I came to Sydney earlier this year for personal reasons, but also to grow my writing life. In what was already quite fertile ground, more seeds have been planted via the MA in Cultural and Creative Practice offered through the Writing and Society Research Centre at the Bankstown Campus of UWS. I remember going along to the information session almost a year ago to find out more about this program and after hearing from Anthony Uhlmann and two of the students about the course, (and also that award winning Australian author, Gail Jones and Giramondo’s Ivor Indyk were teaching in it), I was there.
Having the opportunity to respond to the unit assignments either with a critical essay or a creative piece and short exegesis has been an ideal combination for me. Confident in my creative writing when I came into the course, it has enabled me to also improve my critical writing, and more importantly my critical reading. When I came into the course I had a project in mind – a creative project inspired by my great-grandfather’s experience of coming to Australia in 1876 as an eight year old after a measles epidemic wiped out about a third of the Fijian population. With the limitations of the word count of about 9,000 words a decision was made to write a short story that would cover the main character’s early life in Fiji and his first experiences in Australia.
Being able to experiment with aspects of the story and voice has strengthened the work. I submitted one of the creative pieces I developed for the unit on Translation for the Wagga Wagga Writers Writers (Booranga Writers) anthology, fourW. I am delighted, Suffer the Little Children was selected for publication. The submission process is anonymous and this year 500 submissions were received from 127 contributors. The anthology will have its Sydney launch at Gleebooks, Glebe on Saturday 30 November at 3.30pm by Mark O’Flynn.
The MA also seems to have unlocked the poet in me, and my poem, Parramatta Morning was given third place by award winning poet and Writing and Society Research Centre alumnus, Fiona Wright. ZineWest13 is a publication of the New Writers’ Group that meets every second Saturday from 3pm-5pm at the very arty and funky Mars Hill Cafe. It’s a very welcoming group, and for those who live out in the west provides a place and space to test out new work and hang out with writerly folk. You’ll find my report of the launch over at the New Writers’ Group blog.
You can read my poem below or open the VOPP Parramatta Morning
Parrot screeches vie for space
with morning traffic sounds.
The day’s news drifts in and
pushes deep the scraps of dreams
that join the growing mound
of remnant thoughts
from which no sense is made.
A click unlids the tin of coffee beans.
They clatter, are ground
then softly tamped.
The stream of black flows into a favourite cup.
Inhale deep –
then sip and let the medicine hit
the babble of the morning.
You can also find my review of Chris Womerlsey’s new novel, Cairo, over at Newtown Review of Books.