Fire on Water: Highly Commended in SWW Awards 2018

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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.

 

 

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FIRE ON WATER -Short -listed for prestigious SWW Award

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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,

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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

Fire on Water: A Book Review

 BOOK REVIEW by PETER F PIKE 

 

Keating Cover

Fire on Water   by Colleen Keating

Fire on Water—what a strikingly impressive title: and after reading this collection of Colleen’s poems, how apt and appropriate. I remember when I was quite young we purloined some dry-ice from a cold storage facility and put some in a pool of water left in the gutter after a shower. We were fascinated by the bubbles of gas and cloud of vapour that resulted from the chemical reaction. We were just about to leave when an older chap came along, squirted some cigarette lighter fluid onto the puddle and ignited it. Fire on water we were impressed then as I was yesterday when I read Colleen’s poetry book. 

A small suite of poems on downsizing especially resonated with me as we sold our family home last April after 45 years. On page 41 belongings one day my heart unlocked / I donated some and ordered a skip / emptied the garage returned the key / it felt like a heavy pack moved / off my back after a long hike I walked / lightly feeling so much had owned me … 

Colleen’s interest and observation of the minutiae of life is fascinating—only a poet of some standing could record 

‘a tiny brown sparrow in the gutter defies fragility / as it tackles a twig too big for its flight’… taken from choice on page 108. part of the section entitled Exultation. From the same section on page 110, this gem: 

the vicissitudes of a blue butterfly  

she lavishly opens her wings
teal-blue fans quiver  
playing warm still air
motley light from the trees

she darts and dives 
ah with what precision                        IMG_5051
dodges the many hazards 
with angular flight 

creole-eyed she alights to sip
from sweet honey-dewed 
red-dressed grevilleas
moves like notes of music 
up and down around and in me
with lightness and freedom

i think of shy miss butterfly 
sprawled in Eliot’s poem 
pinned and wriggling on the wall

I know dull blue of wings 
etherised   
silver-pinned under glass

today her iridescent triangles of blue
flash with the sun   like flying jewels
intoxicated with life

The vivid images conjured up by Colleen’s poems are spectacular word-pictures that impress themselves on the reader’s mind. They are recalled with ease long after reading.

The appealing illustration on the front cover is by Colleen’s daughter Elizabeth. 

Colleen’s poetry exposes us to a large range of emotions. Stillborn on page 75 forces us to face up to a situation that as Australians we are, in the main, still reluctant to address. 

winter darkens our land
the tree outside my window
is stark and bare
close up new life is tightly budded 

the news says
our country has turned back refugees at sea people seeking asylum
returned to face those they flee 

history like a drawbridge is pulled up closed off
humanity is stillborn 

hearts are cold
fear deadens minds 

the everywoman in me weeps for the birthing 

the woman with child is weeping the woman in every woman
if you are not weeping
ask why 

Colleen’s book is 122 pages, Perfect Bound published by Ginninderra Press ISBN 978-1-76041-351-4 and is priced at $22.50 and is highly recommended. 

Page 26 FreeXpresSion– March 2018 

Thank you Peter Piper for a great review of Fire on Water and thanks for your dedication to poetry and poetry writers.

 

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Nautilus Award

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                      Great news

Fire on Water has won a Silver Nautilus Award

 

 

 

April 2018

Dear Colleen,

Congratulations! Your book has been selected as a 2017 Nautilus Award Winner.

Title:  Fire on Water

Author:  Colleen Keating

>  touchstoneten@gmail.com

Publisher:  Ginninderra Press

Award:     SILVER 

Category: Poetry

We are deeply glad to welcome you to the honored and respected group of Nautilus Book Award Winners. You can be justly proud of your book’s selection as an Award Winner in the 2017 Nautilus season, which brought a record number of entries and a magnificent diversity of high-quality books.

The full roster of 2017 Nautilus Award Winners will be posted on the Nautilus website by the end of April.  We will send notice to the entire Nautilus mailing list when the Winners are posted on the website, so you can alert friends and colleagues to this exciting news.

You have written &/or published a book that carries a potent message – whether in text or photos – and we are grateful for the chance to help promote and celebrate your book by making it visible as a Nautilus Award Winner. We hold the intention with you that your book will find much recognition and success with this significant award.

On behalf of all the Nautilus reviewers, judges, staff, and volunteers, thank you for sending your book as an entry to the 2017 Nautilus program. May your book’s message bring hope, wisdom, healing, and joy to many people. We are proud that your book’s journey as a Nautilus Winner will contribute to Better Books for a Better World.

With warm regards,

Mary Belknap

for the Nautilus Book Awards team

 

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awakening

Even in the darkest of times there is always hope

there is always possibility of a new day.

Words that speak of justice, that work towards peace,

that give  hope lifts all of us and we are then  truly human.

 

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awakening

when i hear words like this
there appears to be new texture
even bird song seems elevated

when i hear words like these
it occurs to me the dawn has an aureate glow
that the ocean sings in celebration

a heart on mute   beats again
on pause   wings again

from heart to heart like music in a round
into every dark corner like sparrows in a thorn bush
people will feel the chalice of humanity again
that is their gift to the world

Fire on Water

Fire on Water  is the first section in my new poetry book of the same title.

