Launch of The mathematics of love by Sonia Hunt

It was a warm last day of summer .  Perfect for a garden party.  And perfect to celebrate the launch of Sonia’s first poetry book. I felt  privileged to  say a few words and to be the one to launch this gorgeous poetry book into  the ouvré of Sydney’s 2021 poetry scene. Below is the speech I read for the occassion.

The mathematics of love by Sonia Hunt. The garden party was held in the garden of Sonia and David’s daughter’s home in Killara. Lovely to gather with a group of interested friends for this celebration.





Speech for the Launch of The mathematics of love

Thank you David.  And thank you Phillipa and Simon, Josh and Chloe for welcoming us to your home.
And Sonia today is your day.  I am privilege to say a few words to welcome your poetry book, The mathematics of love, into the ouvré of Sydney’s  2021 poetry scene. 
Firstly the covers very smart  . .looks like a team effort !!  and the feel of the book is gorgeous . You must be so proud. Even your name snuck  in could be part of a mathematical solution.
Sonia has divided the book into 10 small sections with original Sonia pithy quotes to begin each section. My favourite was in the section called Gradient of Love  a very mystical set of poems  and Sonia heads it by the words

In the quiet creek the wattle grows wild in mystery 

another one in the section headed Circumstantial 

Grace was a veil on a tree

This leads to the last few chapters of deep mystical poetry.

Sonia also includes some notes on the poems on the last pages but the very last page in honourable placing is a photo of Cleopatra the cat strolling down the lane and this is inspired by Sonia’s  daughter Sarah who is living in Geneva..  So Sarah you can feel very much included here with us today.
What is most interesting about Sonia’s poetry is the irony with its humorous sometimes called ‘tongue in cheek’ touch  which has you reading and rereading with your inner being smiling to itself.  This is especially so in the first section of five poems under the title Berry Love

eg after a mathematical treatise on the flesh of a humble berry  where two voices are cleverly interwoven   and there is irony in both voices . . that  ‘controlled humour’ that plays thru these early poems.  As I read the poem those of you who know David will hear the second  voice and relate to the way Sonia has created his voice in the poem. 

Let me read Berry love  to you pg  14  

Some of you will hear the inspiration of other poets the touch of William Carlos Williams  and  in others TS Eliot’s flight of fancy  with the cats  that feature as characters in her poetry.   As you enjoy reading you will find Sonia’s poetry is quite eclectic but that ironic sense is never far from the surface. And the sensual as in 

An Orange for you  pg 19 

Then I told you
to close your eyes
as I slipped a sliver of orange
from my mouth into yours
and you moaned slightly.
in To my Coy Mistress where she writes,
in the persona of Cleopatra the cat  she has the philosophical-challenged Cleopatra lazing back in the sun as only cats can do, saying:‘I like to practice the quietest techniques espoused by Lao-Tau/ when relaxing on the garden bench. They enable me to doze in an aura of unconditional acceptance.  

and can you see Cleopatra saying:

“A box is a perfect place to meditate on the infinite absurdity of life:  its awkward symmetry, its compactness and its sober predictability creates a feeling of the hollowness of existence”    

What humour and satire is in play here.

This poem gives honour to the 17th century metaphysical poets and to Andrew Marvelle’s poem of the same name  and Sonia has a detailed explanation on page 88.  

So you have a very interesting read ahead of you. and with the fresh images and wonderful turn of phrase and  sensuality of words it will be a treat  for you to savour. 

I’d like to share a quirky tongue in cheek poem  with  you  

Read Package  pg 49

And a poem  dear to our hearts Man of Flowers dedicated to one of our great poets who has  passed..

Read Man of Flowers pg 47

Just to finish  a stanza from one of the Leura series that Phillipa will share  and which shows a beautiful joyful side of Sonia is Swinging in the rain . The notes at the back  of the book note this as a take on Gene Kelly’s song Singing in the Rain  as he tap-danced across our screens in the 1952 movie.  

And Sonia writes      pg 33 

slowly i begin to dance
with a song in my throat
and a leopard
just dancing and swinging
in the rain.

I have come to know Sonia over the past 10 years in our evening  poetry meetings  with our convenor Norm Neill  at the NSW Writers Centre, Rozelle and over coffee and her favourite Kettle chips where we read our poetry and critique each others writings. This takes a sense of trust and courage and binds us in friendship.

