Society of Women Writers NSW and Poetry by Colleen Keating

The Society of Women Writers enjoyed a festive dayl face to face
(for the first time for months as the meetings have been held by zoom)
A fun workshop on humour in our writing.
Two great speakers  including poet and close friend Pip Griffin giving the authors talk as she told us of the three latest publications which I have spoken of before in more detail.


and then 5 poets
including me enterained the group.

Below is  the well known poet and Haikuist, Beverley George and I dressed ready ready for our performance
which was a poem about a catch up of two friends reminiscing about by gone days. It was written by Beverley a few years back and won a FAW award.  We generated  plenty of laughter what we needed today.

Below is a collage of our Christmas celebration. from the Society’s website.


 Two of my poems read  as part of the performance. 

taking wings

if ever there were a summer day so perfect

so romantic under its mild autumn sun

constantly making love to the trees and flowers 

that it made you wish to tear at your shackles

rip off your yoke

feel exposed to its sharp pinion

and to give yourself over to brash colour

without an iota of worry

a day that made you pack a sandwich

and with a bottle of water to set out 

to walk quiet ways catching the song 

of tiny birds brimming in wild blackberry brambles 

and for a moment feel your heart sing

with even a quaver of gratitude

well today is just that kind of day 

from Fire on Water  by Colleen Keating pg.107



Maybe it is the light

that illuminates jars

of coloured minerals, powders. 

Maybe the smell of curing skin, 

or sharp tang of vinegar.

It could be the plaited basket 

of moss and flower, blue woad dye 

or sharp smell of ink 

pestled down from bald-oak.

Maybe the sight of scrolls 

rolled into alcoves 

or shelved parchments,

or the elaborate books of saints

behind the monk Volmar,

enshrined on the cumdach.

Perhaps it’s the copy of Ptolemy’s Astronomy,

or the manuscripts

Volmar points out,

from all over the Christian and Arab world. 

Maybe just crossing the threshold

when Hildegard steps through the door,

inhales the air

and feels immediately at home

in a world that sharpens curiosity.

Hildegard knows,

she has found her calling.

She wants to be a maker of books. 

from Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey

Just for fun this is a photo of Beverley and me . It was taken at our performance of the same poem at the retreat a few years back.


Cultivating Curiousity by Colleen Keating.

“Glance at the sun. See the moon and the stars. Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings. Now, think. What delight God gives to humankind with all these things . All nature is at the disposal of humankind.  We are to work with it.For without we cannot survive.” – Hildegard of Bingen

I love this quotation by Eleanor Roosevelt: 

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” 

Curiosity is the precursor to scientific breakthroughs, to all great literature and art. Albert Einstein said, 

“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” 

He also said, “Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”

That’s exactly what Hildegard possessed–a holy curiosity. She must have jumped out of bed every morning, eager to discover something new. She walked the earth with the fervent belief that God placed everything here for our discovery and enjoyment. In her science book Causae et Curae, Hildegard writes about topics as varied as medicine, human sexuality, astronomy, and theology. Her science wasn’t always spot on. “There are also the five planets….And as a human’s five senses hold the body together, so too these five planets hold the sun together and are its ornament” (Causae et Curae page 29, as translated by Margaret Berger). 

But the breadth and depth of her investigations into the world around her were truly staggering for a 12th century nun.

I’m sure if she were here today, Hildegard would tell you that curiosity, just like her 35 virtues, could be cultivated and enhanced with a little effort on our part. 

Sarah’s suggestions in her daily Living Hildegard blog are

Explore an old path and look at it with fresh eyes. Read a magazine you wouldn’t normally pick up. Learn something new. Make a new friend. Travel to a different place. Take a class. Pick up a new language or a musical instrument–proven ways to keep your brain sharp into old age. 

Hildegard may be the first and best example of a commitment to lifelong learning coupled with the courage to branch out into the unknown. 

It’s good for your heart, health and brain to step outside your comfort zone and explore something new.


Thank you to  the brilliant blogs Healthy Hildegard  and   the daily blog Living Hildegard with Sarah Rhiem

Explore an old path and look at it with fresh eyes.

