Fire on Water: Highly Commended in SWW Awards 2018

IMG_1328

IMG_8516

 

The SWW  Book Awards were announced in the Historic State Library at a packed Literary Luncheon on Wednesday.

I am thrilled to announce Fire on Water has won the Highly Commended Award in the Society of Women Writers Biennial Poetry Award  2018.   Thank you to the SWW of NSW Inc. for running this Competition . It is very affirming to be acknowledged and i felt very proud to be standing on the podium with a group of talented poets and writers. Congratulations especially to Susan Fealty for her book Flute of Milk that was the 2018 Winner and to the other runners up, my friend Beverley George for her Tanka collection Only in Silence  and Kathryn Fry for Green Point Bearings. 

Thanks to the  acclaimed  poetry and children’s author Judge Libby Hathorn, and especially thank-you to Stephen Matthews and Ginninderra Press,  who must be very affirmed by Ginninderra’s achievements in this Competition.  Thanks to Family and friends who have wished me the best for Fire on Water and all who are buying this well Awarded book through Ginninderra  Press.

 

 

IMG_8523

 

 

 

 

IMG_8522

 

  

25507933_2008217289395890_4967835906970635411_n

 

 

FIRE ON WATER -Short -listed for prestigious SWW Award

IMG_1328

Fire on Water has been short-listed for the prestigious

Society Of Women Writers Poetry Book Award 2018

So exciting to receive the letter below,

logo

The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc.Established 1925     Incorporated  1987

 Affiliated with the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, London

 GPO Box 1388   SYDNEY  NSW 2001

www.womenwritersnsw.org

Colleen Keating

Dear Colleen,

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that you have been shortlisted for an Award at the 2018 Society of Women Writers Book Awards (Poetry category) for your book:

Fire on Water

The Society invites you to the presentation ceremony to be held at the Gallery Room in the Mitchell Wing of the State Library of NSW on Wednesday 10 October from 12 noon to 2pm.

Please book in, with Lynda Calder swwlunchbooking@gmail.com no later than Friday 5 October. You are welcome to invite friends and/or family to attend.

If you are unable to attend the Awards, it would be appreciated if you would send/nominate a representative. 

Best wishes,

Gwen Bitti

President

The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc.

Est.1925 Incorporated 1987

http://www.womenwritersnsw.org/

https://www.facebook.com/The-Society-of-Women-Writers-NSW-Inc

Proud to be accepted as Submission 87 to the Joint Select Committee Recognition relating to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

waratahs

 

 

Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Submission 87

Senator Patrick Dodson and Mr. Julian Lesser MP
Chairs
Joint Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT 2600 4th June 2018

Dear people,

SUBMISSION ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRE STRAIT PEOPLE

I wish you to hear my voice as a white Australian who supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It is time that we listen to our First Nation Peoples. I am studying the white voices in the wilderness of the 1920’s, I have read the poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal, I lived in a country town as a child in the 50’s and I know how the Aboriginal people were treated . I am attending the Myall Creek Memorial Celebration this long June Weekend. I am aware of our policies of the past. I am aware of the blood shed although I was not taught any of this at school. ( Fortunately this is changing).

 

This last ten years there has been movement. Yet to hide behind and slow down everything we have had so many expert panels and committees including the recommendations in 2012 but now we must listen to the people themselves.

The mistakes of the past are with us – so violently in our subconscious that we spend a lot of effort suppressing and controlling our history, ignoring facts ,the truth.
Many, especially the older generations still live in fairy land of a peaceful past, still white washing our Nations story.

Trying to move forward as a nation without resolving and recognising the past will not work. We can no longer afford to ignore or deny our history.

We need leadership that explains this to the older people who were not told the truth at school.
We need leadership to encourage the people that it is to the advantage of us as a Nation to recognise and reconcile. And we need both side. Today we have an outreached hand to move forward. And we do not reach out . Our leader ignored the hand.!

The Uluru Statement from the Heart gives us a clear vision of a way forward for

  1. constitutional reform
  2. agreement making
  3. truth telling of our history from a different point of view.

The wonderful thing about this new move is it comes from the heart, symbolically from the heart of our nation.
It comes from a voice that is new, mature and it has the backing of the people from all around the nation. This consensus is unprecedented.

