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 . 

 

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 novel.it

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 novel.it

 

The waterfall today after the three days of rain

Waterfall in the remnant of forest  in easy walking from home. This is my air pocket in this city of 4 million people.

If you click the IMG below you will get an amazing 13 seconds of refreshing beauty.

IMG_9618

 

 

through the trees i glimpse a waterfall
and marvel to think it has always been here
carving musically into the heart of the earth
it has sung its song for aeons   (from new bush track)

I felt very energised after my walk .My first time to put up a video. It is only 13 seconds but amazing . I am so thrill to have this so close I can walk there and be in another world .

A poem that I wrote when i first found this place and it was published in Fire on Water 2016 publ. Ginninderra Press

new bush track

moving house means searching
for new wilderness
like a miner after an elusive air pocket

following a green area on a map
hidden by development
encroached to the edge
behind an old scout hall

a brambly track
winds me down
through a sandstone escarpment
the dawn-sun plays into the hands
of eucalypts stretched
to seek the light
yet their search for meaning
being found more in their roots
symbiotically curled around sturdy rock

here dew tipped casuarinas sparkle<
here grass trees verdantly splurge<
as if their whole purpose is to shine

self important palms push upwards
screaming rock stars

honey birds swing on rusty-gold banksia
magpies warble
in the whip-cracked air

this is the Australian bush
how it pulls me in

through the trees i glimpse a waterfall
and marvel to think it has always been here
carving musically into the heart of the earth
it has sung its song for aeons
it is the human in me that delights

nature just is
in its own world
whole unto itself
it doesn’t even know I’m here
there is a loneliness in this
yet lost from the world
i am found
and to the cadence of nature
i dance 

Mood Indigo by Pip Griffin and Colleen Keating

.. You are the music while the music lasts. T.S. Eliot 

Mood Indigo, This is a collaboration of poetry by Pip Griffin and Colleen Keating,

A Picaro Poets chapbook,  it is published under the umbrella of Ginninderra Press. It is composed of 24 succinct and lyrical poems which are perfect for the reader wanting to retreat into a pocket-sized poetry book with an inner covenant of peace.

Colleen and Pip’s poetry, an eclectic collection of lyrical poetry

transports the reader

to Alice Springs
The land’s a vast Kngwarreye
black, brown, green, ochre, painted on infinity.

to Lake Ainsworth
ducks’ wave-rippling wakes
break the spell

pleads for an end to war
what if we all bow low
to quench our parched throats
and what if we drink
from the same waterhole

and finds renewed hope
in the return of a single red wattle bird
I thought you had deserted us
but your presence
this spring morning
gives me hope.

Chapbook. $5  Order your copy online from www.ginninderrapress.com.au

Thanks to Brenda Eldridge Series editor: from Gininnderra Press.
and John Griffin for cover image

Leura Gardens 

While travelling by train to this place we visited so often

a reservoir of tears presses against my ribs

i do not want this pain to fill

the hollow of your absence

images of our time together explode behind my eyes

‘The Lark Ascending’ plays to my inner ear

cherry trees in blossom line the streets

like flower girls at a wedding 

the gardens flaunt their colours

i wear the striped jumper we bought here

under the spent wisteria at the Waldorf Gardens Resort

a jazz group plays ‘Mood Indigo’.

©Pip Griffin 4/10/18

 

my Tao poem 

when you find the Tao
others will find you
they will hear the still silence
in your voice
see the peacefulness
shine from your eyes
sense the path in your movement
feel the all is well hope in your being recognise you
by laughter and tears danced in your soul and they will be near you
to find their way home 

Colleen Keating

You are the music while the music lasts. T.S. Eliot

Pip and I enjoying Christmas celebration luncheon
at the Society of Women Writers, December 2019

I Protest! Poems of Dissent selected by Stephen Matthews

 

So exciting to receive in the mail our complimentary copies of Ginninderra Press’ new Anthology.

I Protest! Poems of Dissent. 

Congratulations to Stephen Matthews on a superb publication  and so timely.

Both Michael and I are  very proud to each have a poem   chosen for the Anthology.

Michael’s poem is called Disconnect  and is a poem about the precious commodity we have
in water which has its own fragility and he writes how we can be lulled into forgetfulness
‘The fragility of our country  and the worry about the aquifers’

My poem rock-a bye-baby  speaks of the earth is in pain and yet how easy we can be lulled into sleep, into silence.

I  like to think I end hopefully
‘like green shoots from black stumps
will rise   poems of possibility’

There is 20% off all books at Ginninderra Press till the end May.

 

Silver Nautilus Award for Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey

 

 

Congratulations to Ginninderra Press. Excited to announce Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey  by Colleen Keating has received a Silver Nautilus Award: Better Books for a Better World.  Hildegard of Bingen was published late last year and launched in November.