Curiosity on our local walk today

The play of light on the Red Gum with the peeling of bark stoped me in my tracks.

Michael  enjoying the calm greeness of the stand of Red woods

The ferns in the forest today were very active. I love the way this koru has unfolded and now all the secondary korus are unfolding.  I have caught it in a moment of time.

Curiosity:  Here we were amazed at the uncurling stage of the new fronds. I don’t think this photo does it justice but up close for Michael and I we were full of wonder at the unfurling of creation.


Wet and dry reflections.Beneath my feet. The ferns reflected.  It takes a moment for your eyes to see the play of light and silhouette.


What an amazing fungus. And the blood red colours of the trunk and play of light caught our attention for ages.
So lovely to be in our Cathedral of light and peace with the music of the tinkling creek backgrounded by bird song.

Reflections along the creek. We enjoyed the tinkling and bubbling sound of running water too.

Our monarch butterfly  danced for us a graceful beauitful performance.

Back home we were  still full of wonder and gratitude for a refreshing and healing walk. Our curiosity sated for today.

Walking two worlds by Colleen Keating

“Walk as if we are kissing the earth with our feet” exhorts Thich Nhat Hanh 

A summer storm blew up just when I was about to take a walk and I waited an hour. Little did I know in some parts of Sydney trees were downed and much damage had been done . 

However It added to an interesting walk as the bush had experienced a wild storm. There was still a wail of wind in the upper echelons of trees.  The forest world had been disturbed  

Leaves were blown wild and ripped twigs and brambles scattered the ground. Bark from the many eucalypts stripped fallen like a garment discarded forcefully. 

The light played through thunderers grey cloud with a sudden dazzle of breakthrough, lighting up small pockets of bush and then crowding over. It was an eerie feeling. 

Yet the movement of walking slowly, brought back the rhythm of my mind in step with nature.  Washed clean by the storm there was a new green and the sparks of rare sunlight threw another dimension onto the scene.

The forest floor was alive –  the small world under my feet, writhing beyond sight, but the aroma was strong with roots, mycelia, decomposers, bacteria, protozoa, worms, grubs, beetles beyond counting, beyond knowing . . .   the living and the dead brushing together to create their own symphony of sound and activity.  

The small steps in evolution going on right before my eyes,
its own miracle.  And the constant reminder we are not needed here. 

Coloured algae rooting into the sandstone, fungi at work,  soft moss and lichen covering the rocks in this rainy weather . maybe they will receed into grooves, nooks and crannies in the dry.  Small ferns, bracken ferns breaking up the rock for soil for the tree ferns,  palms, trees, and towering eucalypt  – the evolving world of plants.  All here for the ,  curious to observe the whole evolutionary plan before us.


it seems to me modern life is happening faster than the speed of thought, thoughtfulness. there is no time to ponder an event before the next one comes tumbling in and like an ocean wave  drops it new story. So it is good to walk in kairos time rather than the every day khronological time.. . .well just for awhile. 

As i came across a quiet corner the light briefly broke thru the clouds . i felt dizzy.

I found myself in two worlds. I was present here in the echoes of coolness but sensed a whole world around me 

 I had a foot in two worlds . . . there was chatter, laughing, mourning birthing.  I realised this was an ancient popular indigenous place. I am prone to being in two worlds . Once arriving at Schofields to celebrate a new school opening, as I got out of the car and put my foot down onto the ground I was part of a massacre the thudding of the ground, the cries, the moans .The memory  has never gone away. It made me quite sick as no massacre had been acknowledged there, at the time. I believe acknowledgement is better now. 

Happier crossovers have been at Terramungamine Common where we camped many times outside Dubbo on the  Macquarie river bank. Sitting there around a fire once I was aware of stamping, dusty feet and knew on another level we were not the first here and not alone. These were ponderous activities to be mingled with. And another in the bush at Marg’s old place . I found I was in a bora ring . It was happy too and was a good reminder of our ancestors before us. And of course at Myall Creek I smelt the burnt flesh once but at least I knew this was a documented event.  

Not sure how I rambled onto this experience . The  sense of two worlds was gone as quickly as it came and the heavy clouds dulled the forest world into an ominous and enchanting place to be. 

