An exciting launch for Decima Wraxall by Colleen Keating.

An exciting launch, not of one book, not of two books, but a launch of three books by Decima Wraxall. And I was honoured to be oart of this afternoon.

Poetry books: Flame, and Glimmers of Light and  a memoir Stolen Fruit.

Thank you to Ginninderra Press for the beautiful books .

This can be called a back log due to a pandemic or it can be called passion, dedication and determination to writing. We called it the latter . Congratulations on a wonderful, warm and writer-enthused afternoon. As I said at the launch.

“This for sure is a monentous occasion. Finally, we are here to celebrate. We are gathered and rightly so Decima , for you have not allowed anything like pandemic or lockdowns  to stop your writing. You have transcendented inertia to be here today with three books to launch. We have looked forwardd for so long to this bubbly celebration.

Book Launch of Strands and Ripples, a poetry anthology by David Atkinson

It was an honour to be asked by David to launch his new collection of poetry, Strands and Ripples published by Ginninderra Press.  An excited group of poets, writers, readers, family  and friends  gathered in the Harbourview restaurent of the Golf Club at Northbridge with stunning view of a very blue harbour as the name suggested.   With enthusiasm for our first  gathering and launch  since lockdown and as it was  third time lucky (the launch having been postponed already twice  . . .  it made for an exciting event.
with the toasting of some bubbley to our writing in 2022 and a delicious afternoon tea.
‘In this, his second collection, David Atkinson continues his themes of memory, especially of growing up on a farm in southern NSW, and the natural world, including the wildlife and people that surrounded him then and do so now. In this collection David’s scope is also wider as he extends our perspectives on the human condition. His poems are sharp in their imagery and dramatic in their language. His forms range from the traditional to the stunning use of free verse. This book is highly recommended.’ – John Egan
‘David Atkinson enables us to see things in a new light. Every theme in this collection of poetry challenges us to let him show us aspects of life from a fresh perspective. Widely published in literary journals nationally and internationally, David’s poetry always repays a careful reading. It is with enthusiasm that I welcome this new collection.’
– Colleen Keating
‘David Atkinson’s latest collection is a cornucopia of the poetic spectrum; it confirms that he is one of Australia’s finest poets. David brings a deft touch to the human condition, celebrates the wonders of nature and takes a fresh look at memories. This is a worthwhile addition to any bookshelf.’ – Decima Wraxall
His poems have been published widely in Australia, the USA and the UK. David’s previous collection, The Ablation of Time, was published, also by Ginninderra Press, in 2018. He is a poet of memory, the human condition and the natural world.
978 1 76109 108 7, 120pp

Versions

Paperback

9781761091087
$25.00

 

 

 

LAUNCH SPEECH TO ENCHANT YOUR CURIOSITY 

Strands and Ripples by David Atkinson and published by Ginninderra Press

is launched by Colleen Keating

at Harbourvie Restaurent, Golf Club Northbridge.

It is a privilege for me to be asked by David to launch his new collection of poetry,  Strands and Ripples and we acknowledge Ginninderra Press for this exceptional  publication. The cover is very smart and the feel of the book is gorgeous. You must be proud David. And we are delighted for you. 

David is a fellow poet and friend. There are many here who know him in different ways; his family,

those part of his past working life and now his writing life. I know David in that capacity . . .working with him in groups, workshops and the U3A poetry appreciation group. 

David is a nationally and internationally published poet, many of his individual poems being published in 1journals over these past years and as a poet has won awards and commendations. I know he will be a bit shy in me saying this but in the past three months of this year 2021,  David has won two first place prizes in poetry. Firstly he has been awarded first place in the prestigious Western Australian Ros Spencer Competition for a wonderfully evocative and very Australian poem called Gang-gang and for a very poignant sonnet a well deserved  first place in the 2021 Scribes Writers awards  . . and that for two successive years. with a Commendation in the Ros Spencer Poetry Prize last year. and a highly prized  2nd place in the Tom Collins National Poetry Competition 2019 . . . And for those who were not aware earlier this year the exciting news that David was shortlisted and commended in the recent WB Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia. David this is a very notable achievement.  It is very affirming for us as writers to be honoured for the many hours we put into our creative pursuit  and we can take this opportunity to congratulate you on this coveted award.  

