I was fortunate to have had a bunch of poems published this year, a mix of new and old work, mostly in places I hadn’t been published before. Thanks to all the editors for selecting these poems, which include my first published cento, an invented form (a bardo), and a poem in memory of my uncle Tony.
Becoming Paruwa (Rabbit, Issue 26: Belonging)
Culture Hero (Plumwood Mountain, Volume 5 Number 1)
The Stone Jar (Grieve, Volume 6)
Fox Dreaming & Philosophy of Mangoes?(Southerly)
still songs to sing beyond mankind (Australian Poetry Anthology, Volume 6)
Another bardo (Cordite, Transqueer issue)
I’m particularly excited to see ‘Becoming Paruwa’ in print. Written in English, Tok Pisin, and Gimi, it is among other things a record of my trip back home to Mengino this year, and the beginning of a longer piece.
Behind the scenes, I abandoned one poetry manuscript, and then somehow finished two others, my first completed manuscripts in more than 15 years. I don’t know that either of them will see the light of day, but I’ve already begun a fourth, and am reading more than I have in years.
This year I’ve also been getting back into theatre and performance after a long break. In June/July I had loads of fun in Impro Melbourne‘s What the Dickens, in which we improvised a one-hour Dickensian play each night and managed to wrestle some wonderfully convoluted plots to satisfying conclusions.
In September, I directed Chalise van Wyngaardt’s?Objectophilia at Melbourne Fringe. Chalise is a talented writer and performer, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with her on such a powerfully intimate show. It was good to be doing scripted theatre again.?In October I enjoyed reading some Tok Pisin poetry at my first feature reading in a while at Melbourne Poetry Union’s Multilingual Poetry Reading, along with Ela Fornalska and?Ashima Shukla reading in German and Hindi. Thanks to MPU for the invitation. And in November I performed ‘Becoming Paruwa’ in The Change: Revolutionary Hip Hop Theatre with an amazing collective of performers and activists, including some of Melbourne’s West Papuan community. Thanks Oneal for inviting me to join the crew.
Another thing I haven’t done for many years is publish other writers. But last month I was fortunate enough to collaborate with and publish two young writers for the first time. Our college’s poetry club zine, if only the clouds stopped fluttering…, features vivid, textured work by Ella Cao and Ai Jia Tah. One of this year’s great pleasures has been exploring the world of poetry with them once a week–I have no doubt that their work is destined for a wider audience and wish them every success. (I have a few spare copies of the zine if you’d like to hit me up for a copy.)
Finally, a reminder that you have a few more days to submit to leaf/litter. It might be my last publishing adventure in a while; with study plans on the horizon, and more time and energy devoted to projects in PNG–about which, more eventually–I’m expecting things to be quieter on the publishing front next year, though the writing itch, and the scratching, is as strong as ever.
Hope the end of 2018 finds you well and pursuing what matters. I’m not active much on social media any more, but always up for an email, letter, call, or catchup. May your 2019 be full of wonder, learning, and love.