A tiny bunny rabbit peeked up at me and then ran as fast was his little legs would go  and I called after it .  . . You stay well hidden or we will have signs up saying baits are set here . like in other places. 

I disturbed a brush turkey courtship ,. . .the female waiting below and the male preparing the nest for the next stage. I sneaked past and apologised for the disturbance. 

 I knew I was well off the normal track as I was wandering to see if there was an easier way to get Michael to the hugging tree . (didn’t find it)

The forest holds such wonder and by going slowly to savour it I find much to be grateful for. 

The intricate patterns of trees, the colours on rocks the pools and the circles I made by dropping in a pebble.


Having this time to stop and absorb my surroundings is a luxury I am grateful for. 

It is my air pocket, my lifeline  needed in the busy city of life with the crowed world of demands. 


Society of Women Writers, Christmas meeting

At our recent Society of Women Writers meeting, at the State Library of NSW fellow writer,poet and friend,  Pip Griffin inspired our gathering with her 3  recently published books.  Climbing Back by Pip Griffin and published by Ginninderra Press  was a highlight .  

Pip told us the  story of its development, and read four short evocative poems of grief, and renewal
Her work very much reminding me of Emily Dickenson’s  sensibility.

Her award-winning book Margaret Caro, the exraordinary life of a pioneering dentist  was 
displayed as available and Pip read a poem from it to whet our appetite to read more.

Thirdly her poetic book Secret Diaries :an imagined correspondence between Virginia Woofe and the New Zealnad short story writer Katherine Mansfield. As I wrote for the back cover ,

Every life is braided with luminous moments”  John O’Donohue

For those intrigued over the decades about Virginia and Katherine, Pip Griffin turns to their writings, essays, short stories, diaries and personal letters to detail a sense of what constitutes  their intertwining ‘luminous moments’   Pip gives us a window into this intimate and tragic friendship, and with poetic writing full of erotic intrigue captures a sense of provocative possibilities leaving us still with the mystery of their communion to contemplate.  Pip’s poetry at its best.

Colleen Keating

As Pip spoke from the podium I felt very happy. for  . . . . .

we are back. A resplendent  Society of Women Writers meeting.  A welcome-back and farewell to our  year with an enthusiastic group .

The day actually  began with a workshop: Writing with Humour. convened by  Carolyn Eldridge– Alfonzetti A great workshop as it was a gentle way to begin again, humour is important to every genre and  we got a lot of laughter as we got prompts to remember funny stories.

Our poetry reading were fun with some wonderful performances and finally playwright Donna Abela shared her writing journey at the Royal Commission on Institutional Abuse of children – while it is shocking it also shows how writing can transform this into powerful advocacy for children.




Book Launch of Strands and Ripples, a poetry anthology by David Atkinson

It was an honour to be asked by David to launch his new collection of poetry, Strands and Ripples published by Ginninderra Press.  An excited group of poets, writers, readers, family  and friends  gathered in the Harbourview restaurent of the Golf Club at Northbridge with stunning view of a very blue harbour as the name suggested.   With enthusiasm for our first  gathering and launch  since lockdown and as it was  third time lucky (the launch having been postponed already twice  . . .  it made for an exciting event.
with the toasting of some bubbley to our writing in 2022 and a delicious afternoon tea.
‘In this, his second collection, David Atkinson continues his themes of memory, especially of growing up on a farm in southern NSW, and the natural world, including the wildlife and people that surrounded him then and do so now. In this collection David’s scope is also wider as he extends our perspectives on the human condition. His poems are sharp in their imagery and dramatic in their language. His forms range from the traditional to the stunning use of free verse. This book is highly recommended.’ – John Egan
‘David Atkinson enables us to see things in a new light. Every theme in this collection of poetry challenges us to let him show us aspects of life from a fresh perspective. Widely published in literary journals nationally and internationally, David’s poetry always repays a careful reading. It is with enthusiasm that I welcome this new collection.’
– Colleen Keating
‘David Atkinson’s latest collection is a cornucopia of the poetic spectrum; it confirms that he is one of Australia’s finest poets. David brings a deft touch to the human condition, celebrates the wonders of nature and takes a fresh look at memories. This is a worthwhile addition to any bookshelf.’ – Decima Wraxall
His poems have been published widely in Australia, the USA and the UK. David’s previous collection, The Ablation of Time, was published, also by Ginninderra Press, in 2018. He is a poet of memory, the human condition and the natural world.
978 1 76109 108 7, 120pp








Strands and Ripples by David Atkinson and published by Ginninderra Press

is launched by Colleen Keating

at Harbourvie Restaurent, Golf Club Northbridge.

