Vale John Egan poet, mentor and friend by Colleen Keating

9th July 1949 – 14th April 2023  Vale

Brenda Eldridge (Ginninderra Press)  wrote of John:

We were deeply shocked and saddened to hear the news that John Egan died on Friday 14 April 2023.

John was a stalwart of the Sydney poetry scene. He was a member of several poetry groups and during the Covid lockdowns he felt keenly the loss of being able to meet with fellow poets. He enjoyed their company and was inspired by their energy and enthusiasm.

He was a frequent contributor to The Mozzie, tamba, The Crow and other poetry journals.

John worked hard encouraging other poets to write and to get published. This is how we knew him. He came to Ginninderra Press just over ten years ago and became one of our most prolific poets.

Stephen published seven full-length poetry collections by John, the last of which (Drifting from the Bright) has not yet been officially released. As editor of our two chapbook series – Pocket Poets and Picaro Poets – I worked with John a great deal. I was astonished when I looked up our records and found that we had published over eighty chapbooks by him!

Included in that incredible body of work are ten chapbook anthologies he edited for the groups Poetry Alive and Harbourside Poets. He collaborated with other poets in seven chapbook collections – including three with me. I am proud to say that John chose twenty-five of my paintings or photographs for the covers of his books. That was something I hadn’t even dreamed of and I am still somewhat bedazzled by his support of my work.

Supporting others was one of the most admirable things about John. From those small joint anthologies, several poets have gone on to have chapbooks and full-length collections of their own. All it takes sometimes is someone to believe in you.

Through the hundreds of emails we exchanged over the years, John became a dear friend and confidant. All our lives are the richer for having known him and he will be sorely missed.

Thank you Brenda  for these words in honour of John.

My last chat with John  was on our Wednesday Poetry evening, the week before he got the flu. He was excited as he shuffled his pieces of paper from the afternoon group saying  “You know I have got 3 poems out of this afternoon.”   Three poems !  Isn’t that amazing a week before you die, you are excited about more poetry flowing.  I can say happily John died ‘with his boots on’ as the saying goes . Sadly I wrote on Saturday to tell him how he was missed at Decima’s Launch and to tell him how proud I was being on the same page of the Ginninderra Web site. with my new book.  Sadly he never read that email. 


The lighthouse throws warning beams,
sweeps the sea with its flashes
revolving like a constant planet,
pulses from a distant star
in galaxies of shipwreck dark.

Here is danger and death.
Keep well clear, keep safely on
the rolling sea where deep water
smooths your keel and you can flow
in the gentle arms of ocean.

I’m built on rock, I’m built
on the past. I do not move
as your ship moves in sheer innocence
that the sea will always protect
and nourish you. It deceives us all.

I’m here. You can rely on me.
I’ll guide you away
from ship-tearing reefs and rocks,
or clench my fingers of light
and gather you between

headlands, into river mouths,
to safe harbour here, the comfort
of quiet water that laps your hull
like a lullaby. I promise you, mariner,
captain, have faith, for you, I am the light.


The Dinner Party : Reclaiming women in history by Colleen Keating







Colleen Keating






Recorded history abandoned women and they abandoned history leaving it motherless and unbothered

This is part of the long journey to reclaim the feminine in our worldly story.
Then and only then might we turn this century around 


Poetry from The Dinner Party in Women’s Ink by Colleen Keating


Society of Women Writers put out a call for writings on Women & War Cries. I quickly realised several of the women in my up and coming new book The Dinner Party would fit that theme and hence I am proud to have a centre fold  of poetry  including two poems Artemisia Gentileschi  1593-1652 and Boadicea 61 BCE. It was special to have the first notable promotion for my new book. ARTEMISIA GENTIILESCHI begins:

In her hands
the brush swept the canvas
azure blue, old gold, crimmson red . . .

Poems from The Dinner Party: by Colleen Keating. Her new book to be published in Autumn 2023 by Ginninderra Press (Herstory: A poetic response to a universal dinner party restoring women to history.


The Dinner Party A poetic response by Colleen Keating

Exciting news . . I am thrilled and excited that my new book The Dinner Party  A poetic response is finally up on Ginninderra Press website and can be pre-ordered . . .to be released on May 1st . A long journey to birth this new book but finally I have the first copy in my hand. Grateful to so many people and thanks to Stephen Matthews OAM and Ginninderra Press and to Michael and many poet friends.


The Dinner Party by the talented poet Colleen Keating brings to light, through beautiful lyrical poetry, what for centuries has been ignored: the power and strength of women. Very little has been made known about the lives of influential women of the past, as women’s lived experience has been suppressed, even erased from history. In this collection, the poet resuscitates the experience of women from prehistory to women’s twentieth-century revolution. Her poetry traces the lives of women who demonstrated their influence, in every field including philosophy, medicine, writing, art, astronomy, suffragists and justice warriors who fought for recognition. Women who gave their lives, suffered, broke barriers, knocked down walls, smashed glass ceilings, pried open doors, who defied patriarchy in some way for all of us. Still today as women are written into history, the struggle for our reckoning towards equality and respect continues. A must-read book that honours women; women who would not be silent.’

– Dr Beatriz Copello

‘With impeccable research and deep empathy, Colleen Keating continues her powerful poetic contribution to feminist literature with the celebration of thirty-nine of the more than a thousand women forgotten, marginalised or written out of Western history. A remarkable and beautifully imagined work.’

– Pip Griffin

Newcastle Writers Festival 2023 : a treat by Colleen Keating

Newcastle Writers Festival.


The Space before the Stars:  Indira Naidoo in Conversation about finding space for her broken heart  in nature  and the urban landscape.

After her sister died during the pandemic she found on her normal walk a large 150 year old Morton Bay Fig  that she had passed so many times before spoke to her and saved her .



The Power of Art to heal  – the ongoing engagement with the struggle for justice

Damien Linnane, Kathleen Mc Phillip, Sarah-Jane Page,  and hosted by Suzanne Smith.

Judy Beveridge, Keri Glastonbury, Sarah Holland–Batt

and Juno Gemes at the remembering and celebrating Robert Adamsom event.


Onward:   Celebrating Robert Adamson. Readings by Judith Beveridege, Keri Glastonbury, Sarah Holland–Batt, Robbie Coburn, Mark Mordue with DC Cross and Juno Gemes – his final reading at Brett Whiteley Studio  launch of “Reaching Light’

Sarah Holland–Batt reading in honour of Robert Adamsom

Judy Beveridge reading in honour of Robert Adamsom



Juno Gemes                                                          The late Robert Adamsom

. This is the last  reading  at the launch of his book  Reaching Light. It was at  at the Brett Whitley Gallery and videoed by Juno Gemes and shared with us today.



Book launch  of two books 

1. Bobish by Magdalena Ball  a poignant poetry memoir of her great grandmother and her escape from the programs of Eastern Europe


Willo Drummond in  Moon Wrasse, engages with gender transition from the perspective of a life partner – and disenfranchised grief.

April: Month of mists and mellow fruitfulness and the sunrise

April 1st  2023

Gazing out at the horizon
which today looked like soft hills
we waited

the sunrise was late 
it had a mountain to climb 
one of cloud  
gentle rolling 
and peaking at the point of sunrise.

More people were out 
standing,   watching
surfing  paddle boarding 
there were fishermen, walkers, some sitting
plovers, pelicans, seagulls, and a heron 
watching,  waiting  
yet as we say 
the light shall overcome
the new sun did not disappoint.

It clambered up
shimmered gold 
along the rim of clouds
and then burst into the world.

April the month of  
of mists and mellow fruitfulness
had arrived