That poem surely will be the stimulus for the next book. 

 Thanks everyone .

We are in for a wonderful afternoon of  poetry about  memory, music , birds  even being shuffled and shackled by crowds at The Hermitage in St. Petersburg and much more. Michael and I loved the Russian tourist poems because we experienced the same  . . .  David . . .  I didn’t even see the black corner of the Rembrandt – being only 5 foot something and being shuffled along by the crowd.

WB Yeats writes of music and birds and some of you  may know his poem, The Second Coming. It begins:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

I specifically quoted Yeats because I feel  there is an empathy with him in David’s work. Of course Yeats lived in Ireland but he is often spoken of as a musical poet, with many of his poems now put to music and David is an Australian poet  who writes of music and birds and now is  commended in the WB Yeats award.  

 What I acclaim about David poems is how he seeks out his memory in music, the lyric  via the immediate, the local,  and turns it about like the falcon turning and widens it with a philosophical slant.  This idea is shown in the opening poem:

Birthday Ballot it begins with listening to the lyrics of a  Cold Chisel song,  with restless youth and it widens leaving the reader in a deep thoughtful moment:

‘Staring into the dappled darkness 

I touch the pain of a generation’

Many of us here are of that generation.  I had to pause after that poem. Take a breath in and a deep sigh out. . . That’s what a good poem does to us. Like music it taps in below the belt so to speak, stirs for a reaction and stays with us.

This insistent chord continues  with the prompts to the Rolling Stones  who ‘still can’t get no satisfaction’, the Beatle George Harrison in Weeping Guitar a gorgeous poem, and another, The Curve of her Shoulder where the poet looking back on teenage love widening out to the older, wiser poet reminiscing the lines from MacArthur Park and  lamenting ‘I’ll never have that recipe again.’

The touch of  beauty in sound continues  with many moments of outstanding poetry. The Camber of the Canter, a title I love, begins with a distant memory, coming to a climax with:

Every horse has an instinct for the way home.

You are in sight of the homestead 

when a shimmering blanket of sulphur-crested

cockatoos ripple from the oat stubble

I love these lines. Can you hear the ripple from the oat stubble?

 and here is another 

Grasshopper sizzle on the grill of summer.

A cross-cut saw of cockatoos

skates across the dawn : 

a billow of birds embroiders

the eastern sky

and

Bird of prey, blanched patchwork

on burnished bronze wings, 

soars on thermal air currents. 

Eerie call drifts on the up draught. 

Michael and I are there with you gazing in awe from our trip to the far north with the Fire birds and birds of prey 

David takes us there. 

To complement this I would like to read a poem,  The Flash of Indelible Pink’ page 41  David begins with a quote from a poem called Sentenced to Life  by Clive James, The Flash of Indelible Pink is on page 41  for those with a book.

We are told not to dwell in the past that’s not where we are going, but there is a wise saying, I couldn’t find the quote, but my memory says,  

‘By knowing the past you can understand the present which will inform your future.’   David takes short glances over his shoulder to the past and  he does this without sentimentality  and each time expands the memory to the present   An exquisite example of this is his poem The Scents of Memory:  With it’s smells and sounds it begins,

To recollect that day fifty years ago, a new year

of boarding school, recall the February train trip

the early morning farewell from the farm, 

fragrance of lavender Yardley,

of sleepy dressing gown  . . 

I will leave it to you to enjoy this poem as it shifts through the rear-vision mirror of the years. 

Another memory poem is Clotted Clag.

Who of us do not remember doing a school project on the piece of cardboard ?:

With care I place the pictures of Hereford cattle

extracted from a magazine located in the pile

I daub the images with homemade glue; . . . .and  later continues . . .

Visceral aroma, fingers immersed

in the innocence, of clotted  clag 

of childhood.

David shows his skills in crafting poetry  – sonnets, odes and villanelles which you will delight in. A villanelle is difficult to write and to sustain.  I will read one not only a villanelle but an eco-villanelle which pulls its punch by getting an environmental thought emphasised at a slant. 