It is a privilege for me to be asked by David to launch his new collection of poetry,  Strands and Ripples and we acknowledge Ginninderra Press for this exceptional  publication. The cover is very smart and the feel of the book is gorgeous. You must be proud David. And we are delighted for you. 

David is a fellow poet and friend. There are many here who know him in different ways; his family,

those part of his past working life and now his writing life. I know David in that capacity . . .working with him in groups, workshops and the U3A poetry appreciation group. 

David is a nationally and internationally published poet, many of his individual poems being published in 1journals over these past years and as a poet has won awards and commendations. I know he will be a bit shy in me saying this but in the past three months of this year 2021,  David has won two first place prizes in poetry. Firstly he has been awarded first place in the prestigious Western Australian Ros Spencer Competition for a wonderfully evocative and very Australian poem called Gang-gang and for a very poignant sonnet a well deserved  first place in the 2021 Scribes Writers awards  . . and that for two successive years. with a Commendation in the Ros Spencer Poetry Prize last year. and a highly prized  2nd place in the Tom Collins National Poetry Competition 2019 . . . And for those who were not aware earlier this year the exciting news that David was shortlisted and commended in the recent WB Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia. David this is a very notable achievement.  It is very affirming for us as writers to be honoured for the many hours we put into our creative pursuit  and we can take this opportunity to congratulate you on this coveted award.  

That poem surely will be the stimulus for the next book. 

 Thanks everyone .

We are in for a wonderful afternoon of  poetry about  memory, music , birds  even being shuffled and shackled by crowds at The Hermitage in St. Petersburg and much more. Michael and I loved the Russian tourist poems because we experienced the same  . . .  David . . .  I didn’t even see the black corner of the Rembrandt – being only 5 foot something and being shuffled along by the crowd.

WB Yeats writes of music and birds and some of you  may know his poem, The Second Coming. It begins:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

I specifically quoted Yeats because I feel  there is an empathy with him in David’s work. Of course Yeats lived in Ireland but he is often spoken of as a musical poet, with many of his poems now put to music and David is an Australian poet  who writes of music and birds and now is  commended in the WB Yeats award.  

 What I acclaim about David poems is how he seeks out his memory in music, the lyric  via the immediate, the local,  and turns it about like the falcon turning and widens it with a philosophical slant.  This idea is shown in the opening poem:

Birthday Ballot it begins with listening to the lyrics of a  Cold Chisel song,  with restless youth and it widens leaving the reader in a deep thoughtful moment:

‘Staring into the dappled darkness 

I touch the pain of a generation’

Many of us here are of that generation.  I had to pause after that poem. Take a breath in and a deep sigh out. . . That’s what a good poem does to us. Like music it taps in below the belt so to speak, stirs for a reaction and stays with us.

This insistent chord continues  with the prompts to the Rolling Stones  who ‘still can’t get no satisfaction’, the Beatle George Harrison in Weeping Guitar a gorgeous poem, and another, The Curve of her Shoulder where the poet looking back on teenage love widening out to the older, wiser poet reminiscing the lines from MacArthur Park and  lamenting ‘I’ll never have that recipe again.’

The touch of  beauty in sound continues  with many moments of outstanding poetry. The Camber of the Canter, a title I love, begins with a distant memory, coming to a climax with:

Every horse has an instinct for the way home.

You are in sight of the homestead 

when a shimmering blanket of sulphur-crested

cockatoos ripple from the oat stubble

I love these lines. Can you hear the ripple from the oat stubble?

 and here is another 

Grasshopper sizzle on the grill of summer.

