REVIEW of The Dinner Party: A poetic response by Denise O’Hagan

The Dinner Party:  A poetic response by Colleen Keating (Ginninderra Press 2023)  reviewed by Denise O’Hagan

. . . we revive your memory

and honour you  . . .

You chose to be empowered

before women were visible.   (p.46)

These lines, addressed to Marcella of Rome, epitomise the spirit behind Keating’s latest collection, The Dinner party. A poetic response, released by Adelaide-based publisher, Ginninderra Press. During the course of its 144 pages –  substantial by poetry book standards – Keating fleshes out some of history’s most gifted and courageous women, rescuing them from the obscurity and oppression to which ‘patriarchy’s wilful effort’ has traditionally consigned them, and restoring them to centre stage.

The book is a poetic response to the iconic art  installation by American feminist artist, Judy Chicago (created 1974-1979), of a large triangular dinner table set for, and dramatically commemorating, thirty-nine influential women drawn from history and mythology.

The poet’s attentiveness to the installation is clear: she structures her book into three ‘wings’, representing three eras from the ancient world through to the beginnings of the women’s revolution, each of which is devoted to thirteen women from areas as diverse as the arts and activism to medicine and music.

The women are vividly evoked in all their multilayered complexity. We meet the ancient Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar, known for her jealous nature as much as for her embodiment of love and fertility, whose

‘honeyed mouth
turns venomous at a whim’,

revolutionary artist Artemisia Gentileschi, 
‘a Baroque prescience of women’s advocacy’

who was lost  to history for 400 years’ and women rights activist Mary Wollstonecraft, whose voice

‘was a luminous candle
in a darkness of patriarchy.’

These imaginative recreations are complemented by notes on the background of each woman, and a detailed bibliography.

This is a powerful yet sensitive breathing of lyrical life into significant historical women, and an eloquent contribution to feminist literature. As its author points out

’The challenge is ongoing. There are still many injustices enacted against women. Domestic violence is at an all time high.’

The table is set, the dinner party poised to happen – and the book places us on the cusp of what promises to be a spirited dinner party!

I would urge you, the reader, to take up Keating’s invitation to immerse yourself in this remarkable collection and in so doing, honour the women ‘on whose shoulders we stand’.

To purchase The Dinner Party

or please order from your favourite online seller: print or ebook.

About Denise O’Hagan  Editor and writer

Born and raised in Italy, Denise lived in the UK before emigrating to Sydney, Australia.

After completing a Masters in Bibliography and Textual Criticism at Leeds University, she worked as an editor with various publishing houses including Collins, Heinemann and Routledge in London, and Horwitz Educational and Cambridge University Press in Sydney, where she was also consulting editor with the State Library of NSW.

She set up her own imprint Black Quill Press in 2015 to publish her late mother’s books: Jerome & His Women (2015), shortlisted for the Institute of Professional Editors’ Rosanne Fitzgibbon Editorial Award (the ‘Rosie’), and a second revised edition of A Roman Death (2017), originally published by Macmillan. Her poetry is published widely in Australia and internationally. Recipient of the Dalkey Poetry Prize, she has also been shortlisted in various awards including the Australian Catholic University Poetry Prize, the Robert Graves Poetry Prize (UK), the Plough Writing Prize (UK) and the Proverse International Poetry Prize (Hong Kong). She was Poetry Editor for Australia/New Zealand for Irish literary journal The Blue Nib until 2020. Her poetry collections include The Beating Heart (Ginninderra Press 2020), shortlisted for the Society of Women Writers NSW Book Awards 2022, and Anamnesis (Recent Work Press 2022), finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Award (Poetry) 2023 and shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Award (Poetry) 2023.


It was the prevailing attitude in the 1960s that women had no history. There were no women’s studies, nothing.’ Judy Chicago, creator of the iconic art installation The Dinner Party.

