Ready, Set… Poet

This year I had to be vaguely organised for Post-it Note Poetry, and me being me, all the practical organisation fell to the day before (hell, at least it wasn’t the night before!)

The most important part was to test drive the book I was intending as my primary source (Kelly Link’s Get In Trouble – gifted to me by Rob Cook). I contacted two wonderful women I know via Instagram and asked if they’d help me – by choosing a page.

This was the result (these black and metallic backgrounds, on the bendy paper, do not photograph as beautifully as I’d like) and later today they’ll be winging their way to Canada and the USA.

It definitely gave me a good feel for what kinds of poems likely to come out of this book. I had already thematically brainstormed some ideas – I’ve never built poems from a thematic slant – and these test poems bore out what I had been mentally playing with.

So the ‘Get in Trouble’ series (which will be postcards and the traditional poem squares, on hand-drawn backgrounds) will be…

…poetic snapshots of misdeeds, misadventures and brazen acts of rebellion.

Looking forward to where this is going to take me. Glad to have you along for the ride.

Postcardia-cum-Poetica #6

I’m a bit late in getting last week’s postcard photographed and into the post. Another Avante Card, this time a promo one for ACMI in Melbourne. It was made for my friend’s son who is five and off to school next year. He has a wicked imagination and I could see bits of him climbing in and out of the words and pictures.

Rob commented that it’s a bit Beatle-esque in arting and wording. I’m happy to take those compliments. 

Postcardia-cum-Poetica #5

All the poems for the postcards come from a random draw of word snippets; all the off cuts, of all the pages, from all the poems I’ve built over the last year. I have two baggies of Calvino and one for Winterson. 

Last week my son came home with some Avant Cards he found in the library. These were our staples two years ago when Kim and I started writing. 

Pretty hard not to be wowed by Ying Huang’s Heart’s Shadow. And I loved what was randomly drawn from the baggie. Couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for the artwork. 


Fifty-Something Postcards from the Horse’s Mouth

My narrative skills were honed telling stories as a teenager. Not just the angsty,thinly-veiled fiction about the boys we had crushes on that I entertained my girlfriends with, but via the letters I wrote (to those same friends) when I moved from Victoria to Queensland in 1988.

I corresponded with five girlfriends during my time in Queensland. There was never a time when I didn’t have a half-written letter in the back of a folder.

When Adam and I began writing Piper’s Reach in 2012 I went through the striped Tuperware bag that held all the teeanger/early 20’s letters and repatriated them. I managed to send back all but two bundles of letters. One of those bundles belonged to my friend Kim.


L-R: Me, Kim, Melissa and Helen
December 1989

For years I’d wondered what happened to Kim. My Year 8 drama partner in dance (we did interpretive dance to Pump up the Volume), my next door locker mate in Mr Smith’s homeroom in Grade 8 and 9 and my general go-to person for deeper insights into life. (And I remember Kim’s brother wanted to grow up to be a taxidermist!) I still have photos of Kim’s debutante ball. I remember being at her place in 1989 watching ‘Beetlejuice’.

Even though Kim didn’t move on to St Martins with us in our senior years, we remained friends and wrote letters into our early 20’s when I again moved interstate. The last letter I remember receiving from Kim was after her trip to the Czech Republic. I was sitting at the dining room table at my parent’s place in Gordonvale reading it in the height of the monsoonal heat and humidity, as Kim described the freezing European winter, the astounding architecture and how it was juxtaposed against the grey, morose locals (grey in their clothing, downtrodden in their Communism pall). It’s weird, that some twenty years later, with all the things I have read and seen, that image remains in my head.

In August last year, during my delirium of glandular fever, I received a message via Facebook from Kim, who was writing from Japan. I was ecstatic as she had been the one friend I had been unable to track down of my five original girlfriends from the Sacred Heart years. Two weeks later I had to go back, when the fever calmed, to check that I hadn’t hallucatinated the messages into being.

PostCard Project 1

“I chose this post card as much for its clear instructions as for its wonderfully over-exposed picture of Christchurch.”

I remember now why she was always a favourite friend and why for two decades I missed her so much. Her sense of humour, generosity of spirit and encouragement, the commonality (resonated across 20 years!), her calm craziness and unparalleled view on the world. Since we’ve reconnected I’ve been promising to write, promising to find her bundle of letters and send them on. And failed on all counts.

Over Christmas I was thinking about what kooky project I could raise for purely entertainment purposes in 2014. I wanted to do something related to the post (I miss Piper’s Reach for many reasons, but receiving letters every few weeks is one of them!) I wanted to do something simple – post cards, rather than letters. And somewhere along the way Kim and I agreed to write one postcard a week for the Year of the Horse. Turns out I am not the only one with a penchant for slightly mad ideas and the ability to rope people into them!

While we’re still a few days out of the new year, the first post card from Kim arrived today. And I am so excited. Tuesday is an auspicious day to receive mail. In Year 12 it was the day Ty’s letters would arrive and I’d run down the footpath after ballroom dancing lessons to grab up his letters from the post box and devour them on my bed before being called for dinner.

Today there was tea on the verandah! But the nostalgia lingers in the best ways. Especially when so well articulated in handwriting so well known.

postcard 1.1