A cross-cut saw of cockatoos

skates across the dawn : 

a billow of birds embroiders

the eastern sky


Bird of prey, blanched patchwork

on burnished bronze wings, 

soars on thermal air currents. 

Eerie call drifts on the up draught. 

Michael and I are there with you gazing in awe from our trip to the far north with the Fire birds and birds of prey 

David takes us there. 

To complement this I would like to read a poem,  The Flash of Indelible Pink’ page 41  David begins with a quote from a poem called Sentenced to Life  by Clive James, The Flash of Indelible Pink is on page 41  for those with a book.

We are told not to dwell in the past that’s not where we are going, but there is a wise saying, I couldn’t find the quote, but my memory says,  

‘By knowing the past you can understand the present which will inform your future.’   David takes short glances over his shoulder to the past and  he does this without sentimentality  and each time expands the memory to the present   An exquisite example of this is his poem The Scents of Memory:  With it’s smells and sounds it begins,

To recollect that day fifty years ago, a new year

of boarding school, recall the February train trip

the early morning farewell from the farm, 

fragrance of lavender Yardley,

of sleepy dressing gown  . . 

I will leave it to you to enjoy this poem as it shifts through the rear-vision mirror of the years. 

Another memory poem is Clotted Clag.

Who of us do not remember doing a school project on the piece of cardboard ?:

With care I place the pictures of Hereford cattle

extracted from a magazine located in the pile

I daub the images with homemade glue; . . . .and  later continues . . .

Visceral aroma, fingers immersed

in the innocence, of clotted  clag 

of childhood.

David shows his skills in crafting poetry  – sonnets, odes and villanelles which you will delight in. A villanelle is difficult to write and to sustain.  I will read one not only a villanelle but an eco-villanelle which pulls its punch by getting an environmental thought emphasised at a slant. 

Simply called Eco-Villanelle  it is on page 42 

Another quality I admire in David’s approach to poetry is his ability to take something and contrast both sides eg in his poem The Polarity of Mosquito the young work-experience student keen to do the research and suddenly finds nothing is black and white  . . . there are two sides to  everything.

David’s early years lived in the country, enriches and informs his poetry 

as he grapples with the life and death events  . . killing what has to be killed, the beauty and the terror of life and its paradox. The problem of Privet,  in his  clever metaphoric poem Standover Tactics, the flawed perfection of Pattersons Curse with its banquet for bees and its lethal damage for hungry cattle.  I admire how he grapples with the paradox . . . finding the balance in life and death, in decisions, in environment . David will later read to you  a poem where that frail balance of nature is always  present. 

And  I love his light hearted poems. One of these is Ode to a Straw Hat . . .

personifying his summer hat that sits patiently all winter at the rear window of the car. David takes us on a journey of the cycle of time and the seasons and it is his straw hat entertaining us. 

To finish I’d like to read, Soldered Strands on page 79  another of his juxtaposition of life poems

Let’s  today celebrate the hard journey of writing. Please join with me in congratulating David  as we together launch and welcome his new poetry book Strands and Ripples.  


Colleen Keating

Colleen Keating is the author of five books of poetry  including the award winning verse novel Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey.  Her most recent verse novel Olive Muriel Pink; her radical & idealistic life, has received a first very insightful review and has been highly acclaimed.  Her sixth collection,  Beachcomber will be published in early 2022.

She also has five chap books with Picaro Poets and  has co-edited two anthologies for the Women Writers Network, Rozelle.

For details on how to buy a copy of Strands and Ripples go to /our books

Christmas catch-up of Women Writers Network Rozelle



Under the Magnolia Tree

Writing NSW Rozelle

It was heartening to have such a great group  of women turn up for our Christmas celebration.

.It was lovely to be face to face rather then  zooms  and emails.

We toasted to a Happy Christmas, further exciting writing plans and  fruitful writing  in 2022

We are blessed to have the gracious surrounds and grounds of Rozelle to meet. However for most of the year the Writers Centre has been closed due to Covid .

This has not stopped us  meeting for  our traditional Christmas luncheon under the Magnolia Tree. 

There was  great sharing  of the writing some of us are about. We had a scene from a new play being written, short fiction, poetry, all giving hope to  a very creative  2022 .


