only have a few more lines to add, and hope to get it done before our next workshop, next weekend.

In the meantime I have written a poem about this dastardly poetic form. The poem I wrote is a ballad, and I'm quite happy with it. So happy in fact that I am going to put it on this blog, and give a link to it on the Sunday poetry group's Facebook page so that members of the group can come here to have a look at it, if they wish. This is the poem at the moment - it may change with further thought, but I'm relatively happy with it at the moment.

Dare You Try It?

Bloody hell, the terzanelle,
what a tricky poetic form.
The ballad, that’s an easy one -
traditionally, the norm.

Mention poetry, ballad’s the one
comes readily to mind.
But terzanelle, I’ll tell you now
is a very different kind.

From the villanelle, and something else
with an even tricker name,
the terzanelle could drive you mad
in this poetry writing game.

But if you try, and get it right,
oh, what a glorious thing!
A poet of such talent & skill

will make our glad hearts sing!

I'm not saying this is a wonderful ballad, or that I deserve a medal for attempting to write a terzanelle, I am just happy to help spread the word about the wonders of poetry, in all of it's many forms!

So have you ever tried to write a terzanelle? I'd love to hear about it, if you have!

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Poetry Competition - Transitions theme

The competition for 2015/16 is closed to entries now, but that certainly doesn't mean poetry isn't happening where I a! The judge of the competition has the entries now, and is busily reading the entries, and picking his lists of winners. We had a grand entry of exceptionally great poems, and I don't envy the judge Sean Wright his task - so many good poems, which is the best?

Sean will come up with the answers though, and I am so looking forward to hearing who are the winners for this competition. I certainly liked many of these poems, but I didn't try to choose any winners this time - Sean and I are both poets, yes, but we may prefer different poems. Life lived, poetry read, how you feel at the time. All of these can impact of which particular poems you may like.

As the judge, do you look for technical excellence? Or heart, an excellent new idea or style of poetry. These things are all up to the judge of the competition. Our judges, and we've had many over the years of this competition, have been left to make up their own mind, with few instructions, beyond picking first, second and third for each section, and highly commended and commended as the judge sees fit.

The winners won't be made public until the end of March, when they will be announced at the Gawler Poets at the Pub Poetry Reading event on 27 March 2016 at the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler. I will know who the winners are before then, so I can let the winners know in advance, with the hope they will be able to be there for the announcement, and also so I will have the relevant winners' certificates.

These exciting things are all a part of the fun and thrills of running a poetry competition. The money for this competition is quite reasonable, and the joy of the winners when they accept their prize is always lovely to see. And I particularly love to hear the winning poems read by the winning poets, if this is possible.

I an a sucker for these feel good moments in life, and I intend running this annual and national poetry competition for as long as I can, with my great team of group members from Adelaide Plains Poets! Many thanks to the team, and many thanks to the poets all around Australia who have taken part in this, and other poetry competitions Adelaide Plains Poets have held.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Competition is now closed.

The Adelaide Plains Poets poetry competition, with the theme of 'Transitions' is now closed, so the entry form and guidelines have been removed from this blog. The only new entries accepted now will be the ones that arrive in the post next week, postmarked by today (Friday 29 January), or are given to me on Sunday. So if you missed the post today, you'd better get to the Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler at 2 - 4 pm Sunday 31 January.

This has been our most successful competition in the more that ten years we have been holding an annual competition. The theme seems to have appealed to a large number of poets, and the quality of the entries is high indeed. Several of the poems have touched on the theme of fires, and have been considered for an anthology planned for later this year. Any profits from sales of copies of the anthology will go to assist those who have been badly affected by the Pinery fires.

It's going to be difficult to come up with another theme that works as well as the Transitions theme, that fired up the imaginations of poets all around Australia. It's been great too, to see entries coming from local people I don't already know, and I hope to catch up with some of these poets in the year to come!

As the Competition Secretary, I get the enviable opportunity to read all of the entries, but I don't have the difficult task of having to choose the winners, The joy without the angst, it's a terrific job, that's for sure!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Closing Date is Getting Closer!

Yes, the closing date for the current Adelaide Plains Poets is January 29, just a couple of weeks away. Don't leave it until the last minute, and lose out, get your entry in soon. The postie is still bringing me some lovely entries, but who know which the judge may choose.

If you love writing poetry, but you've never entered a poetry competition before, why not make 2016 the year you start putting your work out there, and try your talents against poets from all around Australia. I made some writing related resolutions at News Eve, and the commitment has excited me and I'm loving the new things I'm writing now!

So the theme for this competition is Transitions, and wow, the responses to the theme have been interesting, that's for sure. Our group likes to have themes for our competitions that can bring in a wide range of ideas about where a poet can go. This is good for the judge to read, and think about, and it's great for me too, because I'm the person who gets to read the entries first!

Reading poetry is a great way to spend a quiet morning, seeing what other poets around our country are thinking, and writing poetry about. Good stuff for sure. I've already begun thinking about the next competition, regarding the possible theme, about the closing date (change the time of year maybe?), and about ideas for encouraging more entries, in particular the student entries.

If poetry is going to keep on growing in Australia, it's important that we can get children interested in bot writing it and reading it. And regarding reading poetry, I'm not just talking about the dead white guys we all started on at school, all those years ago. There are lots of poets who visit schools, and I'm glad about this, and hope it continues.

The joy on the faces of young people when they write a poem, and share it with their class is beautiful! Do you have any thoughts on any of this? I'd love to hear from you it you do ...