Its recommendation of a ‘voice to Parliament is our only viable way forward at this time.

Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Submission 87

Further it does not ask for a level of parliament but just as a voice. It does not water down the parliament . . it simply seeks to ensure that decision-makers of the parliament hear the voice of those that they affect so that decisions are better informed.

I know as usual we wanted to do some symbolic change of the constitution and not rock the boat. Well that will no longer work . The First Nation people will not accept symbolic moves anymore.
We have been given their well thought through statement and we have to move NOW.

This is the right side of history. If we don’t do it someone has to.

Please I ask that you take this seriously. Make this the last committee or expert panel that has to be formed to try and hide behind. There is already enough evidence from New Zealand and Canada to show this move makes it better for the First Nations but makes it better for all the people.

I believe one day the Uluru Statement from the Heart will be framed, enshrined in our parliament.

I just hope with all my heart that this step in the long journey of Reconciliation with our First Nations people happens in my life time. It is up to you the Committee now to say yes we are listening, let us move forward from here and it is up to our leader to bring the people with them and it is up to us to be awake and alert to helping carry those who are still fearful or ignorant or uneasy or unsure.

We can do it but we need your action this year to speak up and say Yes to our future as a mature nation.

Yours sincerely, Colleen Keating

page2image16528

A Landscape called Humanity By Colleen Keating

Excited to be included in the prestigious online journal Eureka Street with my new poem written last month, in response to the  Thai cave rescue of the 12 Thai boys and their football coach. The  early onset of the rainy season  flooded the exit to the cave trapping the boys. All were brought to safety over three heart rendering days while the whole world looked on. My poem was about grappling with the whole world focused on this scene even as many other tragedies were occurring around the world.

called A Landscape of Humanity

IMG_6552

A landscape called humanity

a landscape called humanity

guided by divers and ropes

via a birth canal

from the womb of the cave in a dark mountain

through the tightness of crevasses

hold your breath   to clamber the choke point

surrender fear    inner light

heave in the labour from death to life

why is it disasters create heroes

under monsoon darkening skies

one cannot rely on the mercy of rain gods

it is tanks of air

and an international team

navy seal divers  engineers  scientists

technical expertise

medicos and teams of supporters

that garner our attention

surrounded by a world of tragedies and suffering

it is the challenge    the pull-together

that we marvel at

holds our focus   holds our breath

its peaks and troughs

with all hope mustered

its sheer beauty

this landscape of humanity

— Colleen Keating

 

EUREKA STREET

ARTS AND CULTURE

A landscape called humanity

2 Comments

 

Selected poems

Topic tags: Poetry, Colleen Keating,

 

 CCOMMENTS

Those opening lines, Colleen, reminded me of the life delivering umbilical cord.

john frawley | 07 August 2018

What a breathtaking poem – a beautiful commentary Colleen on a beautiful disaster where human spirit showed it’s splendid strength. 

Elizabeth | 07 August 2018

A Poetry Reading Morning

 

In Conversation with a Local Poet. . .

IMG_6407

A Poetry Reading Morning. . . . I was delighted to sit down in conversation with  Fiona Borland, the Librarian of the Mt. St. Benedict Centre,  Pennant Hills in Northern Sydney.

In Conversation with a local poet. It was very affirming to be identified as a local poet and know that my poetry books had been acquired by their librarian Fiona for their library. I was proud of my books A Call to Listen and Fire on Water both published over the past 6 years by Stephen Matthews at Ginninderra Press. S.A.

An invitation was put out to invite people to the Poetry Reading Morning. I had a selection of my poetry to read throughout the conversation some on nature , social justice, and indigenous story.   And then more conversation over morning tea as the Benedict Centre provide having Hospitality as one of their charisms.

IMG_6390 IMG_6386 IMG_6389 IMG_6388

 

 

 

 

The launch of  ‘Going Home’ by Decima Wraxall

 

IMG_6236IMG_6250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was an honour to launch Decima’s latest book ‘Going Home’ a second in a duo of family history.   Speeches, readings from the new book, music, delicious food and plenty of bubbly flowed to make a great night great, and to say well done Decima.