The Dinner Party by the talented poet Colleen Keating brings to light, through beautiful lyrical poetry, what for centuries has been ignored: the power and strength of women. Very little has been made known about the lives of influential women of the past, as women’s lived experience has been suppressed, even erased from history. In this collection, the poet resuscitates the experience of women from prehistory to women’s twentieth-century revolution. Her poetry traces the lives of women who demonstrated their influence, in every field including philosophy, medicine, writing, art, astronomy, suffragists and justice warriors who fought for recognition. Women who gave their lives, suffered, broke barriers, knocked down walls, smashed glass ceilings, pried open doors, who defied patriarchy in some way for all of us. Still today as women are written into history, the struggle for our reckoning towards equality and respect continues. A must-read book that honours women; women who would not be silent.’ – Dr Beatriz Copello
‘With impeccable research and deep empathy, Colleen Keating continues her powerful poetic contribution to feminist literature with the celebration of thirty-nine of the more than a thousand women forgotten, marginalised or written out of Western history. A remarkable and beautifully imagined work.’ – Pip Griffin
978 1 76109 530 6, 144pp




Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

Cover image of Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

The John Hopkins University Press

December 2023

Very honoured and excitied to declare I have a poem chosen for the latest Spiritus Journal .  It maskes me Internationally published , not a new thing as my Hildegard poetry is published in Germany and USA but it is a highlight for 2023.  The poem  is From the Dust of Stars , shortlisted in the SWW  National Poetry  Competition  and now to be published. 

Interim Editor :

The Crow edited by Brenda Eldridge publ. Ginninderra Press


Excited to have my poem Exodus chosen tor The Crow. Thank you Brenda and Ginninderra Press .

The Crow is a Pocket Poets collection of poetry edited by Brenda Eldridge at Ginninderra Press.  It might be small but it pulls a punch in a very reflective way.

A quarterly poetry journal published in March, June, September and December each year it has become a coveted journal to be chosen as an entry.

In the introduction From the Editor,  Brenda Eldridge  writes, 

“The results of the recent referendum have been a sobering  wake-up call for Australians. It prompts the question Who are Australians?”

And I like to think that our poetry might struggle with the way through all this  into the answer and find a way into the future and maybe sometime one day we  as a nation will find the oneness many of us wish for and we will find the air beneath our wings . 

My poem  exodus is set in with  many well known poets and next to a well known Canberrian poet Hazel Hall. 

So once again I say thankyou to Brenda and Ginninderra for giving us another place to publish  our work. Thnks Brenda for  your affirmation and support of poets.








The American poet Jane Hirchfield  says the secret title of every poem is tenderness and a poem that hasn’t found it through the anger or despair or bewilderment  is probably mot there yet . She said in an interview I heard, that one stitch in a fabric of rant  such as the bowing to beauty, grief, compassion or kinship allows one to get up the next morning and open their eyes.  And we must find a way to that. 

When we become disillusioned with our world view, the framework  we see through, that for so long has ‘supported,’ ‘comforted’  ‘controlled’ us with its surety  be it an institution of religion, marriage, belief etc. it can be hard to change. We actually can become stuck and we can let ourselves die inside . There is a saying found on a tombstone 

Here lies . . . .
died at 45
buried at 75.

Yet if we jump from the edge we can  find we fly . The hard part is one cannot fly until they jump  and one cannot jump till they are either pushed or better, feel trustful or supported by love  to do it. 


so she left her boats behind
took courage to leave familiar shores
broke the yoke of fear 
untethered the bridle
and broke the bondage of institutional rule
that held her safe for decades

stepped into the ocean deep
and found herself battered  bruised 
buffeted    till finally buoyed by joy 
of trees and flowers light and moon and seas
like a fledgling bird leaving its nest 
she found the air beneath her wings 

From the Dust of Stars by Colleen Keating Nov. 2023 Ginninderra Press

Colleen Keating / From the Dust of Stars

Pocket Poets 216


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‘You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.’

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A poem for a way of life

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Thank you to Ginninderra Press especially Brenda Eldridge  affirming and supporting the publication of my new poetry. It includes the poem From the Dust of Stars  which was short listed in the recent National Poetry Competition 2023 Giving Women a Voice.  I hope you can buy it and enjoy. 

