Poets Paddock – Veronica Lake

Welcome to our new feature on the Shipping News – Poets Paddock.

Too often, it seems, poets are relegated to a Corner in the mainstream media. We think they should be out grazing in a Paddock – in a wider expanse where we can all see and hear their work.

Mind you, Homer seems to have broken through the publicity barrier with The Odyssey!

And to be fair, poets, as a group, are not entirely the self-effacing, hiding their lights under bushels types you might think. You don’t have to look too far to find them at work here and there around the greater metropolis of Perth. As it should be!

Just the same, it’s good to shine a light on what our poets are up to. The latest fashions in poetry. The old, the new. The short, the long. That composed for a fireside read, that made for stand-up delivery. That designed to mend a broken heart, that designed to mend the environment.

While everyone who writes is still suffering from the changes afoot at UWA Press, there are a number of local poetry journals we should bring to your attention where you will soon get a good idea of what’s happening around Perth and Fremantle –

*Poetry d’Amour – an annual hard copy publication.
*Creatrix – an online publication that comes out four times a year. *Creatrix Haiku – another online publication that comes out at the same time as Creatrix.
*Creative Connections – Art and Poetry – an annual production with art from mentally and physically disabled patrons. Each poet is given say three paintings and asked to write a ten line poem in response. Every painting has two poets assigned. The result is a colourful product which is sold to raise money for the disabled group.
*Ross Spencer Poetry Prize – run annually and every two years – results in a book of poems drawn from the entries and published in hard copy.

Then there is the Perth Poetry Festival which usually, in a non-covid world, runs over a week each year, normally in July. Different groups from around Perth participate and there are often guest workshops and poets from interstate and overseas.

Information about these various publications and the Festival can be found at WA Poets Inc.

Also, recently Vivienne Glance and Elio Novello got together with Mulla Mulla and invited poets to submit environmental poems to be included in Letters to Our Home. This book is sold to raise money for two major WA environmental causes.

Around Fremantle,Voicebox presents on the final Monday of each month unless there is a public holiday. During covid they have been online. Their format involves two (remunerated) guest poets presenting their work, with open mike sessions following offering ravening poets in the audience the chance to strut their stuff!

Perth Poetry Club, with a similar format, usually holds weekly readings at the Moon Café in Northbridge on Saturday afternoons ‪at 2pm‬. But also online at the moment.

To help us introduce our new Poets Paddock feature, we approached Veronica Lake, a Freo poet of standing and the current President of the well-known writers’ group OOTA – Out Of The Asylum. Veronica very kindly and generously offered her assistance. We are most grateful for it.

OOTA, we should mention, also recently published a wonderful anthology of poems and short stories entitled Locus, amongst many other publications to be found on their website.

Each week we will bring you a Freo-connected poet with whom we will discuss poetry in a podcast format, including their own poetry. We will also invite them to read their poetry to us all.

And we are very pleased indeed that Veronica Lake also agreed to be the very first poet to offer themselves up for interview by Michael Barker, our Editor, on our poetry podcast.

Veronica completed an Honours Degree in Arts at the University of Western Australia (1974), with a double major in English and a Diploma of Education (1975). She also completed a Post Graduate certificate at the University of Melbourne for the study of Shakespeare (2009). In 2010, Veronica was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for the study of Shakespeare in theatre companies in England, Ireland and Canada. She has participated in many writing workshops and attended professional development courses as a teacher, which focus on creative writing – both prose and poetry.

Veronica has been a teacher of Literature and English in W.A. high schools for many years, including Applecross Senior High. She edits and publishes Primo Lux, a state-wide student anthology of poetry, now in its sixteenth year. Student creativity aroused her desire to write poetry and prose which began in 2009. She enjoys patterns of language, structure and the shaping of voice. Veronica has always been interested in language and the sound of words from brain to paper and into the atmosphere. She has had a few short stories published and is still working on the construction of her craft with success in traditional forms; sonnets, dramatic monologues, rhyming narrative and free verse.

Her subject matter is drawn from everyday life and personal experience. It is important for her to ‘hear’ the rhythm of lines spoken, and because of her Literature background enjoys alluding to classical stories with characters and references drawn from myths or studied texts.

All of this comes through in her recent late 2019, collection of poems, Dragonfly Wing, and in our audio interview with her.

By the way, Veronica, you can buy Veronica’s book from primolux@gmail.com

Listen here. Enjoy the podcast!