Thursday last ( 19th July 2018) was a great evening of celebration for Decima as it has been ‘the long haul’ to get her latest book out there.

I have watched, admiring her tenacity and determination and like a cheer-leader encouraging from the side line, aware of the work, time and effort it takes.  And the time finally arrived.

 It is a bit like childbirth.  There is the struggle and pain and then the joy. And on Thursday evening there was joy with a wonderful sense of camaraderie as we gathered, Decima’s daughter and  family from UK, cousins from Melbourne and north coast a few nurse friends from the old day and of course, us the writers from the various groups Decima belongs to  – the WWN at Rozelle, the SWW from Mitchell Library, U3A poetry Appreciations group .

 

IMG_6284

The launch  speech  for   ‘Going Home’ 

by 

Colleen Keating                                IMG_6229

Welcome to you all.

My name is Colleen Keating  and I feel honoured to be asked to launch  ‘Going Home.’

But first, please let us pause a moment to acknowledge the Gadigal people. We are gathered on land of the Eora nation, and pay our respects to traditional custodians, past and present. 

I also feel happy to mention we are gathered in the Judith Wright Room, one of our greatest Australian women poets

 

Decima is a  friend and fellow writer. She inspires me and  inspires all of us in her loyalty and commitment to her writing.  Decima’s writing occupies a sacred space in her life.

Her latest book  ‘Going Home’ is the second and final in a duo.

Decima has had many short stories and poems published in Journals and Anthologies. She has co-edited two Anthologies of prose and poetry for the Womens Writers Network, here at the Writers Centre.

Her first book, Black Stockings, White Veil celebrated the 50th Anniversary of her Graduation from RPA. It was a finalist in the Indie Book Awards for Historical Fiction, and is now in its second edition. 

Letters from a Digger appeared as the first part of the duo.

She has had her first book of poetry accepted for publication by Ginninderra Press to be out mid 2019. 

Going Home is Gordon’s story, a remarkable, loveable man, bigger then life. 

It is a story wonderfully told, set in the Australian context at a time many of us here remember. 

In the hero’s journey there is the wound. Decima’s writing carries that intriguingly,  a life shadowed with a secret and sense of loss, with a pinch of serendipity, including the arrival of an inspirational teacher just at the right time.  

At a recent poetry symposium in Adelaide that Michael and I attended it was discussed how Fiction and Non Fiction, are both the same and different, in telling the Truth. It made me think of ‘Going Home.’  It’s evident that Decima, has assiduously researched the facts to ensure both accuracy and a good story. 

Historic fiction puts flesh on the bone,  transforms anecdote into drama, uses suspense, stimulates our imagination. Going Home, tells Gordon’s story honestly. There are no punches pulled. It explores the powerlessness engendered by serious illness and the courage to accept an unwelcome diagnosis.

You hear and smell see and taste the scenes, as this moving tale unfolds. 

The following passage set after the death of Rabbi Shomer, (Gordon’s mentor) embodies a moment of pain in his journey: 

 

Gordon felt the Rabbi everywhere and nowhere. In the following days, the house echoed with his voice. At the same time, the silence was palpable. Sometimes Gordon rushed back from school, bringing news of the day for the Rabbi. And recalled his friend had passed. He ran faster so he wouldn’t cry. And arrived breathless, dry-eyed. 

It broke Allie’s heart to see his sad face. Her own sorrow could be borne, if only she could do more to help Gordon. She brought him milk and biscuits, saying, ‘I wonder if you’d like to hear some music?’ He nodded, fearing tears should he speak. 

 

Even the ‘taste of milk and biscuits’, the comfort food of after-school caught me.

Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter says:    “Words are in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic” And ‘Going Home’ has the magic of an historic 20th century read.  For many of us it takes us down memory lane of late last century.  It is a book that will be cherished by Melissa and Jason . You must be very proud of your Mum for bringing this story to fruition. And to Dessie and Gordon’s smart and gorgeous Grandchildren Miranda, Toby, Ella and Harry this is a gift for you.

IMG_6246 IMG_6239

 

I  congratulate Decma on this fine achievement and proudly declare  Going Home launched.  May it have many enjoyable reads.

Now i would like to call on the writer of the day, the author Decima Wraxall. IMG_6231

Wild : the new anthology by Ginninderra Press Launched.