And today thanks to Stephen Matthews AOM at Ginninderra Press the publication of a new book is born

Sonia graduated through three careers. Firstly as a English/History teacher in schools both in England and Sydney, then moved to Teacher-librarian  and finally becoming a School Counsellor and Psychologist. She proudly related to me that thru the three professions she is proud of the fact that she worked with young people at all stages Kindy to Year 12.   as both teacher and school counsellor.

Well I feel she can now add a fourth sting to her bow . . that of poet  

with her first book of poetry mathematics of Love which iis my perfect segway to say 

The  mathematics of love by the poet Sonia Hunt  is well and truly launched..
It is time to celebrate the hard journey of writing .  Phillipa will share her thoughts and we can enjoy our friendship and the yummy spread Sonia and David  have presented for us to share  with a glass of bubbly . 


Les Wicks launches Margaret Caro by Pip Griffin


A very congenial  and rewarding afternoon was spent to launch Pip’s new book and celebrate  the  completion of the  journey of  writing this amazingly researched and interesting woman.

The renowned and award winning poet Les Wicks  had the amazing group of people listening to his words on writing and poetry and Pip’ s new book

Margaret Caro
the extraordinary life of a pioneering dentist
New Zealand 1848 – 1938
her story in verse

The group filled the very gracious historical  Leichhardt Town Hall and it was a  buzz of  chatter and catching up with writers, poets and friends.  I was excited to be part of the day as I felt I had supported Pip in the final birthing of the book with edits and encouragement  as she suports me with my writings.


A team effort Pip and her son John who created the cover and flyers for the launch . Such a gift and so beautifully done.


The president of the NSW Societry of Women Writers
Jan Conway joined us for the celebration.

Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey by Colleen Keating wins two prestigious awards


Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey has won two awards at the Society of Women Writers NSW Biennial  Book Awards at The State Library NSW on Wednesday 10th February 2020.

SWW Poetry Book Award 2020
SWW Non-fiction Book Award  2020

In the acceptance speech  Colleen Keating said:

This is for Hildegard. This is for women.  This is for those who have been silent, lost,  or suppressed down the ages  of 2000 years and more, of women who are being rediscovered to bring a balance back into the voice of history.

This is for our environment and our earth. Hildegard called  earth our Mother and reminds us to care for her as we would our mother. Our air, our rivers our soil,  our forests must be nurtured for they nourish us as a mother does.

This is for our well being. Hildegard reminds us that  nature and music are natural spirit given healers.  Hildegard has returned 900 years aftern her death and it is no accident she is speaking to people  in this 21st century at this time all over the world. We need her wisdom more than ever.

Thank to all for this awards. Thanks to the shortlisted poets and especially Pip as runner-up.  Jan Conway, President of the SWW  and the committee.

Special thanks to Stephen Matthews AOM and Ginninderra Press for affirming my work and beliveing in Hildegard and publishing my verse

My friend and supporter,  acclaimed poet, Pip Griffin renowned for her verse novel  –  the journey of a Chinese Buddhist nun ani lin,  was runner-up and highly commended  for the SWW Poetry Book Award for her evocative  poetic journey:

                    Margaret Caro
the extraordinary life of a pioneering dentist
        New Zealand 1848-1938

as the judge, highly acclaimed poet Margaret Bradstock wrote,

“Both Hildegard of Bingen and Margaret Caro are sustained narrative collections of poems celebrating the lives of strong, single-minded and deeply religious heroines, one an anchorite, visionary and ultimately abbess during the Middle Ages, the other a New Zealand dentist at the turn of the nineteenth century.
Through judicious poetic description the writers Colleen Keating and Pip Griffith respectively, are able to enliven their stories and engage the interest of the reader. Over several hundred pages of verse, this is no mean feat.  Griffin records her protagonist’s account in first-person stanzas, as a kind of poetic ventriloquy, allowing us entry to her thoughts and feelings, italicised conversation and quotations counterpointing this perspective. By contrast, Keating as poet tells Hildegard’s story, but interpolates the anchorites’s spoken words and unspoken musings in italics.”

Congratulations Pip .


Colleen Keating is Winner of two SWW Book Awards

Colleen Keating is Winner of two SWW  Book Awards

Colleen Keating is the winner of two awards. Her recently published Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey, has taken out two awards at The Society of Women Writers NSW Biennial Book Awards. This was held at the State Library of NSW on Wednesday 10th February 2021.