Simply called Eco-Villanelle  it is on page 42 

Another quality I admire in David’s approach to poetry is his ability to take something and contrast both sides eg in his poem The Polarity of Mosquito the young work-experience student keen to do the research and suddenly finds nothing is black and white  . . . there are two sides to  everything.

David’s early years lived in the country, enriches and informs his poetry 

as he grapples with the life and death events  . . killing what has to be killed, the beauty and the terror of life and its paradox. The problem of Privet,  in his  clever metaphoric poem Standover Tactics, the flawed perfection of Pattersons Curse with its banquet for bees and its lethal damage for hungry cattle.  I admire how he grapples with the paradox . . . finding the balance in life and death, in decisions, in environment . David will later read to you  a poem where that frail balance of nature is always  present. 

And  I love his light hearted poems. One of these is Ode to a Straw Hat . . .

personifying his summer hat that sits patiently all winter at the rear window of the car. David takes us on a journey of the cycle of time and the seasons and it is his straw hat entertaining us. 

To finish I’d like to read, Soldered Strands on page 79  another of his juxtaposition of life poems

Let’s  today celebrate the hard journey of writing. Please join with me in congratulating David  as we together launch and welcome his new poetry book Strands and Ripples.  

 

Colleen Keating

Colleen Keating is the author of five books of poetry  including the award winning verse novel Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey.  Her most recent verse novel Olive Muriel Pink; her radical & idealistic life, has received a first very insightful review and has been highly acclaimed.  Her sixth collection,  Beachcomber will be published in early 2022.

She also has five chap books with Picaro Poets and  has co-edited two anthologies for the Women Writers Network, Rozelle.

For details on how to buy a copy of Strands and Ripples go to

ginninderrapress.com.au /our books

Compulsive Reader: Review of Olive Muriel Pink

Review of Olive Muriel Pink:

Her radical & idealistic life

A poetic journy

Colleen Keating

Ginninderra Press 

3rd September 2021 ISBN: 9781761091599, 320 pages, paperback, $40

by Beatriz Copello

I do not think there is a better way to honour a woman of the calibre of Olive Muriel Pink than to write a book of poetry about her life.  Colleen Keating has done just that, she has written a poetic journey about this unsung Australian heroine. 

With a sharp eye and lyric touch, the world of Olive Pink becomes alive, it is a passionate story told with knowledge. It is evident that the poet has invested years researching the life of Olive Pink. The poet says: “I have been researching, writing and thinking about Olive Pink for over a decade now.  The discoveries that come along the way – the portraits unveiled – are very stirring.”  

This collection covers many years in the life of Pink, it starts in 1884 and finishes in 1975. The book also has a foreword, a prologue and a chronology as well as notes and bibliography. The labour of love that went into writing this book would grant the author a doctorate.

The author in Notes explains that she aimed to write a book that fell between an accurate scholarly presentation of Olive Pink’s life and her own personal interpretation of it.

Olive Pink was a fighter for justice who advocated for the rights of First Nations People, she was also an anthropologist, artist and gardener. Keating from the first poem in the book alerts the readers about what they will encounter throughout the pages, in this excerpt from “Olive the pioneer” she writes:

Who is Olive?
She defied the silence
caused discomfort
annoyed the authorities.
Her letters shouted from the edge.
She heard budgerigar dreaming
and drummed to a different tune.
She pushed against the colonial tide.
If the answer is ‘eccentric’
in her death she will be twice dismissed. 

Who is Olive? History asks.
She broke the silence
her voice for the voiceless 
remembered the forgetting.
She visioned justice in the courts.
Her feet knew country.
She carried red dust
under the fingernails of her heart.
She listened to elders, learnt language
wrote down stories, sketched arid plants
medicinal, nutritional, ritual.
If the answer is ‘anthropologist’
in her death she will be twice honoured. 

If Keating wrote music, I would say she does not miss a beat, when she raises issues about Olive’s past, she does it with conviction and poignant comments, like in the following excerpt from “A new lodestone”:

The grim spectre of injustice
towards Aboriginal tribe
taunts Olive out of her grief
jolts her from self pity.
Like a silk petticoat pulled over her hair
the air is static in its darkness.
It bleeds through a colander of whitewash words

  • progress jobs, growth.