️ ️️️️    ️️️️



on drifting cloud
balancing act
Don’t Look at the Islands
after you left
From the dust of stars
the armchair
out of control Rock-hopping
beach erosion
death by stealth
beach closed
A second chance…

Launch of No Salami Fairy Bread by Beatriz Copello in Rockford Street Review by CK


as published in the Rochford Street Review thanks  to editors: Mark Roberts and Linda dair Octobrr 28th 2023


The Launch of  No Salami Fairy Bread by Beatriz Copello :  launched on the 6th October 2023 by Colleen Keating at Gleebooks, Sydney.

Thank you Angela . I too,  gratefully acknowledge and pay respects to our First Peoples. We are reminded of the deep history of the lands, on which we meet and I too support a yes to the  constitutional voice from the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

 Friends, It’s a privilege to be asked by Beatriz to launch her new collection of poetry, No Salami Fairy Bread and I hope you all get a chance to buy a copy and enjoy reading this 

poetic journey.  The cover is very smart and the feel of the book is gorgeous. You must be proud Beatriz and we are delighted for you  and we are here as your supporters. 

I would like too to acknowledge Ginninderra Press for their dedication to poetry and for publishing this powerful story.

Dr. Beatriz Copello is a published Australian writer,  poet,  playwright and psychologist with a rich and colourful Argentinian heritage.  Her fiction and poetry have been published nationally and internationally, in literary journals such as Southerly and Australian Women’s Book Review, and in anthologies and feminist publications.

There are many of you here who know Beatriz in different ways, family, friends, colleagues, and from her writing life. I know Beatriz in that capacity  a fellow poet. . . she is an awesome reviewer of books and  I have found her to be fair, affirming and astute especially as our touchstone  and  affirming bond has been in feminist writing

And this evening how special to gather to acclaim Beatriz ’s latest poetry collection No Salami Fairy Bread. This is not an ordinary collection of poetry . It is the story of a life in poetry,  a funny and poignant story written in poetic form. It follows the poets migratory life as a young woman, without English, who had to carry the early resistance of family shown in an  early poem Dolls:

‘Mum, I want to take to Australian 

my doll Pepita and the one that walks

also, the one that wees  . . . 

and you know

I cannot sleep with out my teddy’

‘Only one dolly you can take.

You must choose with care’

‘I hate Australia. I don’t want to go.

I want to keep all my dolls.

Why can’t we stay here.?’

She was mother, daughter, sister, wife and lover becoming a modern woman through adversity,  life’s struggles  hopes and  at times despair. It is about a dream of living a free life in a new country.  

As Beatriz will admit she was no saint facing the challenges of Sydney in the 70’s even with the challenge of fidelity as she struggled to be an independent modern woman embracing a new culture within the beautiful city of Sydney  It is a page turner  as we follow how the poet made her dream a reality.  The story of  braving the journey to a new world bringing her family with all the ups and downs that entails. 

And finally on a bigger scale it is about diversity and inclusivity. i will read  a little from the poem Defiance:  

Don’t tell your in-laws

that you work as a waitress

dressed up as an Indian. They’ll

think we have all gone mad

 . . .and your husband 

he’s so angry and annoyed. 

Give up that silly job!’

Recriminated my mother.   . . .

‘Your husband will leave you,

your children will hate you.

You’ll be left in your own.’

‘I know what i want.

I know where I’m going.

don’t worry about me. . . 

Some of the poems are very cutting and painful and I love the immediacy of poetry and how it makes you feel as you read. 

In one  poem she writes: 

 I lie in bed as if shrouded 

by the clean white sheets. 

i am dead to my past, 

alive in the present 

 breathing in new sensations, 

excitement, surprises 

the joy of the new. … and with fright I shiver 

What have I done?  

i have dragged my whole family

into a world so foreign 

so different, so unusual. . .

One of the great gifts of poetry is its ability to explore  and hold the paradox between anticipation, fear, betrayal, hope, joy, acceptance . 

I love the the new awareness in poems like It’s Time. 

The tea lady is wearing

 a badge on her coat.

it says IT”S TIME.

and later, 

we sit on the patio

of the pub next door

and we drink beer and smoke.

She tells me of Whitlam 

his vision and dreams   . . ‘

You should know about Al grassy

he is all for the ‘wogs .