SWW Poetry Book Award  2020
SWW Non-fiction Book Award

The judge for the Poetry section, highly acclaimed poet  Margaret Bradstock  wrote:

‘Keating plays with language, uses nouns as verbs, creative imagistic parallels to enhance emotional states. Poetic descriptions such as ,

‘The Rhineland moon/ edges the icy road or dawn-crackle of ice . . .erratic shivers of the horses/with huff of dragon smoke ‘ ,

to quote just a couple, vividly evoke the scenarios the poet wishes us to experience. . . it was Keating’ employment of figurative language, of subtle metaphor that determined Hildegard of Bingen to be the winning title. ‘

The judge for the non-fiction section,  renowned writer and editor for reviews at Women’s Ink, Judith O’Connor wrote:

How wonderful and fitting that Colleen has chosen the poetic form. Her narrative and style never miss a beat – almost racy at times, bounding along with passion and action against a backdrop of the beauty of nature as seen through Hildegard’s eyes. Lines like,

‘Her body knows what she wants
… as honey birds know
the most succulent flower
and geese
instinctively migrate (p.51)

The book speaks with the voice of a writer truely inspired, immersed, seeped in the knowledge and spiritual understanding of this far-away woman who lived to a remarkable 82 years of age. Colleen takes us on the outer, physical journey of Hildegard’s life but also the rich and spiritual inner journey. Harsh at times but always compelling.”


Thank to all for this awards. Thanks to the shortlisted poets and especially Pip as runner-up.  Jan Conway, President of the SWW  and the committee.

Special thanks to Stephen Matthews AOM and Ginninderra Press for affirming my work and beliveing in Hildegard and publishing my verse


A moment of reflection with Hildegard



You are encircled

by the arms of the mystery

of the universe



Sydney Summer Festival January 2021

Hildegard being remembered and performed.


The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra celebrates the remarkable creative achievements of Hildegard von Bingen, the twelfth-century polymath whose life story and body of work continue to resonate through the ages.

Hildegard was a visionary and entrepreneurial German abbess who travelled widely as a linguist, mystic, scholar, naturalist, scientist, philosopher, poet and a composer. Nine centuries after her death, Universal Woman pays tribute to this iconic trailblazer with a moving and thought-provoking program curated by the orchestra’s celebrated artistic director, Paul Dyer.

The program also features a selection of Hildegard’s own songs and poems, narrated live by a prominent Australian actor.

A Sydney Festival exclusive, Universal Woman takes place inside the spine-tingling acoustics of St Mary’s Cathedral Crypt, with five performances led by singers from the Brandenburg Choir as well as the Brandenburg musicians on period instruments.

Runtime: 80 mins

Sydney Festival exclusive, Universal Woman takes place inside the spine-tingling acoustics of St Mary’s Cathedral Crypt, with five performances led by singers from the Brandenburg Choir as well as the Brandenburg musicians on period instruments. Find out more about Sydney Festival and Covid-19 planning.



Waitara Creek first ramble for 2021 and finding balance with nature


Waitara Creek at Normanhurst


New Year’s Day and a resolution to find more balance in life between nature and a writing  project at home. We set out on a pleasant warm drizzly sort of January day thanks to the La Niña pattern which is giving us respite from the dry, brittle, fiery heat of last summer.





Something beautiful is happening before our eyes a cycle which is a new year (January ) phenomena  – the eucalypts are shedding their bark –  the most spectacular, because of its blood red colour is the Sydney Red Gum, standing like a maiden with her elegant gown puddled at her feet .


The clean pink dimpled trunk has the cool alabaster feel of touching smooth curving skin.  One of theses three in the Wahroonga remnant of forest actually has a sign on it  ‘Hug Me‘. Hmmm here is the seed for a very sexy poem.

Angophora Costata or  Sydney Red Gum or Smooth-barked Apple  note the kino stains and careful observation you can imagine grey pink purple and muted tones of browns

The next is the Scribbly Gum  and there is the Narrow-leaved Scribbly Gum also stripping off its bark all the way to the ground

Sush an appropriate moment for us to experience this on the first few days of walking this same track after New Year.  It has become a moment of Contemplation  as we let go of 2020 with its anxities, fears,concerns, worries and  disappointments of missing  the children and grandchildren, missing holidays, having to adjust to celebrating milestones of our family life and my writers lifein new ways. Letting go to begin a new.

