Monday, October 20, 2014

Newcastle Poetry Prize: A Day of Poetry

Next Saturday, I'll be 'in conversation' with Jennifer Compton, who was awarded first place in last year's Newcastle Poetry Prize for her stunning poem "Now You Shall Know".  Jennifer and I will be talking about all sorts of things, including, but certainly not limited to, the impact of winning such a prestigious prize, about her diverse writing practices, the writing "lifestyle", on touring poetry, and lots more.  There will be plenty of information and advice for poets and poetry readers, and of course my conversation with Jennifer is only the start of what looks to be a massive day of poetry going from 9:30am to 6pm full of incredible words, drink, food, and of course poetic camaraderie.   Following my session with Jennifer,  Hunter Writers' Centre director Karen Crofts will be interviewing Mark Tredinnick, who was last year's 3rd prize winner, won first place in 2011, and was one of the judges for the 2014 prize.  Jean Kent, who has a long involvement with the prize and was the 2013 judge (and was a second prize winner in 1997) interviews Judith Beveridge, who is poetry editor of the well known literary journal Meanjin, was judge of the 2006 Newcastle Poetry Prize and is one of Australia's most highly regarded poets.  I'm sure that the insights presented through these conversations will be of great value to listeners (and interviewers!).  There will be plenty of opportunity to interact in these sessions.  I intend to give attendees a chance to join the conversation with questions.

In the afternoon, The Newcastle Poetry Prize Ceremony (winners announced) and A Live Reading will take place at the Delaney Hotel.  Some of Australia's most illustrious poets will be reading throughout the session, and there will be plenty of time to schmooze, interact, and participate.  Drinks are available from the bar, and canap├ęs will be provided by the HWC.  For anyone who loves poetry, I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon. Please drop by and join in the fun!  You can get all the details, and book yourself in here: http://www.hunterwriterscentre.org/prize-ceremony.html

Friday, October 10, 2014

Charity:Water Update

Firstly I want to start today's blog with a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to my Charity:Water birthday appeal.  So far we've raised $1,470 which met my $1k goal.  Yay!  42 people will get clean water as a result of the work we've done to date.  As soon as I get them from Charity:Water, I'll be providing GPS coordinates and pictures of the people and communities we impacted.  Because this is such important work, I'm going to keep the project going through the month of October, and I'm very happy to report that the very generous Virginia Clay has agreed to keep matching donations dollar for dollar. 

Why does this project matter? Here are a few facts provided by water.org:

- More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.

- Every minute at least one child dies from a water-related illness.  

- [The water and sanitation] crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns

- An American taking a five-minute shower (not to mention the average Aussie teenager taking a 20 minute shower...you know who you are boys) uses more water than the average person in a developing country uses for an entire day


So thank you, thank you, thank you for helping!  This is really worthwhile work and you're integral to it.  Please drop by the site: https://my.charitywater.org/magdalenas-50th and join us if you haven't already.  No amount is too small - just click "Other" and you can enter any amount at all - the cost of a card, a cup of coffee or an international phone call, perhaps.  Every drop makes a difference, and the difference, as my dear muse Gertrude Stein once said, "is spreading."