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.
Good to receive word my poem‘a beautiful world’ received second place in the Annual Poetry Competition for Poetry Matters. Always affirming to have your work accepted and a cheque award is an extra bonus.My award winning poem began with my Granddaughter little Miss J putting my big shell to her ear and my saying ‘can you hear the sea?’ She listened seriously and said in her sweet three-year-old voice ‘I can hear the dolphins.’ That line stayed with me for the past three years. And then Thomas face-timed me from England with his school project aboutthe problem of plastic on the sea and the poem had its seed.
AWARD WINNING POEM
a beautiful world
at the party I sit back
watch the action from the side
frivolity centres the room
spills out onto the deck
my daughters laugh
in the kitchen
sampling each others specialities
the men outside
beer in hand
enjoy the sizzle of the barbecue
I watch their little ones
busy at make-believe
they are growing fast
each in their own way
the eldest now eight years old
is worried about the dolphins what if they choke on the plastic and all die
the four year old responds i can hear the dolphins in grandma’s big shell
I remember my whispered words
as I held each for the first time welcome little one it is a beautiful world
now the world waits for them
their shining eyes also wait
and nested in hope
my heart aches
Thomas Keating-Jonesand Plastic Project
with his helper and little sister Miss E and his school project about Plastic and its impact on our ocean.
Thanks to The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai for the back ground.
Thanks to Ginninderra Press for their publishing my poetry and to Cheryl Howard who supports poets and poetry writing with her journal Poetry Matters
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 andher 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 andWild poetry readings and the Sunday poetry readings at the East Avenue Book Shopall added spice to create a feast and proved a great celebration.
For Michael and I the added extras were the tram ride to Glenelg Beach , lunch in theAdelaide Botanical Gardens, the visit to the block buster Art Exhibition The Impressionists on loan from the Paris Musee d’Orsayand 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.
An impressive anthology with poems of over 100Ginninderra poets,from across this big country of oursThanks Stephen for your continuing support of Australian poets. Ginninderra Press goes from strength to strenth..
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Today we celebrated the launch Of Carol’s new book Black Mountain by Colleen Keating. Many of the writing community and readers and Carols family and friends gathered in the atmospheric book shop Better Read then Dead in Newtown for the celebration. I felt very privileged to be asked to launch.
Launch by Colleen Keating
Carol Chandler’s Black Mountain.
Good afternoon everybody.
Firstly I invite a pause for us to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, on which we gather the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and to pay respect for Elders past and present.
There are some new faces here so I will introduce myself. My name is Colleen Keating. I belong to the Women Writers Network that meets every Wednesday at 1pm at Roselle Writers Centre. All women writers are welcome. That is where Carol and I met.
When Carol was being seduced by the Blue Mountains she visited our newly downsized apartment trying to make her decision. The Mountains won and she set out on a mammoth journey to her beautiful home and garden in Leura .
What a gathering in this wonderful environment of books and music and art, and what a great
honour for Carol that you have taken the time to be with her to celebrate.
Most of you would be 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.
As a writing community we appreciate that, and we are here to honour the loneliness of the long distance writer and to celebrate Carol’s successful outcome.
And what an outcome. Black Mountain by Carol Chandler published by Ginninderra Press, a small but very prestigious publishing press in South Australia.
Black Mountain is a psychological thriller – and what a thriller. What a journey! We are taken by the narrator Sarah into the back waters of a country area, a place up in the hills not far from the coast in a lonely desolate ‘neck of the woods’. Sarah, a teacher has escaped from this town and this life, but on Page one is drawn back into its eerie world trying to make sense of the past and find out what really happened to her brother Liam who died in a house fire. By page eight we the readers are woven into the mystery and for us, there is no return .
You and I know how easy it is to get caught back into the dark web of our past, – into the tangle of relatives, families , friends. . . where there are all the hurts and intrigues, suicide, murders, lovers, drugs and especially secrets, lies and cover ups.
People are watching …..the threat of dogs always in the background..… the sharpness of the knife edge that glints in the moon light……. that scary feeling you are being followed and that strand of foreshadowing…. and of course the world of gossip.
Even when we escape to the coast, the ocean doesn’t give us reprieve, not even a breather. We are kept in the dark web of intrigue.
Carol has given us a thriller.
Everyone loves a good mystery…… but here there is the added complexity of human psychology, what’s beneath the surface in human action and reaction .
The pivotal characters Freya and Tyler and the mystery of Lola a young girl who has disappeared, gives us a sense of place and how that connects with identity.
And with the pains of the past that hold their secrets and hold us in their mystery, we become caught in the struggle and search for meaning.
What is it all about? ……. We are immersed in a thriller . . . a metaphor for life ,where
the questions materialise at every turn, but the answers are just beyond our grasp.
Black Mountain, was short listed in a recent competition where the judges’ comment, noted in the blurb on the back cover was “it is a deftly written novella “-
The many characters, that fill this small world of intrigue, even Aden and Radic and the dogs Nero and Jet and the mountain all are colourful and well formed. One could possibility recognise archetypes from Carl Jung’s collective unconscious but this is held lightly, This is not a philosophy book, it is a short psychological thriller to take to bed, or curl up one rainy afternoon and enjoy an escape for a few hours.
Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter says:
“Words are in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”
and Black Mountain has the magic of a good read.
I congratulate Carol and proudly declare Black Mountain launched.
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.’
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!
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
Published by Ginninderra Press
Reviewed by Judith O’Connor
This stylishly produced collection of some eighty poems,
with a particularly tasteful and pleasing cover, is just what it says – a plea to stop
our activities and busyness and start looking, listening and observing the world around us. The poet supplies us with any number of simple examples:
it’s a hard thing to love a rock
you need to receive it as a gift
gaze . . . (‘How to Love a Rock’)
. . . a fallen water tank; rusted blood red . . .
But we quickly see that the range of topics and inspiration,
is far wider and deeper than what at first may appear incidental.
The collection is cleverly arranged into eight separate categories,
taking in a wide sweep of the poet’s life and experiences.
I particularly enjoyed the verses inspired by outback Australia
for which the poet has borrowed (and referenced) the words of Mary McKillop
‘We are but Travellers Here’. Having trekked to the summit of Mt. Sondar and hiked in many of the poet’s footsteps (‘Ormiston Pound’), I was surprised and delighted to read her award winning ‘Daybreak over Mt. Sondar’ and its moving description of the dawn:
…in the beginning
air static as a nylon petticoat pulled over my hair
fingerprints of red ruby . . . (‘Daybreak over MT. Sondar’)
Every page brings fresh and, at times, challenging verses on a range of human emotions from ‘Almost Dawn’ with its sensuality:
… he turns
arms cocoon me
in an aura of warmth
his breath tingles
in the dip of my neck . . . (‘Almost Dawn’)
to ‘At the Nursing Home’:
… I fill the foot bath
my elbow checks the tepid water … (‘At the Nursing Home’)
Another of my favourites, ‘Sisters’:
… we lunch together
the milestone of another decade
and that word ‘remission’ a green shoot springing
from the scarred black earth…
But from being a poem full of depression and sorrow, it ends magnificently:
with our lust for life
toast with a glass of bubbly
Joie de vivre (‘Sisters’)
The poets voice changes to anger and outrage in other poems such as ‘Guantanamo Bay’ ( . . . this is a poem not to be read aloud; for it speaks of solitaire confinement …) and ‘War on Terror’ ( … it’s coming; through a hole in the air) along with poems reflecting visits to Japan and Fromelles.
Whatever the reader’s mood, quest or interest, these poems are sure to satisfy, surprise and inspire.