 I will read  one last poem I Learnt :

 . . .And I went to that session

and more, many more.

I learnt about exploitation

about men’s intentions,

their power, their control

and the way in which women were oppressed . 

I marched in the streets 

carrying banners  tat said,

Not the church

not the state

let the women

choose their fate. The girls enjoyed the chanting

when I took them on our marches. I shocked my husband

mu mother, my family

with all my new beliefs.

As time passed, I realised 

that my life was only mine.

I packed a case for the girls and I 

and we left for a new life,

somewhere in Ryde, 

near Macquarie , my uni

where i had been accepted 

to study for a BA

majoring in Psychology 

We are privileged to be part of this unfolding  journey, the future becoming of a young naive woman  who looked into an unknown future, and stepped out, held on to a resilience to keep moving forward  like the the story of the cocoon to a beautiful butterfly with silver wings that become stronger and stronger .  

We know the end of this story as we have the resilient and lovingly beautiful Dr. Beatriz  Copello  here with us today .(Call Beatriz forward) 

However You will have to buy and read No Salami  Fairy Bread  to find out how this brave woman made it to be standing here next to me today. 

 Let’s  now celebrate the hard and lonely journey of writing.  Beatriz is a beacon of hope for us all on our journeys and for many of us as writers    a reminder that we are all travellers on this remarkable journey of life  seeking our own ‘fairy bread’ our own place of acceptance and our own home , Please join with me in congratulating Dr. Beatriz Copello as we together launch and welcome her new poetry book No Salami Fairy Bread.

Colleen Keating


Colleen Keating is a Sydney-based poet. Her writing explores the paradox and wonder of nature with harsh realities of life, justice , equality and the increasing threat to our natural environment. Colleen has published six collections of poetry, including two award-winning verse novels, Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey and Olive Muriel Pink: her radical & idealistic life. Her newly published book (2023) is The Dinner Party: A poetic reflection with Ginninderra Press. Colleen writes on Ku-Ring-Gai land in Sydney and Darkinjung on the Central Coast of NSW.

No Salami Fairy Bread by Beatriz Copello is available from Ginninderra Press



Opus: A life in music by Pip Griffin

 The award winning poet Pip Griffin delighted me with one of the first copies of her new poetry collection,

A life with music

Using a creative metaphor, I am proud to say I was one of the midwives in its  creative  growth and  Pip’s  birthing of the book.   The joys and nurturing of music in our lives  always came through as Pip’s poetic ideas grew .

A  great combination of life and music, a mood and a mode,  a singular voice,  that draws her readers like me to each new poem she writes. 
I am thrilled for Pip and honoured to be her friend.
 Opus: A life with music is a stunning collection, beautifully written and withheld.’ – Libby Sommer
‘“Through music, we can say what we didn’t even know we felt.” – Ed Le Brocq. What more powerful way to reflect on your journey of life than entwined with the memory of music. Exquisitely wrought, Opus gives us snapshots, sometimes softened, sometimes shocking but always honed and beautifully crafted, revealing a deep perception and intimacy as we have come to know of Pip Griffin’s poetry.’ – Colleen Keating
‘Pip Griffin’s Opus is a gently written verse memoir of her childhood in New Zealand to her mature years in Australia. References to Chopin, Mahler, Gustav Holst, Elvis Presley and many others justify its subtitle, “a life with music”. Touches of sadness, including her partner’s death and her mother’s thwarted dreams, balance the collection’s positive tone. This is poetry to read over a few winter evenings by the fire or summer afternoons in the shade of a tree.’ – Norm Neill
Opus is Pip Griffin’s eighth poetry publication. Her books include Virginia & Katherine: The Secret Diaries (Pohutukawa Press 2022), Winner, Society of Women Writers NSW Book Awards (poetry) 2022; Margaret Caro, the extraordinary life of a pioneering dentist (Pohutukawa Press 2020) Highly Commended, Society of Women Writers NSW Book Awards (poetry) 2020; Mood Indigo (Picaro Poets 2019) with Colleen Keating and The Climb Back: poems for Ted (Ginninderra Press 2021).
Two of Pip’s poems Libertango and The Dave Brubeck Quartet were published in the  recent
Women’s Ink,  Autumn 2023


One winter’s evening
in an old asylum’s grounds
there’s a hub of warmth –
coffee, conversation, music

where a diminutive young woman
dances her bow across her double bass
syncopating with guitar
playing the Libertango.