And having back my rambling partner and  friend to enjoy and share the beauty of nature with is the best Christmas and New Year gift of all. We have lots of adventures to share.

These past few days we have had some wonderful bird displays and we have been finding hidden gems of  wonderfully coloured fungi and all the stages of a fern in its growth to share.

Fare thee well 2020 Looking back looking forward

                                                  Looking back or looking forward

I just picked out a few dates from my journal to remember the year we leave behind . . .

25th March 

Everything is moving so quickly . It is unbelievable our world can change so quickly. I say our beautiful world of concerts and art galleries and libraries and all the enriching culture events and venues of our lives are closing .  But something in me feeling nature is exhausted and lashing out like a cornered scorpion with the sting of its tail. It is saying how else can i save the planet . . . here i bring you to your knees be afraid very afraid . . go home hide away  for nature shows us when we bring it to its knees it takes last resorts. 

Cruise ships are floating out at sea and governments don’t know how to handle them 

The cruise ship Ruby Princess is the symbol of the worst of them  Of course our dream cruise  feels like a nightmare now  and thank goodness it was not planned till late April. 

How quickly our writing has become Poetry from out my window or short walk around the block.


The inconceivable terror has arrived 

not in the form of a hurtling comet, 

not in the form of mutual nuclear annihilation

although that is still on the cards

it comes in the form of a microscopic bug

an invisible bot

it is impossible to see

like how one is unable to look at the sun

although it is shown for our imagination 

as fiery-red  spiring ball hurtling towards us 

covered in spikes that look like treacherous hooks

to catch us.

it needs us 

it cannot survive without us

it awaits on every surface

yet it is a whimp at the feel of soapy water

it dissipates like fairy floss at antibacterial whips

but thrives in us if it happens to get us.

and so we hide away

it is an unwelcome guest

it makes fear and panic go viral 

news fake and real spread 

before it around the world

faster than it can go itself

fear bursts out of its skin 

like the entrails of an giant red kangaroo

spewed on the road 

the vultures already there for the carrion 

guns sales shoot up 

panic buying


trust and faith a thin line on a far horizon 

we huddle away

bunker down

4th April

Then we woke to its new name Covid -19 

like one gets a nick name when you become on familiar terms 

yet this name didn’t make me feel any more friendly to it.

Looking for answers it is hard to find them 

when we can’t identify the questions

yet we grapple with one big questions 

how are we so powerless

before a microscopic bug 

how can something so small transport everything

we thought  important to being irrelevant 

 can transform the world in weeks.

Were we really not prepared for this. 

Was this really not beyond the realm of possibility 

we have been living 

as if everything bends around human will.

the economic markets revolve around us 

we believe it iw one directional progress 

we have been living as if we are immortal 


now we will have to learn to live the ways things really are

that we are deeply, profoundly vulnerable

that we live in constant interdependence 

and that all of the myths that we are caught  in 

that life is one directional 

that the markets revolve around us

and that there is always someone else to blame 

these myths are falling away as we write


Looking back or looking forward:  Our choice!

Our rabbits from Watership Down may be looking back to the destruction of their homeland or they may be looking forward to the image of a new homeland, a new potential, a new possibility, a new vision.

  Our rabbits have been travelling a challenging road of loss and pain and heartache which has intensified in recent months.  As those of us ‘on the road less travelled’ choose to come together in heart, mind and spirit, if not in ‘body’ and physical contact we are connected with our focus, commitment, dedication and taking spiritual responsibility for our role in the world.

The sky ahead promises unconditional love and promise of better times with more love, gratitude, forgiveness and a sense of oneness as we make our choices, to align with hope, promise and the creative power within every one of us to build a world of love, a world where we can rise above the anger, greed, resentment, bitterness, blame, shame, guilt and fear.

Love and blessings to us all we embrace and nurture ourselves, our visions and highest ideals, dispelling darkness and despair in our hearts and minds. This is Mother Earth is healing and so are we.


The year is coming to a close 

i have a whole dictionary of new words

some newly coined and some a hybrid of words .

It is a year that has changed us all .. A year of tragedy for many with to date 82 million people contacting the virus  19 and half million  USA alone with 330,000 who have died . It has shown up the inequality of our world . and sadly it is being manipulated to be a pink pandemic with women and the underprivileged most disadvantaged.  


