Anne’s Blog

Launching Small Acts of Purpose

By | Poetry | No Comments

It’s a week till my newest poetry collection goes out into the world. My daughter Siobhan will start proceedings after Kris’s welcome and then Anne M Carson will send it on its way. I’ll have something to say and I’ll read you some poems.

The venue is Collected Works. I think about all the places I’ve travelled from to end up there. It’s a poetic home for me and, hundred of others.

There’s been a bit of on-line discussion lately about the value of launches. Economic value is not as important to me (luckily ūüėČ as the gathering of friends families and others interested. I’ve worked on this creation for four years. I’m happy to celebrate its arrival and I’d love it if lots joined with me in the celebration.

Small Acts of Purpose

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A poetry book seems to take about four years to create….well that’s how long it takes me. First there’s the years of creating poems. Then the leap of faith when one compiles a manuscript and sends it off. I learnt this year what a thrill that acceptance email was. Though I had published two books previously, had had several shortlisted in international competitions and had workshopped most of the poems with critical peers, I think we are always seeing the flaws.

But acceptance came and after the months of editing and re-editing, the next email has come. The manuscript is ‘in press’.

And now I am living in that brief interlude when what’s done is done but the work of putting it before the world has not quite begun.

The Tenderness of Carrots

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And you ask me from where do I get my ideas? I’ll tell you. I planted these carrots with my sister. We watered and tended them throughout the summer. A few weeks ago I wanted some for a special dinner, so out I went to harvest. As always I pulled gently and out came this pair, one wrapped around the other so tenderly I thought I might cry, or perhaps, place it in a poem.

Reading with Robyn Rowland ~ Poetry that matters

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I really like poetry to be interesting. Audibly, it has to be beautiful or striking, but if I can listen to poetry that is thought provoking or challenging or tells a good story, I am in. That’s why I was particularly pleased to read with Robyn Rowland at the first 2017 event at Poeticas.

What a project the creation of This Intimate War Gallipoli/Çanakkale  1915 has been. But what an important project.  I found the poems and the perspective moving.

My travels last year initiated me into¬†an understanding of the impact of war in eastern¬†Europe. For most of my life I’ve been reading or hearing of WW1 & 11 from the perspective of the allies. I hope my¬†poem¬†Post War Recovery ~ Warsaw-Warracknabeal conveys something of what I’ve learnt.¬†

Artist’s Dates

By | Inspiration, Poetry | No Comments

IMG_0772I’ve been ¬†a fan of the Artists’ Date long before I read anything by Julia Cameron. Whether I head to a gallery or a beach for an hour or wander up into Central Victoria or along the coast for a day, I feel it invigorating¬†my soul. An added dimension is when I share the day with a creative friend. ¬†Catherine Brennan and I ¬†have been sharing our creative passions¬†for 30 years, so I was particularly pleased when she opened a second Salt & Pepper Gallery just outside Jan Juc. ¬†It’s a wonderful gallery, first of all because¬†it’s a working gallery, secondly because Catherine is such a talented, passionate artist and thirdly cause she is such a genuine and beautiful person.

IMG_0945Catherine has embraced her seaside lifestyle to create beautiful work from the oceanic world where she now lives. I’m happy to come home from a day urgently wanting ¬†my pen to be working as well as her paintbrush. ¬†Occasionally we come home with something more tangible. Her scarves brighten my winters. her cycle of life sculpture adds harmony and beauty to our funeral home. One of her paintings graces my hallway. It’s bright and vibrant, full of movement and colour. Every day I love it.

All images: Catherine M Brennan Salt & Pepper Gallery

Poetry and Music of the Volcanic Plains

By | Poetry, Western District of Victoria | 2 Comments

First event of the year and it happens to be in my childhood hometown Camperdown (VIC) featuring two other poets who are also mad for this landscape that I love.  What a luxury, poetry of the volcanic plains supported by the brilliant violinist Bert Pratt. The man is a genius with a heart as big as Mt Leura. I’ve been reading bits and pieces from Graeme Kinross-Smith for years but Barry Breen is the man who got me onto poetry. He taught me at school for the last few years. I still hear his voice resonating in my head with the poetry of Yeats and Owen and Eliot. He opened a world to me.  I knew this reading would be the last my mother would attend. She who has been my best groupie, my most critical of proof-readers and faithful of readers sparkled on this day. I will be grateful to her forever.

Resuscitating my Passion for Picture Books

By | Children's Books | No Comments

JeffersAll the years the children were little our shelves filled with picture book, as did the table, bedsides, extra cupboards. I was mad for picture books and used any occasion to indulge my passion by gifting one of my children with a book. This Christmas my 26 year old gifted me with Oliver Jeffers The Day The Crayons Quit. I have read it and read it and taken delight in the surprise and colour and the delight of it.

More than this though I took it as affirmation for the direction my writing was taking. After years of focussing on poetry and an occasional essay, review or speech, I am re-embracing the picture book. That most eloquent of forms with its tight use of words and its capacity for shifting the world just a little bit being given to me by my youngest child. 

Castlemaine State Festival

By | Central Victoria, Poetry, World I love | No Comments

A great time was to be had at this year‚Äôs Castlemaine State Festival. Absolute favourites were staying with my gorgeous friends in ‚Äúthe west wing‚ÄĚ, getting to know the new generation of poetry movers and shakers in the central Victorian poetry scene, catching up with the old. Loved the night-time poetry readings, the dinner, being part of the panel poetry chat with Andy Jackson, Nathan Curnow, Mike Ladd and then after that, Mike and I doing the reading, but there were so many good poems and lovely encounters PLUS I LOVE Castlemaine. Roll on 2017 festival!

Words in Winter ~ Trentham

By | Central Victoria, Inspiration, Poetry | No Comments

Words in Winter has been a bit of a favourite over the years for me but this year’s event had two added joys. I was commended in the inaugural Venie Holmgren environmental poetry award for my poem Hygrocybe at the Terang Market and, I was invited to read and speak at Trentham, one of my favourite places on this earth.

The topic is one I am most often invited to speak on: Variations on the idea of doing death better and as usual, I use my poetry to say some of what I want to say. A fantastic interested and engaged audience. I love it when there’s way too many questions for the time frame.

It was fun to meet some of the new faces around town and a delight to meet quite a few from my days of living in Central Victoria. So thanks to Karen McCrea and your team for your hospitality and interest and for Mary and Tom Walsh for further hospitality and sharing your wisdom and experience in this field. ¬†Br B’s Bookshop¬†was not there in my time but what a joy to discover it and sitting there waiting for a home was an Estonian novel by Sofi Oksanen¬†When the¬†Doves Disappeared.

Glimpses into the world of the SS ~ Anne M Carson

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After years of wanting to, I finally made it to Berlin, travelled south and then across through the Czech Republic and up into Poland. What I had learnt from history books, anecdotes and documentaries pertaining to Nazism and Stalinism became vividly horrific through these weeks. Conversely I became so much more aware of stories of defiance and resilience and courage. 

 But there were also stories of intrigue I discovered. I had been alerted to one of these from Anne Carson who has been working on a poetry collection based on the life of Himmler’s masseur, Dr Felix Kerstin.

¬†This weekend Anne’s work was¬†performed at Queen‚Äôs College, Melbourne University. This Radio National podcast hosted by Michael McKenzie is a fascinating intro into Anne‚Äôs superb poetic biography.