The first poem I dedicated to Michael .

The first photo is of our wedding day Saturday 24th September 1973.

The second photo is  breakfast Saturday 24th September 2018 45th Anniversary.

 

 

 

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forever

for Michael

caught by the gossamer of the moment

wrapped in seductive arms
we yarned and sang ate marshmallows
danced soaked in laughing rains and played
with rainbows frolicked naked in the sea
loved setting suns drank wine to the moon
thought this is forever

and dared a skerrick of doubt to creep in

Launch of Fire on Water

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COLLEEN’S    Thank you speech at the  launch of Fire on Water
Beverley, thank-you for launching this new and beautiful book and for your affirming words. I appreciate your belief in writing and in poetry and for affirming me.
You are amazing with your generosity . I wonder at you. No one would believe the dedication

you have to writers and writing.beverley at launch

I appreciate you all being here for the launch

So many happy warm smiling faces.
As you can imagine I am thrilled this new book has come to fruition.
I love the book. It has a good feel and I am very proud of it.
I like to think , as Mary Oliver says it allows each poem to sit on its page and breathe
And I like its spaciousness .

I thank the publisher Ginninderra Press for this effort.
Especially Stephen Matthews for his friendly and helpful encouragement .

Most of you are aware writing is a lonely trek, a long haul, a footslog, an odyssey. Sometimes lost in the bush, sometimes all at sea, sometimes desert-dry, sometimes energising but mostly a solitary and gruelling task and as a writing community we appreciate that, and it is good to be here together to celebrate writing.

Getting published is an interesting process and a wonderful journey. Many of you have been a part of that and I appreciate you all.

Especially thanks to Michael for his encouragement, patience and support . And my daughters and their families for their support today.

 

girls at launch grandkids at launch

 

And my fellow writers and fellow poets .
To Sue and the women writers group and especially Decima I deeply appreciate your friendship, affirmation and critiquing. We are a good team.
To Norm and the Wednesday evening poets for your critique thanks . my time with you is invaluable
and to Ron and the U3A poetry appreciation group at Eastwood thanks for being here .
Finally to Helen and Nigel Parry for being here and for the beautiful cello music which has added a touch of the transcendence to the day.
In Romeo and Juliet some of you might remember Romeo’s amazed outcry

“It is the East and Juliet is the sun”

I see the creative world as the east, and the hope, the beauty the beloved as the sun
for us as Australians, you and I have the intimate feeling for the way every morning firey light rises and blazes against the dark and conquers the ocean,
it is the fire that rises from water.
Fire on Water is a miracle in itself but for me in my title poem, the second miracle is that we are alive here and now.

and so the poem fire on water pg 20

A poetic mind, writer and/or reader
is lively and inquiring, compassionate, curious, angry, full of music,
full of feeling.
and this poem that won first place in a 2016 competition in Positive Word
I feel is a touchstone for this
wood pigeon p115

and the anger like blood that spills from the pen pg 50
out of sight out of mind pg 80

and finally to me poetry is also about taking wings and I hope it plants a seed for your everyday to take wings
taking wings pg 107

And now I give the mic to Michael to read Waiting pg 18. and then to Jo to read her selection of poems. Thank you all once again for being here

FIRE ON WATER

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FIRE ON WATER

It is an honour to have Beverley George with us this afternoon.

Beverley is renowned  nationally and internationally in the field of Japanese Poetry . She is a Writing Fellow of the Fellowship of Australian Writers and past editor of the journal Yellow Moon, the Society of Women Writers NSW Newsletter 2004-2006 and Eucalypt: a Tanka Journal which she edited for 10 years. Currently she edits Windfall: Australian Haiku .
How does one sum up such a body of work? How does one begin to speak about this talented writer, her achievements, publications and awards?
She was president of the Australian Haiku Society 2006-10 and has served as an international judge for Japanese poetic genre competitions in Japan , UK, US and Canada. Beverley has presented papers at two poetry conferences in Japan and has served as literary adviser to Mitsui Travel for six small group tours to Japan.

 

Beverley’s launch speech for “Fire on Water” by Colleen Keating

Welcome everybody and especial thank you to Colleen for inviting me to launch her lovely poetry collection: Fire on Water. An honour indeed.
The poetry in this book engages with so much that truly matters to the human heart and mind. Reading it, I am reminded of the words of the American poet Mary Oliver
“. . . For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”

[― Mary Oliver, ‘A Poetry Handbook’]