Pressing forward is the resilience that Hildegard taught us . She was walled in as a young girl in an anchorage ,  she burst forth loving the garden and herbs and veriditas of nature. She was silenced from writing by Abbott Kuno and she found a way to get permission to write , then he silenced her from preaching, but she overcame that . She left the monastery leading 21 woman some not too sure  to begin her own Abbey with warnings she was forbidden to take her dowries  or have a priest for sacraments. She worked till those directives were changed . She completed her first theological treatise after ten years and built her Abbey on the Rhine gathering up to 100 women with their many gifts . She was invited to preach all along the Rhine.  Patriarchy  never gave up on trying  to silence her and once again they found a reason to do so on her disobedience for not exhuming a person she buried . She wrote and spoke and warned the men only the devil silences the musical sound whose harmony is heavenly and they quickly changed and exonerated  her. She won as a result of their fear of the wrath of God and  superstition .


  This year,

  Yes, even this year

   Has drawn to its close.



                                  Fare thee well 2020.









Democratic Poetics

A Gathering together of the finest.

Poems published in Poetry Matters from 2006 to 2019



A  final exciting achievement FOR 2020  is to have  five (5 ) poems chosen for the last Poetry Matters Journal . . .

The journal is called DEMOCRATIC POETIC  . POETRY MATTERS ISSUE 40 2020


escape with cezanne

seeing eyes

not narcissus




I like my reflection which introduces my poetry in the journal

Colleen Keating October 2020

Poetry in my life/ my life in poetry

On reflection, the love of expressing my self in words (in the early days with rhyme)  guided my way towards now, where I enjoy the pursuit of words to express my amazement with life.

My work explores the paradox and wonder of nature, the harsh realities of life, of inequality, injustice and increasing threats to our natural environment .

For me, poetry is vocational. I not so much choose it as my medium of expression as much as it chooses me. To guide my thoughts and the things I write, I prize awareness, mindfulness and an unperishing sense of wonder about the world. I read poetry and write every day.

And I am inspired by Lee Ann Womack’s words:
when you get the chance to sit it out or dance – dance.

Special thanks to Cheryl Howard for her dedication to our poetry and for her compliling this very valuable document of some great poetry. 


2020  has been the best of times and the worst of times for a writer here in Australia.

I add the proviso of  ‘in Australia ‘ for with this pandemic I would not like to be in any other country. Anxiety levels here in Australia are high enough without the death rate of the rest ot the world.

I say the worst of times because

many writers need motivation  and play off one another:

many writers work to the dead line of the critique group

many writers need imput from others

For some reason I found I could work on each day at my desk with out those stimului.

I say best of times because

my calendar and by 2020 year planner fell away by mid March.

That meant all my bookings to promote and sell Hildegard, my newly published  book cancelled so time was free and on my hands . With nowhere to go I headed to my desk.

I was fortunate to get the final research stay at Alice Springs and walk in Olive Pink’s footsteps and fly back to Sydney on one of the final normal planes to fly for months, which meant I could work on the finals parts of Olive Pink and send for consideration by the publisher.

No sooner were we home from the research in Alice Springs –  it was lockdown.

With free time and no writers’ meetings,

no groups, no committments, no visitors allowed

no launches

no U3A,

no SWW, no WWN

no time taken up driving to venues

I was free to continue my writing projects and begin on a new idea.


Firstly I was able to sort and collect an interesting anthology of my poetry which began as  a

book of sea  poems to be called Coastal Patterns but it got bigger and soon became titled

Beachcomber  not sure where it is going now!

I was able to co-edit a Picaro Poets with Pip Griffin which we called Mood Indigo  (actually it was completed before the pandemic but just wanted to add it here

Next  a Ginninderra Press Chap book with Decima  Wraxall  called Mists of Time and now a Picaro on my own – Brush of Birds

I had the motivation to send a few poems off to journals . Got lazy with Eureka when I didnt hear anything back after I sent poems which I thought were good.

And I have continued to be in each Eucalypt  with a tanka and this year  a haiku in Windfall.

I had two pieces of work in the Splish, Splash childrens work publ. SWW

I had the wonderful experience of having my poem translated into German and being part of the Hildegard pilgrimage. 

and this week had my Christmas poem chosen for a Podcast of Pastor Tara Eastman in Central New York on HOPE


5 Write Answers from Women’s Ink
















To read my poetry out loud and listen carefully for meaning and rhythm.