Compulsive Reader: Review of Olive Muriel Pink

Review of Olive Muriel Pink:

Her radical & idealistic life

A poetic journy

Colleen Keating

Ginninderra Press 

3rd September 2021 ISBN: 9781761091599, 320 pages, paperback, $40

by Beatriz Copello

I do not think there is a better way to honour a woman of the calibre of Olive Muriel Pink than to write a book of poetry about her life.  Colleen Keating has done just that, she has written a poetic journey about this unsung Australian heroine. 

With a sharp eye and lyric touch, the world of Olive Pink becomes alive, it is a passionate story told with knowledge. It is evident that the poet has invested years researching the life of Olive Pink. The poet says: “I have been researching, writing and thinking about Olive Pink for over a decade now.  The discoveries that come along the way – the portraits unveiled – are very stirring.”  

This collection covers many years in the life of Pink, it starts in 1884 and finishes in 1975. The book also has a foreword, a prologue and a chronology as well as notes and bibliography. The labour of love that went into writing this book would grant the author a doctorate.

The author in Notes explains that she aimed to write a book that fell between an accurate scholarly presentation of Olive Pink’s life and her own personal interpretation of it.

Olive Pink was a fighter for justice who advocated for the rights of First Nations People, she was also an anthropologist, artist and gardener. Keating from the first poem in the book alerts the readers about what they will encounter throughout the pages, in this excerpt from “Olive the pioneer” she writes:

Who is Olive?
She defied the silence
caused discomfort
annoyed the authorities.
Her letters shouted from the edge.
She heard budgerigar dreaming
and drummed to a different tune.
She pushed against the colonial tide.
If the answer is ‘eccentric’
in her death she will be twice dismissed. 

Who is Olive? History asks.
She broke the silence
her voice for the voiceless 
remembered the forgetting.
She visioned justice in the courts.
Her feet knew country.
She carried red dust
under the fingernails of her heart.
She listened to elders, learnt language
wrote down stories, sketched arid plants
medicinal, nutritional, ritual.
If the answer is ‘anthropologist’
in her death she will be twice honoured. 

If Keating wrote music, I would say she does not miss a beat, when she raises issues about Olive’s past, she does it with conviction and poignant comments, like in the following excerpt from “A new lodestone”:

The grim spectre of injustice
towards Aboriginal tribe
taunts Olive out of her grief
jolts her from self pity.
Like a silk petticoat pulled over her hair
the air is static in its darkness.
It bleeds through a colander of whitewash words

  • progress jobs, growth.

Its handprint blood-red.

The poet also utilizes very vivid imagery, the readers become Olive, we can see, smell, hear what she experiences.  Keating appeals to the senses, the following poem “Restless” illustrates this: 

In her dingy office Olive yearns
for the vast open country, large skies,
hazy horizons, a slung kettle hissing
and spitting its leak over the fire.
Burnt flesh and sizzle
of goanna still fill her nostrils.
Olive walks country in her sleep –
the pungent smell of camels
sweaty bodies, blazoned glare, flies
dust-blown storms.
That red dust under
the colour of her heart
and patter of Pitjantjatjara children
still running giggling beside her
lingers like the balm of an Indian summer.  

The poet has the skill to write about Olive’s powerful emotions without sentimentality or corniness, through these strong emotions readers can form a picture in their mind of Olive’s personality. The following excerpt from the poem titled “Heady days” is a good example of the Keating’s ability:

Olive is energised by academia.
The scissor-cut horizon
of her desert experience
challenges like a mirage.
She seizes every chance to argue,
‘The root cause is not malnutrition or disease –
They camouflage facts, treat the wrong symptoms.’
Heated discussion rises.
Angrily she fights for breath.
‘Even the most ignorant know the problems –
White man’s aggression, sexual abuse
fear, venereal disease, land dispossession.
We like to deride these facts.’
She flushes, her neck prickles as she continuous,
‘Full-bloods need their own protected country
not mission reserves.’
Her tone is strident.
‘Daily handouts from stations
Keep them tied to white man power.’