 

THE LAUNCH OF THE ANTHOLOGY   WILD

wild-cover

 

Ginninderra Press

Under the editorship of Stephen Matthews and his co-editor Brenda Eldridge. the weekend  felt a family affair. Add to it the editor of the new Anthology to be launched Joan Fenney and  her partner  the owner of the enchanting  East AvenueBook Shop even more so. And the launch of the wonderful Anthology Wild at the Tea Tree Gully Library, amidst poetry forums , the celebratory evening dinner of flowing champers, making good friendships,  delicious food and  Wild poetry readings and the Sunday poetry readings at the East  Avenue Book Shop  all added spice to create a feast and proved a great celebration.

Adelaide Experience

For Michael and  I the added extras were the tram ride to Glenelg Beach , lunch in the  Adelaide Botanical Gardens, the visit to the block buster Art Exhibition The Impressionists on loan from the Paris Musee d’Orsay  and having time to research my next project at the Universary Library and th SA State Library, a highlight on its own for the hype of being in the Reading Room sitting before the boxes of early material sacred enough for white gloves.

Wild

An impressive anthology with poems of over 100 Ginninderra poets,  from across this big country of ours  Thanks Stephen for your continuing support of Australian poets. Ginninderra Press goes from strength to strenth..

 

IMG_5052

Myall Creek Massacre Commemoration Weekend

IMG_5517 2 IMG_5518

The Myall Creek Massacre Memorial is a  healing place. This is our second pilgrimage out to Bingara to participate in the memorial commemoration. A pilgrimage for every Australian who cares about our shared history and acknowledges white Australian has a black history. Being the 180th Anniversary since the Massacre we had the opportunity to participate in a full day symposium at the Universary of New England on Friday and I met Bruce Pascoe who gave the key note address. I had read his original Dark Emu but the latest edition has so much more in it as more and more information comes to light. Thank you Bruce Pascoe for inverting almost everything I thought I knew about pre-colonial Australia. It makes us all richer. My poem shared history, I read at the memorial  will be published in The Good Oil SGS later in June.

Thank you also to Lyndall Ryan for her tenacity at research on Mapping the Massacres. with her new interactive map. When my sister, Margaret Hede, sent me a map a year ago of Lyndall’s  work I was stunned, blown away as the saying goes and to meet her and listen to the next stage of  her work was uplifting. One can google Map of massacres to find lots of information.

Photos below of Bruce Pascoe and Lyndall Ryan amd yours truly with Bruce’s updated book

 

 

IMG_5198 IMG_5191 IMG_5212

 

The next two photos below show over 1000 people gathering at Myall Creek and  holding my Grandson’s winning entry in the Children’s’ Vision and Dreams for the Future Competition . Thomas Keating-Jones lives in England but i am proud of my daughter Elizabeth assisting him to enter  and helping him understand the word Empathy.

34898266_1706421456061348_7099697209347670016_nIMG_5432

 

 

Myall Creek Massacre Commemoration

Myall Creek Memorial 180th anniversary program:18838942_1797371287241211_2834088407915097287_n

The four-day program of activities (7-10 June 2018) planned for the 180th anniversary will include:

  • Thurs 7 June: a historical exhibition at the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place about the history of the Myall Creek Memorial;
  • Friday 8 June: the Myall Creek and Beyond one-day symposium at the Oorala Aboriginal Centre, UNE exploring the historical, legal and cultural significance of the massacre;
  • Friday 8 June: the opening of the contemporary art exhibition Myall Creek and Beyond and an exhibition by Inverell based artist Colin Isaacs at NERAM in Armidale;
  • Saturday 9 June: Sounds of the Country concert at the Roxy Theatre in Bingara.
  • Sunday 10 June: the Oorala to Myall Creek bus for members of the local Aboriginal Community, UNE students and staff to attend the memorial event.
  • Sunday 10 June: the 180th anniversary memorial event at the Myall Creek Memorial near the site of the massacre (near Bingara).

Sunday 10th June the 180th Anniversary of the Myall Creek Massacre

IMG_5502IMG_5290

 

A very special commemoration  at the site of the Myall Creek Massacre.was experienced by about 1500 people gathered with descendents of those killed and those who killed j in a grassroots reconciliation movement at the sombre and informative memorial.