When I am stuck, I record it and play it back to myself. I know there are modern methods to do this on our iPhones these days, but I still have an old portable tape recorder on the shelf above my desk which I read into and listen back, checking out the lyrical bent.

I get so much insight from this process.

Colleen Keating is an award winning Sydney-based poet. She has four books of poetry including her latest poetry book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey, awarded the Silver Nautilus Award 2019 Better Books for a Better World USA.


It’s hard to pin down a best advice because I’ve had lots of good advice. But perhaps the earliest and most fundamental is good old Show Don’t Tell.

I can’t remember who or when I first came across that piece of advice, but it was certainly reinforced by Patricia Gaut when I was one of her Willoughby Writers. Since those early days, I have modified it a bit so that it’s: mostly show, and tell when you really need to.

Pippa Kay is a Sydney-based author whose most recent work Keeping it in the Family won the Society of Women Writers Fiction Book award in 2018. Pippa’s work has also appeared in multiple anthologies including On Murder 2, No Thanks or Regrets, and various Stringybark anthologies.


It was years ago when I was submitting poems to the late Les Murray, Literary Editor of Quadrant magazine and all my poems were getting rejected.

I said to Les, ‘I am not a poet, am I?’

He said, ‘You could be a poet, but you need a surprise at the end of each stanza.’

So that’s what I do now and it’s working.

My own advice to new writers is a quote from Ernest Hemingway: ‘The only kind of writing is rewriting.’

Libby Sommer is an award-winning Australian author of ‘My Year With Sammy’ 2015, ‘The Crystal Ballroom’ 2017, ‘The Usual Story’ 2018 and ‘Stories from Bondi’ 2019. ‘Lost In Cooper Park’ will be published by Ginninderra Press in late 2020. She is a regular contributor of stories and poems to Quadrant magazine.



It was delivered in a workshop at the SWW by the wonderful Australian author, Sue Woolfe.

In discussing the early stages of a writing project, Sue spoke of ‘The tragedy of knowing what you’re doing’. She explained that it is actually important, in terms of the way our brains work creatively, not to know. That ‘our unconscious mind is much smarter than we are,’ and that in a sense, we need to trust that our story knows what it’s doing, even if we are initially uncertain.

I’ve since heard this idea mirrored in various ways by other authors such as George Saunders and Elizabeth Gilbert and I love and believe in the magical element of the concept, though it’s easier said than done!

Melissa Bruce an award-winning writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Her debut novel, ‘Picnic at Mount Disappointment’ won the inaugural Woollahra Digital Literary Award for Fiction and was Highly Commended by the Society of Women Writers, NSW.


From Elizabeth Jolley, the importance of observing and jotting down the ‘quick note’.

From Stephanie Dowrick, allowing the creative mind to bring ideas to the surface, while your hands are engaged in doing routine chores.

From Patti Miller, the value of narrative withholding, where a writer withholds certain information from the reader in order to create mystery, suspense, tension, interest and dramatic irony.

From David Malouf, that ‘writing is about an enthusiastic rush; it is also about patience’. He is right. For a writer, patience is essential – patience when writing and patience when publishing.

Dr Sharon Rundle is an Editor of books and online Story Mosaics, who has taught writing for over 25 years at universities and institutions in Australia, India, and the UK. For the past 15 years, she has edited books by authors in Australia and the Indian Subcontinent.

Christmas poem Gardeners of Hope by Colleen Keating

Dear Colleen

Thank you so much for your contribution to the “Christmas Sweets Mix” Episode of Holy Shenanigans Podcast. This episode will go live on Tuesday, December 29th at 4 am EST. Please share the episode link (after 4 am EST) in your social media to help increase our audience. The direct link to this episode is:


Holy Shenanigans Podcast, can also be found on Itunes Podcasts, Spotify, and most Podcast Carriers.

Holy Shenanigans Instagram Account is found at: Shenanigans Podcast Facebook is found at:

The contributing poets, songwriters and artists that made this episode possible are:


Lorraine Savage – Church Member and sewer of all things beautiful from King of Kings Lutheran Church in Liverpool NY. Poem titled: “Dear Santa”


LeoWT  – a seminarian, hairdresser, and activist, but most importantly they are a Tejera. Leo, together with their partner, Elle Tejera, own #WTHAIR in Olean Ny. They have five children, four pets, and one passion in life, making the world a better place by loving the people in their lives.