Its handprint blood-red.

The poet also utilizes very vivid imagery, the readers become Olive, we can see, smell, hear what she experiences.  Keating appeals to the senses, the following poem “Restless” illustrates this: 

In her dingy office Olive yearns
for the vast open country, large skies,
hazy horizons, a slung kettle hissing
and spitting its leak over the fire.
Burnt flesh and sizzle
of goanna still fill her nostrils.
Olive walks country in her sleep –
the pungent smell of camels
sweaty bodies, blazoned glare, flies
dust-blown storms.
That red dust under
the colour of her heart
and patter of Pitjantjatjara children
still running giggling beside her
lingers like the balm of an Indian summer.  

The poet has the skill to write about Olive’s powerful emotions without sentimentality or corniness, through these strong emotions readers can form a picture in their mind of Olive’s personality. The following excerpt from the poem titled “Heady days” is a good example of the Keating’s ability:

Olive is energised by academia.
The scissor-cut horizon
of her desert experience
challenges like a mirage.
She seizes every chance to argue,
‘The root cause is not malnutrition or disease –
They camouflage facts, treat the wrong symptoms.’
Heated discussion rises.
Angrily she fights for breath.
‘Even the most ignorant know the problems –
White man’s aggression, sexual abuse
fear, venereal disease, land dispossession.
We like to deride these facts.’
She flushes, her neck prickles as she continuous,
‘Full-bloods need their own protected country
not mission reserves.’
Her tone is strident.
‘Daily handouts from stations
Keep them tied to white man power.’

Olive Pink struggled all her life to be able to do what men were able to do, in the following poem “High Hopes” Keating captures this desire but also very cleverly imagines her mood in such a difficult situation.

Over dinner her enthusiasm bubbles.
‘After my thesis I plan
a full year of research among the Arrernte’
she confidently tells the Professor
and others grouped around the table.
‘I would like to be included
in your next museum expedition.
It will reduce my research expenses 
and my anthropology will enhance the group.’
Silence.
Unease around the room
as lightening awaits a clap of thunder.
Awkward shifts and exchanged glances
the embarrassed clearing of throats.
From her left in a deep tone,
‘That would not be possible …
‘But you took Ted Strehlow on your trip last year!’
‘… for a woman,’ mumbles the professor.
Exposed, Olive’s heart races.
She hopes they don’t notice the burn
of her cheeks.
She avoids eye contact
gazes out as one with miles to go
restless to be on her way.
She needs desert air.
‘Why does gender cause such heart break?’
she broods into the night.
‘Why wasn’t I born a man.”

I would like to congratulate Colleen Keating not only for writing this incredible book but also for honouring a woman from the past which like many other Australian heroines are often forgotten or not given credit for their achievements. Reading about Olive Muriel Pink will inspire you and give you strength to struggle to achieve your aims.

About the Reviewer: Dr Beatriz Copello is a former member of NSW Writers Centre Management Committee, she writes poetry, reviews, fiction and plays. The author’s poetry books are: Women Souls and Shadows, Meditations At the Edge of a Dream, Flowering Roots, Under the Gums Long Shade, and Lo Irrevocable del Halcon (In Spanish).  Beatriz’s poetry has been published in literary journals such as Southerly and Australian Women’s Book Review and in many feminist publications.  She has read her poetry at events organised by the Sydney Writers Festival, the NSW Writers Centre, the Multicultural Arts Alliance, Refugee Week Committee, Humboldt University (USA), Ubud (Bali) Writers Festival.