They have the audience –
folk followers, musicians
poets, singers
maybe even shades of troubled souls

clapping, tapping their feet
swaying, smiling
surrendering their bodies to the seductive beat
of a sultry Buenos Aires night.

Pip Griffin

The Dave Brubeck Quartet

At twenty she shares a flat with friends
in half a house that clambers up the hill in Thorndon

adds a Brubeck record to her Bach and Brahms
buys a ticket to his Town Hall concert

and sits alone amongst expectant fans
taut as drum skins begging to be played.

Brain on fire with crooked rhythms
her body jitterbugs to teasing riffs

the dry martini saxophone stirs her spine
dizzying drumming pummels her solar plexus

and there is Brubeck – bespectacled face beaming
striding syncopated chords across the keyboard.

Pip Griffin

available through ginninderrapress/our books

978 1 76109 570 2, 86pp



 Pip is waiting for reviews of Opus: A life in music  but I share one early,  very special response from a friend that was one of the first readers of Opus and found it an enrichment to her life. What more beautiful words can one say.
Then, along comes Opus. Start to read. Read, read, read to the end. Close the book. Hold it in my hand. It’s like a living, breathing thing. Reading Opus has left me with the distinct impression I’ve been allowed into my dear friend’s inner circle.
The music references are genuinely intertwined with the sensuousness being evoked, and the life’s chapters being retold. 
If I can get to particulars, dear Pip, it’s the frankness about your childhood, teenage life, distant siblings, old and troubled parents, that infuses your writing with such authenticity. My family experience was similar in some aspects, but I could never write about it in such an honest way. The music accompanying each chapter brings enrichment to the experience of reading your words, and moves the story of your ‘life with music’ along at a healthy pace, and carries the reader with you.
I’ll treasure your Opus, Pip, so thank you for your gift.

Of Moments and Days by Graham Wood publ. Ginninderra Press

Of Moments and Days by Graham Wood published by Ginninderra Press.  There was an excited  buzz as we entered  room 4 at the Hornsby Shire Library this afternoon, Sunday, July  23rd , 2023.  The poet,  Graham Wood greeted  us  at the door and we bought his new book, Of Moments and Days. The launch began with the poet  Peter Porter  welcoming us . The well known poet,  Martin Langford spoke poignantly about time  and life in a very philosophical way. You could’ve heard a pin drop as everyone waited upon his words.

And then we were read to  . . .Graham’s poetry  . . . poignant  as I wiped awa  a tear listening to the poem Centenary, laughing out loud with the poem Policy Launch, warm humour and memory of the poem The Day that Gough Got In.  I am excited to get the time to sit down and enjoy  Grahams very sensitive poetry.

An Important Note  Graham makes:

 An sincere thank you to Stephen Matthews OAM and Brenda Eldridge of Ginninderra Press for the opportunity of publication, their encouragement in doing so, and the considerable efforts they make in bringing Ginninderra Press poetry publications to fruition. 

In this, his first full collection of poems, Graham Wood considers some of the mysteries involved in time and memory. He does this obliquely rather than directly, in a glancing way. Many of the poems focus on the particular moments of experience that our memories are able to capture and preserve. Some are like snapshots or small movies, often suffused with a quirky humour. Others are more serious in tone and reach, but always retaining a lightness of touch. Graham has lived in Sydney for most of his life, after half a childhood in country New South Wales. His poems have been published in Australian and international journals and anthologies, and on a number of poetry websites. Ginninderra Press also published five of his poetry chapbooks over 2021-2022.
978 1 76109 528 3, 108pp



Between Two Worlds by Gwen Bitti published by Ginninderra Press

The launch of Gwen Bitti ‘s first book  Between Two Worlds  at Hornby Shire Library  was a very happy and affirming evening  amidst  family and friends,.  For Gwen it was a very proud moment.