Again it raises awareness of the Myall Creek Massacre as a national identity and as a formative reconciliation event. It is now part of our shared history.  Michael and I had the alarm on and drove our 20 kms to the meeting place an hour early.

What serenity is this beautiful land.  Brown grasses, fields stretching to the hills the amazing trees and the wafting mist.

Unlike Friday with the Symposium where i wrote many notes for this day I arrived back after this amazing day  out at the memorial with my mind filled with happiness. Yes happiness and yet we had been at a commemoration of a most violent crime which is being noted as genocide. I think the happiness was  because I felt HOPE about being together where people held hands, joined together and walked with determination for the future of our nation.

18838942_1797371287241211_2834088407915097287_n walk at Myall IMG_5386 IMG_5350

 

There were many highlights reading my poem, shared history at this sacred memorial on the ridge overlooking the slope of the massacre and having a great group listening and taking a copy..

me reading poem best of me IMG_5447

 

My grandson Thomas winning the poetry award for the children  competition Thoughts and dreams 180  years on:  What have we learnt.  I will put his poem up in a few days.  

 

IMG_5299 IMG_5312

 

I have no notes for the day.

What caught my eye was a crisp clear winter Sunday morning. with a mist snaking along the river.
What touched my heart was a coming together of many people from all over the country for love and reconciliation 
What whispered  in my soul   We are here standing together and that is amazing
We gathered in a field  20 kms out of Bingara. The CWA had coffee and tea for all and we ordered a lunch. for later. We had a minutes silence and some speeches then set out for a walk of about a kilometre to the site.

 

Lighting the fire IMG_5372 IMG_5381
There was the  welcome to country, the lighting of the fire, a bull roarer ringing out to let the ancestral spirits know we are here,  With vibrant dancing and song , clapping sticks and the earthy drone of the didgeridoo, more then 1500 of us singularly filed before the young man holding the fire in a coolamon fanning the eucalypt leaves making the white smoke for our cleansing, there was a woman who signed our foreheads with red ochre and then the walk to each stone along the way where students read the information on the stones and then at the Memorial we gathered.

It took a few hours for this as you can imagine. And at the memorial lots of speeches, singing, readings, and two candles lit  . . the red one by the descendent of perpetrators reminding us of the blood brutally shed on this slope and the children came forth and lit the green candle a symbol of hope, healing and new life. Aunty Sue Blacklock a descendent of a survivor of the Myall Creek massacre, and a Kamilaroi elder said it was very emotional on their first few visits to the site more then 25 years ago.
They built a cairn of rocks and reflected on the sorrow of the place.  
They placed a red bottle brush on an old rock.  
It was a painful place, sad,  full of sorrow. many could not go there.
In time when two other descendants of survivors became known  they had meetings to make a memorial and then one day a descendant of a perpetrator walked in embraced and asked forgiveness. This memorial was opened in 2000 and victim and perpetrator walked together as one.
On the day of the first public commemoration when they were all gathered with story, music and song ,
Aunty Sue says:

A large number of white cockatoos flew up from nowhere and circled in the sky . My heart was freed. I have no more heaviness in my heart. Their souls were freed that day . Our ancestors souls were set free that day” 

 

 

reconciliation black and white together

A moment of reconciliation when the descendents of the victims and  perpetrators stood side by side in solidarity of shared history.

Now each year on this anniversary we come together to rememberIMG_5290and
today we stand here together and it is amazing.

SOME EXTRA EVENTS WE EXPERIENCED

After the Symposium the day wasn’t finished .We drove from the University to NERAM (New England Region Art  Gallery and Museum) for the opening of the contemporary art exhibition  Myall Creek and Beyond. Here we saw work by many talented artisans, listened to Indigenous Music and sipped champagne.

Of alf the special  things I have experienced it was the seeing or more experiencing the  possum cloak  which took close to 80 hours of work by a gathering of women for the Myall Creek Commemoration.

 

IMG_5216

Two other events that enriched our long weekend was a historical exhibition at the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place .

and on the Saturday a concert at the Roxy Theatre in Bingara.Sound of the Country.