Even when writing on complex subjects, Colleen speaks clearly, without artifice. She doesn’t use ‘clever’ words; she uses right words; those words that fit best with the ideas she presents to us. Much thought and care have gone into their selection.
Many of the poems are concerned with social justice: such as the plight of refugees, or aspects of indigenous history but the poet’s voice remains compassionate, not sentimental.
The book itself is physically attractive, easy to use and isn’t that imaginative cover illustration by Elizabeth Keating-Jones, Colleen’s daughter so appealing? I love it.
You will soon notice that the poems are pleasingly grouped although not strictly sequential within those groups. Advantages of this formatting are that the reader can consider aspects of a particular topic at one reading and choose another topic the next time one picks up the book. It also makes it easy to relocate poems for further contemplation; those that we have particularly read and enjoyed. What did Colleen write about downsizing? About refugees? About aspects of nature?
An extremely relevant section for me right now, and I would presume for some others in this room is that of downsizing; disposing of some possessions treasured for a life-time; selling the family home with all its treasured memories of loved family members and pets.
Of particular impact is the brief poem on p. 35 “where’s home, Ulysses”. Lines such as
“where there is a home
make a house depersonalise
the real estate agent says

ebay vinnies salvos
devour my story
on the footpath garbage pick-up
my life exposed”

clearly convey the loss of control, the loss of property, the uncertainty that too often accompanies this rite of passage.

But Colleen’s poems travel through this difficult period with honesty and directness and resolve into thoughts not of just acceptance but of positivity and optimism for what is now possible; what lies ahead.

What comes through clearly and consistently in Colleen’s work, is a strong sense of social justice; deep concern for the plight of those others helpless to improve their own lives.
A particularly powerful poem can be found on. p.75 ‘Stillborn’. Colleen writes of:

“people seeking asylum
returned to face those they flee
history like a drawbridge is pulled up
closed off
humanity is stillborn”

and concludes with the challenging lines
“the everywoman in me weeps […]
if you are not weeping
ask why”

You’ve probably all heard of the Roland Barthes’ theory that once a piece of writing is public the role of the reader becomes active, as they bring their own experience and knowledge to interpreting the text; an interplay between writer and reader results. This suggests we each may read a poem slightly differently and of course you will choose which parts of this book are most relevant and intriguing for you. And this is as it should be.
In a few moments we will have the pleasure of hearing Colleen read some of her own work. Here’s a little advance notice; something I am hoping Colleen might tell us more about. Her fascination with the woman musician, herbalist and healer, Hildegard of Bingen.
A rich source of pleasure in this book comes with Colleen’s approach to writing about nature. These poems are detailed and convincing. The poet is looking hard and appreciating the world around her.
Whether she is writing about a physical location such as The Entrance; plants such as sunflowers, or a felled tree; creatures like a wood pigeon, a dragonfly or a hawk, her words reach out to us; draw us in.
Again, thank you for coming. It is now my very great pleasure to announce Fire on Water by Colleen Keating launched and ready for sharing. We will now hear from the poet, herself…over to Colleen.

Launch of Fire on Water. STOP PRESS

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                                          FIRE ON WATER
                                       WILL BE LAUNCHED
                                                           IN
                             JUDITH WRIGHT ROOM
                               NSW Writers Centre, Rozelle  
                     in the gracious grounds of Callan Park
                              on the Parramatta River
                            Balmain Rd, Lilyfield NSW
        
                        Sunday afternoon 19th November
                                                    at  
                                      2.30pm – 4.30pm
                     ( 504, 506,520 buses from town hall)
                                   plenty of free parking   
                                       To be launched
                                                    by
                                      Beverley George 
renowned nationally and internationally Japanese form poet, 
     A Writing Fellow of The Fellowship of Australian Writers, 
editor of Windfall: Australian Haiku journal and author of many books 
        
 Hors d’oeuvres, vino, champagne, poetry readings, music, book signing 
       ALL WELCOME
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Fire on Water: a sneak preview

 

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A sneak preview of my latest Poetry Collection,
                      Fire on Water
published by Ginninderra Press, South Australia.

Thank you to Stephen Matthews for such a professional presentation,
and my daughter Elizabeth Keating-Jones for the creative cover.
As a first step I took a few copies to the Society of Women Writers, July luncheon
and they sold like hot cakes. I am appreciative of such encouragement.

The poems in Fire on Water are divided into 7 sections .
Poems are as diverse as ‘visissitudes of a blue butterfly’
and ‘counting dead women.’

 

 

 

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One of the poems included is  ‘ in search of Hildegard of Bingen’  which was short-listed for the Society of Women Writers Poetry Competition 2016 and which has recently been translated into German by Annette Esser  (Theologian, Scholar, Art Therapist and Teacher) to be included in a journal in Germany published September 2017 to celebrate the opening of a Pilgrimage Way that has been planned and worked on by Annette for many years now.  It will be opened on 17th September 2017. Hildegard’s feast day.

It is called Hildegardweg.  Attraktion fur Pilger und Wanderer.

The logo for the Hildegardweg is below. If you ever go to the Rhineland look for this sign and put your walking boots on.

Michael and I plan to do it when the International version opens in September 2019. Hmmm that means we will have to get into training!

 

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The logo for the Hildegardweg in the Rhineland Germany

Fire on Water is my second collection of poetry and follows A Call to Listen . (2014).

Date for launch of Fire on Water  is to be announced.
The launch date is TBA