It was  an honour to be Gwen’s  MC and  to introduce her launcher, the well known playwright  Nick Bleszynski.

Gwen Bitti born with a facial caul, in Calcutta, India, migrates to Australia with her family when she is sixteen. She returns to her birth land for a visit some years later. On her arrival she is jolted into a new perspective and with fresh insight, sets off on a quest. The motif of her enigmatic caul is woven throughout her memoir as she draws together the threads of stories of her family and childhood to discover the truth.

‘In the author’s sharp observations and evocative authentic recreation of people and places immerses the reader in the story and gives an added dimension to this page-turner. Moments of violence, insurgency, fear, lies, secrecy and escape are palpable alongside the comfortable lifestyle, and the privilege and status of this Anglo-Indian family.’ – Dr Sharon Rundle, writer and editor
‘From the opening paragraph of this memoir, I was hooked.’ – Emerita Professor Di Yerbury, AO. Chair, International Judging Panel, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 1989 and 1990
‘Poignant and beautifully articulated – the struggle within the human soul as it searches for that most important of things – identity.’ – Nick Bleszynski, author/screenwriter, and director
‘Gwen…bringing India vividly alive for the reader.’ – Emerita Professor Elizabeth Webby
978 1 76109 537 5, 222p




MC – Colleen Keating

Thank you, Rhonda for your warm introduction to this comfortable and now very modern Hornsby Library, and for hosting this wonderful Meet the Author and Book Launch event. 

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet this evening, the Dharug and Ku-Ring-Gai peoples who first settled along this northern escarpment, south of the Hawkesbury River many thousands of years ago. I pay respects to elders and story tellers past, present and emerging. 

Warami the Dharug words for good to see you!  Welcome.

Good evening, everyone. Welcome to a very special night for Gwen Bitti and her evocative and intensely engaging Memoir, Between Two Worlds.

My name is Colleen Keating, author, poet and Gwen’s friend. I will be Emcee this evening.

Apologies have been received from Emerita Professor, Di Yerbury, AO and Hornsby Shire Mayor, the honorable Phillip Ruddock.

On behalf of Gwen, I extend a very warm welcome to:

Gwen’s family, and big hugs to Gwen’s oldest grandson, six-year-old Leo and her only granddaughter, four- year-old Luna. The other three little ones, Zachary, Connor and Raphael are tucked away in bed. 

I also warmly welcome:

Nan Horne, former Mayor of Hornsby Shire Council and Gwen’s long-time friend.

Members and friends from:

The Society of Women Writers, NSW.

Women Writers Network, Writing NSW, Lilyfield 

Turramurra Writers 

White Pebbles Haiku group, and Tanka poets

Hornsby  Bookclub

Members of the former committees of Cherrybrook Community and Cultural Centre and Gumnut Community Centre.

And friends from all walks of life.

 It is wonderful to see you here. 

It is now my pleasure, to introduce you to Nick Bles zyn ski who will speak to and launch Gwen’s book, Between Two Worlds 

Nick has spent 40 years in the media industry as a film-maker. He is a best-selling author of three books, his most notable being, ‘Shoot Straight you Bastards’ about the trial and execution of Australian icon, Breaker Morant. Nick has been a journalist and PR advisor. As a writer/director he has worked at the ITV Network, Channel 4 and 5 in the UK, MTV New York. In Australia, he has worked on the National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, History Channel, the ABC, Channel 7 and 9. He is a screen & media teacher at TAFE and NIDA.

Please welcome Nick  Bleszynski. 









Thank you for being here and please enjoy the rest of your evening.