 

Nautilus Award 

 

Nautilus Book Awards recognizes and rewards books that celebrate and contribute to positive social change, spiritual growth and conscious living. Its winners have included the likes of the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Marion Williamson. It’s truly an honour to be a part of this award-winning community of writers. I have always loved the idea of the Nautilus shell with its Fibonacci pattern and am thrilled to have this award.

 

Congratulations!  You are a Winner in the 2019 Nautilus Book Awards program!

Your book has been selected as an Award Winner in the category shown below.

Title:    Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey     

Author:   Colleen Keating  

>  [email protected]

Publisher:   Ginninderra Press   

Contact name & email:   Stephen Matthews

>  [email protected]

Award:      SILVER 

Category:  Lyric Prose  

We heartily welcome you to the Nautilus Book Awards family, comprised of highly esteemed authors and publishers from across the USA, and from over 20 nations around the world. You can be especially proud of your book’s selection as an Award Winner this season, which attracted a record-number of entries and included a magnificent diversity of high-quality books.

We are grateful for the chance to help promote and celebrate your book by increasing its visibility as a Nautilus Award Winner. And, we are truly encouraged by the new perspectives these books present with which to co-create a better future, individually and collectively. Changing the World one Book at a Time.

LYRIC PROSE

Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey
Colleen Keating
Ginninderra Press

We have developed our judging process over the past twenty years, and continue to expand and improve our parameters and our system of evaluation. It is our purpose and intent to seek, review, identify, and celebrate books that we feel best support the co-creation of a Better World.  Our goal is to offer life-affirming options with imagination and possibility to a world that longs for a new story.

Gold and Silver Awards, and one Grand Winner Award are given to print books of exceptional merit that make a literary and heartfelt contribution to spiritual growth, green values & sustainability, high-level wellness, responsible leadership and positive social change & social justice, as well as to the worlds of art, creativity and inspiration.

 

Shared Footprints by Michael and Colleen Keating

 

Shared Footprints  is a Picaro Poets chap book perfect for your pocket when out on a walk or perched on an outcrop of rock overlooking the ocean.   Order it through Ginninderra Press .

Over the past two years Michael and I have done a seasonal beach walk each season from  Tuggerah Lake,  The Entrance Beach around the headland to Blue Bay,  around the rock platform to Toowoon Bay and along the beach  for a Cafe breakfast  at Toowoon Bay Life Savers Club and then  we walk back .

We walk quietly with notepad and pen and jot down what we observe.  Over the years we have put our thoughts down  side by side in response to the beach,  the seasons and each other.  We put this manuscript to Brenda Eldridge from Ginninderra Press as a possible Picaro Poets Chap book. It was accepte,   formatted and published. It is  for people to enjoy nature hoping to stimulate deeper awareness in us all.

Available now from www.ginninderrapress.com.au  /picaro poets and scroll down to our name.

It is divided into four sections

Spring: New Beginnings
Summer: Under a Melting Sun
Autumn : Tumble of Ocean
Winter: Our Shadows Long

Just a few examples

sea pattern
periwinkle meander
in the interidal zone   MK

 

 

 

we quicken pace
as wind leans in
hand warm together  CK

 

DEDICATION

for our grandchildren, our little castle builders, channel diggers, treasure collectors

may they all be star throwers.

The Star Thrower*

  One dawn, a man was walking along the shore.

   he noticed a young person reaching down to the sand, 

   picking up something 

  and very gently throwing it back into the sea. 

As he got closer, he called out, 

“Good morning! What are you doing?”

 The young person paused, looked up and replied, 

“Throwing starfish into the sea.”

“Why are you throwing starfish into the sea?” he asked.

“The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in they’ll die.” 

“But, don’t you realise that there are miles of beach here 

 and starfish all along it. How can you possibly make a difference?”

The young person listened politely. 

Then knelt down, picked up another starfish 

and threw it  safely into the sea, past the breaking waves and said…

“Made a difference to this one.”

* Loren Eiseley  (adapted)

Thank you to  Picaro Poets to Brenda Eldridge who gives such inspiration, affirmation and support

Landscapes of the Heart by John Egan & Colleen Keating

When the noted poet John Egan asked me to collaborate with him on a chap book with the idea of presenting it to be published with Picaro Poets (an arm of Ginninderra Press) I was very affirmed and excited. It quickly became a challenge for our poems needed to have a thread of interconnectedness and for me I always want a book that someone in the future can pick up and read and find meaning and hopefully a spark of something I like to call ‘the more than”

We teamed up with Brenda Eldridge that I always find is on my wave length of wanting  poetry that says the ‘the more than’  and Landscapes of the Heart was born.  Brenda did a perfect typeset and production.  Many of our poems had been previously published in poetry journals and magazines and it was affirming to have them collected in this book. John suggested we use the quote of Henri-Frederic Amiel,

‘Any landscape is a condition of the spirit’

I have a sense our poetry is an antidote for today with Covid lurking in our midst , causing havoc with our lives and livelihoods.

What is earth asking of us today ? 