You can contact him at: [email protected]  or Leo wolters Tejera on Facebook. Poem titled “Hope”


Colleen Keating – is an Australian poet, who enjoys the pursuit of words to express her amazement with life.

She has four award-winning books of poetry published, including the newly launched Poetic Journey with Hildegard of Bingen. All four, A Call to Listen, Fire on Water, Desert Patterns and Hildegard of Bingen are available as book or ebook version through the publisher Ginninderra Press in South Australia , Amazon, Goodreads, and other supply outlets. Poem titled “Gardeners of Hope”.


Marilyn Dyer – is a member Hope Lutheran in Troy (formerly St. Timothy’s) is the widow of Pastor Lee Dyer. You may know her from her role as Past President of Upstate NY Synod Women of the ELCA or for her “announcements” about World Hunger at Synod Assembly. Poem titled, “I Watched the Moonrise Christmas Eve”


Adrin Fisher – is a teacher from Fairmount, West Virginia. She is the recipient of the 2020 National Writing Project at WVU Writing Excellence Award and was awarded. Her writing medium of choice is non-fiction or flash fiction. Poem titled, “December”


Francisco Herrera – (he/him/mother) left a life in classical music (viola, orchestra conducting) to begin divinity studies at Chicago Theological Seminary, (MDiv 2012). Since beginning his PhD work at the Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) he has exercised his Christian agitation skills as a seminary instructor at LSTC and the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, co-founded the collective #decolonizeLutheranism. He has written for 1517 Media and Sojourners Magazine, and is currently knee-deep in preparing a dissertation on intersectionality and church planting. Polymath and scatterbrain that he is, Francisco pays his bills with, tweets at @PolyglotEvangel, would love to cook for you (just email him), and raises money in the name of Jesus. Francisco shares a recording of his composition “My Song (for baby)” The main singer in the recording, pastor Rev. Erin Coleman Branchaud of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Logan Square.


Nancy Liccione – poet from Syracuse and Staten Island NY shares her song lyrics for her composition of, “May my life thus be a song”.


Christine Valters Paintner – comes to us by way of Ireland. She is curator of and the author of two collections of poetry – The Wisdom of Wild Grace and Dreaming of Stones.

Thanks to audio technician and Holy Shenanigans Co- conspirator, Ian Eastman


Host and curator of the podcast is, yours truly, Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman – a creative, feminist and pastor.

Gratitude to artist Kellyn Baron who created the Artwork for this episode. Kellyn Baron, has a bachelor of arts from SUNY College at Brockport. She is a mixed media artist, who currently resides in Florida. To find Kellyn’s artwork, go to:



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Christmas beckons us to be the gardeners of hope, says Sydney poet Colleen Keating. 



Gardeners of Hope

When we are caught
in the world’s tumult,
when we see the edge
falling away from under us

in time of overwhelm
in this wrecked
and shimmering world
of ‘in between’ times

our hearts steel-capped with fear
our voices muted with apathy
with hope a dimmed song
with hope, a hazed horizon

we are called
to remember
Christmas in in the air
and it is in the tiny not the immense
will be the miracle
in the quiet waiting
in listening for the Word
with open hands

Christmas beckons us
to be the gardeners of hope
tending our earth,
nurturing our soil
with family, beauty, poetry.

We are called to plant the seed
be the ones waiting
with hands open
with hearts open
for the miracle to come.

Colleen Keating 



My name is Colleen Keating.  I am an Australian, Sydney-based poet.

I enjoy the pursuit of words to express my amazement with life.

My work explores the paradox and wonder of nature, the harsh realities of life, of inequality, injustice and increasing threat to our natural environment – as a well-known novelist once put it, I want to “name the unnameable, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep”.

For me, poetry is vocational. I not so much choose it as my medium of expression as much as it chooses me. To guide my thoughts and the things I write, I prize awareness, mindfulness and an unperishing sense of wonder about the world.

I have four award-winning books of poetry published, including the newly launched Poetic Journey with Hildegard of Bingen. All four, A Call to Listen, Fire on Water, Desert Patterns and Hildegard of Bingen are available as book or ebook version through the publisher Ginninderra Press in South Australia , Amazon, Goodreads, and other supply outlets.  I have co-edited the last two anthologies for the Women Writers Network from Writing NSW and have four co-written chapbook with Picaro Poets

Landscapes of the Heart with John Egan
Shared Footprints with Michael Keating
Mood Indigo with Pip Griffin
Mists of Time with Decima Wraxall



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