The Dinner Party by Colleen Keating is available now from Ginninderra Press /books  and scroll down to The Dinner Party



                        WHO DEFIED SILENCE





Recorded history abandoned women and they abandoned history leaving it motherless and unbothered

This is part of the long journey to reclaim the feminine in our worldly story. Then and only then might we turn this 21st  century around 

‘It was the prevailing attitude in the 1960s that women had no history. There were no women’s studies, nothing.’ – Judy Chicago, creator of the iconic art installation The Dinner Party, 2017
The Dinner Party by the talented poet Colleen Keating brings to light, through beautiful lyrical poetry, what for centuries has been ignored: the power and strength of women. Very little has been made known about the lives of influential women of the past, as women’s lived experience has been suppressed, even erased from history. In this collection, the poet resuscitates the experience of women from prehistory to women’s twentieth-century revolution. Her poetry traces the lives of women who demonstrated their influence, in every field including philosophy, medicine, writing, art, astronomy, suffragists and justice warriors who fought for recognition. Women who gave their lives, suffered, broke barriers, knocked down walls, smashed glass ceilings, pried open doors, who defied patriarchy in some way for all of us. Still today as women are written into history, the struggle for our reckoning towards equality and respect continues. A must-read book that honours women; women who would not be silent.’
Dr Beatriz Copello
‘With impeccable research and deep empathy, Colleen Keating continues her powerful poetic contribution to feminist literature with the celebration of thirty-nine of the more than a thousand women forgotten, marginalised or written out of Western history. A remarkable and beautifully imagined work.’  – Pip Griffin
978 1 76109 530 6, 144pp




Vale John Egan poet, mentor and friend by Colleen Keating

9th July 1949 – 14th April 2023  Vale

Brenda Eldridge (Ginninderra Press)  wrote of John:

We were deeply shocked and saddened to hear the news that John Egan died on Friday 14 April 2023.

John was a stalwart of the Sydney poetry scene. He was a member of several poetry groups and during the Covid lockdowns he felt keenly the loss of being able to meet with fellow poets. He enjoyed their company and was inspired by their energy and enthusiasm.

He was a frequent contributor to The Mozzie, tamba, The Crow and other poetry journals.

John worked hard encouraging other poets to write and to get published. This is how we knew him. He came to Ginninderra Press just over ten years ago and became one of our most prolific poets.

Stephen published seven full-length poetry collections by John, the last of which (Drifting from the Bright) has not yet been officially released. As editor of our two chapbook series – Pocket Poets and Picaro Poets – I worked with John a great deal. I was astonished when I looked up our records and found that we had published over eighty chapbooks by him!

Included in that incredible body of work are ten chapbook anthologies he edited for the groups Poetry Alive and Harbourside Poets. He collaborated with other poets in seven chapbook collections – including three with me. I am proud to say that John chose twenty-five of my paintings or photographs for the covers of his books. That was something I hadn’t even dreamed of and I am still somewhat bedazzled by his support of my work.

Supporting others was one of the most admirable things about John. From those small joint anthologies, several poets have gone on to have chapbooks and full-length collections of their own. All it takes sometimes is someone to believe in you.

Through the hundreds of emails we exchanged over the years, John became a dear friend and confidant. All our lives are the richer for having known him and he will be sorely missed.

Thank you Brenda  for these words in honour of John.

My last chat with John  was on our Wednesday Poetry evening, the week before he got the flu. He was excited as he shuffled his pieces of paper from the afternoon group saying  “You know I have got 3 poems out of this afternoon.”   Three poems !  Isn’t that amazing a week before you die, you are excited about more poetry flowing.  I can say happily John died ‘with his boots on’ as the saying goes . Sadly I wrote on Saturday to tell him how he was missed at Decima’s Launch and to tell him how proud I was being on the same page of the Ginninderra Web site. with my new book.  Sadly he never read that email. 


The lighthouse throws warning beams,
sweeps the sea with its flashes
revolving like a constant planet,
pulses from a distant star
in galaxies of shipwreck dark.

Here is danger and death.
Keep well clear, keep safely on
the rolling sea where deep water
smooths your keel and you can flow
in the gentle arms of ocean.

I’m built on rock, I’m built
on the past. I do not move
as your ship moves in sheer innocence
that the sea will always protect
and nourish you. It deceives us all.

I’m here. You can rely on me.
I’ll guide you away
from ship-tearing reefs and rocks,
or clench my fingers of light
and gather you between

headlands, into river mouths,
to safe harbour here, the comfort
of quiet water that laps your hull
like a lullaby. I promise you, mariner,
captain, have faith, for you, I am the light.