 

 

The Climb Back Poems for Ted by Pip Griffin

Congratulations to my friend Pip Griffin. Her new poetry collection  The Climb Back  Poems for Ted is up on the Ginninderra  Press web site.   A worthy read  . . . .’these passionate poems open out and touch us with a consoling grief’
and as I wrote,
 ‘For those of us who know life is a gift and are called to the hard work of hope, The Climb Back is invaluable.’
Highly recommended
There is a fierce tenderness in these poems of happy remembrance and devastating sorrow. With so much love expressed so beautifully in the first half of the book, we instinctively fear what is to come, as if all that light cast shadows across our path. Though the death of a loved partner – also a poet – is deeply personal, these passionate poems open out and touch us with a consoling grief.’ – Paul Kane
‘”Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, stains the white radiance of eternity.” Percy Bysshe Shelley. From the first poem that speaks of the ‘delicate prints of oystercatchers’ to the comfort of a ragged dressing gown, the protective love of the kahu-feather cloak and the ‘butcher-bird that perches very close’, Pip, as a poet and wordsmith transports us into an experience that shines multicoloured with the beauty of a stained-glass window. Each poem is a facet that adds to the mosaic, each poem a gentle play of light, illuminating page by page. For those of us who know life is a gift and are called to the hard work of hope, The Climb Back is invaluable.’ – Colleen Keating
‘Poignant, sensual, spiritual, sorrowful, and funny, Pip Griffin’s latest poetry collection The Climb Back encompasses a life richly lived. What is not to admire about a poet who can write lines as diverse as ‘the shags open their sodden wings like flashers’ raincoats’ and ‘cherry trees in blossom line the streets like flower girls at a wedding’. This book is a hymn to New Zealand, Pip’s homeland, and a celebration of its landscape, wildlife and the Maori language. But even above this, it is a memorial to Ted, her friend, lover and fellow poet. If he were still here, I’d be clinking my glass with his, to celebrate her achievement.’ – Mark Mahemoff
978 1 76109 191 9, 92pp

Versions

Paperback

9781761091919
$22.50

https://www.ginninderrapress.com.au/store.php?product/page/2356/Pip+Griffin+/+The+Climb+Back

Hildegard of Bingen on the pedestal all week on the ABC Classic with Martin Buzacott

What a tribute to Hildegard of Bingen  being chosen  by Martin Buzacott for the pedestal all this week dedicated to mental health.  Listen to ABC  Classic at 10 am  each day this week to lift your spirits.
Her story,  Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey by Colleen Keating is available from Ginninderra Press 
and has been acclaimed ‘ a masterpiece’

As the host Martin Buzacott says :

A week of Hildegard’s music for

Health and healing

Comfort and consolation

Mystic marvel

Musical adventurer

Hildegard of Bingen

delivering eternal hope.

for us in this week 11th to 15th October 2021  . . .also the week we come out of lockdown with all its possibilities and uncertainties.

 

The story of Hildegard of Bingen as told by Colleen Keating .

Become immersed in her environment, feel her joys and suffering, loves, passions, betrayals and loss. Live with Hildegard, a medieval mystic and prophet  through her more them 80 years and be renewed with hope. It has taken a thousand years for her to be acclaimed. 

What a treat and how wonderful in Mental Health Week Hildegard is being acknowledged for her music, her poetry,  thoughts of health  and healing and caring for her Abbeys conscious of well being and all this in the 11th-12th century.

 

Olive Muriel Pink: her radical & idealistic Life by Colleen Keating

PRESS RELEASE:  Olive Muriel Pink: her radical and idealistic life 

Some good news. My new book has arrived. Olive Muriel Pink: her radical & Idealistic life. An Australian women’s story that after you have read it you will want your friends to do the same.  Thank you to Ginninderra Press & the many that have supported me on this long but wonderful journey.

” It is a triumph for reconciliation and will surely enter the
the annals of Australian literature.’
Emeritus Professor Lyndall Ryan AM FAHA

Colleen Keating brings Olive Muriel Pink’s significant, neglected history
to life with distinctive, beautiful imagery. – Pip Griffin, poet.

Available to buy www.ginninderrapress.com.au

Strands and Ripples by David Atkinson to be launched by Colleen Keating

 

 

A great privilege to be asked to launch David Atkinson’s second book of poetry Strands and Ripples, published by Ginninderra Press.  To be launched on Sunday 11 July 2021.