I know for me,  the poem I will share called delphic visitor  on page 15 is with me today . I am in self-isolation along way from the  Manning River  and the kikuyu grass covered in dew  and the herons that come each morning  but here at this desk I carry that scene and that heron deep inside my chest to protect me from the forgetting the beauty of our world and to protect me from being sentimental about life. The delicate exquistite heron that looks more like a shy ballerina who could be stepping out to Camille Saint-Saens The swan must kill ruthlessly and feed every day to stay alive. There is something about the Covid virus today that says the earth is struggling . . there is a message we have to listen and listen. . .

 

delphic visitor

clear winter morning
a silver heron tiptoes
through a tangle
of wild kikuyu grass
stalks
waits statue-still
pounces
strike of pick-ax blade

throws
its rippling neck back
in an alleluia pose  

I venture into the paddock
to capture a photo
my jeans trail over dew laden grass
and this silver heron
my morning oracle
with quiver of white breast
soft flutter of blue-grey wing
cranks its bamboo legs
uncurls its gold-tip feet
lifts
tacks into flight
loose grey silk
against a blue sky

by Colleen Keating

 

 

A quote from John’s poem Sunrise over the Sea

. . Mesabi Range iron-ore red,
rotating mardi gras, the sea and sky
and carosels of rays,
an orange wheel of fortune
where the Sun King rides
his new Versailles of light. . .
Hallelujah Chorus chimes,
a sea of stars declines
and curtain clls,
the sun’s the star,
strides on stage
to wild applause.

to read more you need to go onto Ginninderra Press, Picaro Poets  web site and scroll down  to buy the book.

 

Book Review: Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey by Colleen Keating

Hildegard of Bingen by Colleen Keating is, as the author subtitled A Poetic Journey based on the life of the saint Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179).

 

BOOK REVIEW      Women’s Ink Magazine  www.womenwritersnsw.org

Hildegard of Bingen – A Poetic Journey

COLLEEN KEATING

Ginninderra Press

ISBN 978 1 76041 766 6

Reviewed by BEATRIZ COPELLO

For those who do not know about this saint’s life, let me tell you she was an incredible and fascinating woman who lived in the Middle Ages in Germany. She lived an intense life dedicated not only to religion but also to science, art, music, politics and philosophy. Hildegard founded two monasteries and maintained active correspondence with kings, emperors and popes. During all her life this mystic had visions which she attributed to divine inspiration. 

In the forward of Hildegard of Bingen, Keating says she fell in love with Hildegard when she read a book lent to her by a friend. That love is evident in each page, in each poem, in each line. Through Keating’s poetry we get to know Hildegard, her life unrolls like a magic carpet. Poem by poem the reader finds out about her dreams, hopes, aspirations as well as her frustrations. 

Keatings’s poems come alive with sensory experience, her words are confident in range and depth and they are utterly clear and articulate. The poet could have been a witness in Hildegard’s life, she knows her, she breathes her, she has a familial intimacy with the philosopher. The author undertook a journey into the mediaeval world, the poems are factual and the events meticulously researched. They contain very vivid descriptions, we can see in our mind’s eye what Hildegard saw, like in

 

‘Arrival’

Disibodenberg, high in the forest
sprawls in the clouds.
The last mile steeply uphill
Secluded. 

A white butterfly dips and lifts.
Hildegard’s gaze follows it up
catches the glint of the sun
on the first stone wall.

Stoic buildings unfold
cloistered around a cobbled garth.
Their Benedictine monastery.

A monk in cinctured black robe
walks from signposted infirmary.
From beneath his blinkered cowl
he extends a welcome.
They dismount
Jutta falls on her knees in gratitude.

In Hildegard’s life the days pass coloured by monotony and sainthood and as the days pass so is her strong and determined personality developed. Poem by  poem the reader becomes wrapped in a mantle of words, words that tell us of revelations, mysticism, determination and sainthood. Keating puts herself in Hildegard’s shoes and cleverly she is able to recreate the angst, the bravery and the defiance of this incredible woman. We enter her abode, her orchard, we get to know the sisters and her godly visions. We hear two strong voices Hildegard’s and Keating’s the poet. Writing is a labour of love, the writer not only poured her love for Hildegard in the poems but also her skills and knowledge.

Intuition, growth, earthiness, inner strength, passion, justice, wisdom, art are all words that describe what emerges from Keating’s poetry. What a great way to learn through reading poetry! The poet has not spared any detail about the life of Hildegard neither has she left out information about her sources. This fascinating book contains an Epilogue, a Chronology, a Glossary, Notes and a Bibliography. In the final notes Keating says: ‘A Poetic Journey seeks a middle ground between an accurate scholarly presentation of Hildegard and a personal interpretation of her story.’

I believe the writer has achieved her purpose offering us  the opportunity to get to know a mediaeval feminist of extraordinary creativity. Colleen Keating has created a masterpiece. 

Women’s Ink! Magazine   www.womenwritersnsw.org    March 2020 p19