Olive Pink struggled all her life to be able to do what men were able to do, in the following poem “High Hopes” Keating captures this desire but also very cleverly imagines her mood in such a difficult situation.

Over dinner her enthusiasm bubbles.
‘After my thesis I plan
a full year of research among the Arrernte’
she confidently tells the Professor
and others grouped around the table.
‘I would like to be included
in your next museum expedition.
It will reduce my research expenses 
and my anthropology will enhance the group.’
Unease around the room
as lightening awaits a clap of thunder.
Awkward shifts and exchanged glances
the embarrassed clearing of throats.
From her left in a deep tone,
‘That would not be possible …
‘But you took Ted Strehlow on your trip last year!’
‘… for a woman,’ mumbles the professor.
Exposed, Olive’s heart races.
She hopes they don’t notice the burn
of her cheeks.
She avoids eye contact
gazes out as one with miles to go
restless to be on her way.
She needs desert air.
‘Why does gender cause such heart break?’
she broods into the night.
‘Why wasn’t I born a man.”

I would like to congratulate Colleen Keating not only for writing this incredible book but also for honouring a woman from the past which like many other Australian heroines are often forgotten or not given credit for their achievements. Reading about Olive Muriel Pink will inspire you and give you strength to struggle to achieve your aims.

About the Reviewer: Dr Beatriz Copello is a former member of NSW Writers Centre Management Committee, she writes poetry, reviews, fiction and plays. The author’s poetry books are: Women Souls and Shadows, Meditations At the Edge of a Dream, Flowering Roots, Under the Gums Long Shade, and Lo Irrevocable del Halcon (In Spanish).  Beatriz’s poetry has been published in literary journals such as Southerly and Australian Women’s Book Review and in many feminist publications.  She has read her poetry at events organised by the Sydney Writers Festival, the NSW Writers Centre, the Multicultural Arts Alliance, Refugee Week Committee, Humboldt University (USA), Ubud (Bali) Writers Festival.



Eucalypt Tanka Journal Issue 31 ed. Julie Thorndyke

Eucalypt Tanka Journal

 Issue 31

Amongst the bills, real estate adds, junk mail, other vague advertising letters
it was like a bright star in a dark sky to find the latest edition of Eucalypt Issue 31
beautifully edited and placement done with loving care by Julie Thorndyke. I dropped everything and the afternoon wiled away with a coffee enjoying the tanka and the world came wildly alive with my mind listening, observing, all senses stirred.

Eucalypt is the first Australian journal devoted to the ancient Japanese poetry genre
called tanka and I feel so proud to be included in Eucalypt Issue 31
with all the amazing Tanka writers.

I love my ladybug tanka. It is filled with colour, climate change,
endangered animals, picnis , sharing with grandchildren and nature

a ladybug

lands on our picnic blanket

blackdots on red

my grandson exclaims

I didn’t know they were real

My ladybug tanka speaks of climate change where our bugs and beetles
and especially the colourful Christmas beetles are disappearing.
Disappearance of vegetation, change in food chain etc the cause
. and how our children and our grandchildren are being deprived
of this natural beauty.

Secondly it speaks of sharing natures moments with the grandchildren
being out in the nature of the Blue Mountains lying on a picnic rug
and getting the opportunity of sharing  something which is becoming rare.

Thank you Julie Thorndyke for your dedication to writing, poetry, and tanka.


Class Act: The Wednesday Night Poets by Colleen Keating


Class Act

The Wednesday Night Poets

A first gathering after lockdown. We came together  in the very peaceful garden of Antonia and David  to launch our wonderful Anthology, Class Act .

Congratulations  to all the members of Norm’s Wednesday Night poets
for having their poetry published in our new anthology.  I feel very proud to have five of my best edited poems for 2021 published in Class Act

Our convenor Norm Neill launched the Anthology  and we all came together to celebrate. It felt  like a ticket of freedom as if something had been dropped from our shoulders talking freely, face to face once again. 

A big thank you to Antonia and David for their hospitality and for their hard work in  bringing this gem to fruition. 

An on-going thank you to Norm for his support and imput. Our group is a very supportive poetry editing group where we feel safe and affirmed in our sharing.