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With National Poetry Day around the corner (Wednesday 6 October), I want to share a couple of thought-provoking quotes I’ve discovered recently through my poetry groups.

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It’s often very easy for a poet to ‘tell’ rather than ‘show’ in their work, so this from Anton Chekhov is a beautiful reminder:

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Chekhov was a 19th century Russian playwright and short story writer, who had a unique talent of that time to recreate and express what it means to be human.  So I’ve printed this out in fancy writing and stuck it to our fridge to remind me every time I get milk, juice, wine, etc. to show and not tell.

Another quote to catch my attention was the following by Francis Ponge, speaking about poetry:

“You have first of all to side with your own spirit, and your own taste. Then take the time, and have the courage, to express all your thoughts on the subject at hand (not just keeping the expressions that seem brilliant or distinctive). Finally you have to say everything simply, not striving for charm, but conviction.”

Ponge was a 20th century French essayist and poet heavily influenced by surrealism, who developed a prose poem form which meticulously examined everyday objects.  I like the self-exploration in this, the hunt to find a different angle from which to engage the reader.

As a poet I’m continually learning, developing and honing my skills, and participating in workshops, groups and courses is a fundamental way to do this.  In addition to reading, editing, researching, experimenting, critiquing, sharing…you get the drift.

Another fantastic series from a fine publisher

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The launch of my chapbook  “Selfish Bastards and Other Poems” will take place at the Halifax Cafe in Adelaide on Thursday, October 6th, 2016. I am in the illustrious company of Alison Flett, Judy Dally, Louise McKenna and Steve Brock, the other poets in the 2016 Garron chapbook series. It could be a big night.

If you can’t make the launch, you can order copies of “Selfish Bastards and Other Poems” here, and I will post to you as soon as they arrive from the publisher.

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