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‘In this, his second collection, David Atkinson continues his themes of memory, especially of growing up on a farm in southern NSW, and the natural world, including the wildlife and people that surrounded him then and do so now. In this collection David’s scope is also wider as he extends our perspectives on the human condition. His poems are sharp in their imagery and dramatic in their language. His forms range from the traditional to the stunning use of free verse. This book is highly recommended.’ – John Egan
‘David Atkinson enables us to see things in a new light. Every theme in this collection of poetry challenges us to let him show us aspects of life from a fresh perspective. Widely published in literary journals nationally and internationally, David’s poetry always repays a careful reading. It is with enthusiasm that I welcome this new collection.’
Colleen Keating
‘David Atkinson’s latest collection is a cornucopia of the poetic spectrum; it confirms that he is one of Australia’s finest poets. David brings a deft touch to the human condition, celebrates the wonders of nature and takes a fresh look at memories. This is a worthwhile addition to any bookshelf.’ – Decima Wraxall
David Atkinson is a retired lawyer who lives in Sydney. His poems have been published widely in Australia, the USA and the UK. David’s previous collection, The Ablation of Time, was published, also by Ginninderra Press, in 2018. He is a poet of memory, the human condition and the natural world.
978 1 76109 108 7, 120pp
Now up on the web site and for sale. Highly recommended

Versions

Paperback

9781761091087
$25.00

 

Ginninderra Press sends us exciting mail

 

You have Mail

How exciting, double exciting,  to receive two emails one after the other, from the award winning publisher Stephen Matthews OAM  at Ginninderra Press regarding our poem entries for  Ginninderra Press’ new anthology Milestones. 

Michael and I are both  thrilled to have our poems:  

cherishing the moments by Colleen Keating

Reset by Michael Keating 

selected for inclusion.

Hello Michael,

Thank you for submitting a poem for inclusion in our 25th-anniversary anthology Milestones. I’m delighted to inform you that your poem has been selected for inclusion in the book. In due course, you will receive a proof to check before publication. Covid permitting, we hope to launch the book later this year.

Regards,

Stephen

Hello Colleen,

Thank you for submitting a poem for inclusion in our 25th-anniversary anthology Milestones. I’m delighted to inform you that your poem has been selected for inclusion in the book. In due course, you will receive a proof to check before publication. Covid permitting, we hope to launch the book later this year.

Regards,

Stephen

(Stephen Matthews  and yours truly at the launch of Mountain Secrets)

 

Just reflecting . . .

I have been priveleged to have a poem in each of these past Anthologies :

Michael after reading a poem at the Writers Festival in May 2018 at Varuna Writing Centre Katoomba

in the autumnal beauty of the Blue Mountains NSW

The Crow edited by Joan Fenney

 

I am thrilled to have one of my recent poems  written this last February called Australia Day chosen to be in the next  poetry journal from South Australia called The Crow. Thank you to the editor Joan Fenney for creating this space for Australian poets.  

The Crow is published  biannually – June and December. by Ginninderra Press. Another initiative of the wonderful team there. Thank you Stephen Matthews OAM 

Crow – Ginninderra Press 

Soft Gaze by Colleen & Michael Keating

 

Soft Gaze our new Picaro Press book has just been released. Thank you to  Brenda Eldridge and Stephen Matthews at Ginninderra Press.. This is our second collaborative effort and we found our poetry blended very well to create this beautiful collection.

We are proud of the cover we have titled  ‘still and still moving‘ a photograph taken by our daughter, Jessica.   As she walked on the beach , she  observed the sand designs on the ebbing tide. One needs attention and the art of  soft gazing to  see this phenomena and  once seen of course  it is never unseen. One can never walk again on the beach and not watch for  the intricate designs the sand and water makes at their edge.   Thanks Jessica.

The dedication reads:
For our children and their partners –
the role models for our grandchildren.

Michael’s poem  gives the title to the collection

Soft Gaze
by Michael Keating

On this rim of the Pacific
an alfresco café fills and empties
swirls with chatter and laughter.
I allow my thoughts to drift.

On the rumpled velvet water
a canoeist eases into view
captures centre stage
then fades out of sight.

Folded against a cloud-gripped sky
the ocean is polished, gunmetal grey.
Pale pockets quilt the surface
where the sun probes to burn through.

The horizon arcs –
a tightrope where a coal bulker crosses.
A sharp scurry of seagulls
reframes my attention.