Monthly Archives: July 2021

Paper Women

I have been silent for too long
My soft tresses pulled taut
in a bun of compliance

These are the opening lines from my poem ‘Hashtag’ which won the Blue Knot Foundation Award in the Hunter Valley Grieve Project in 2018.

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The poem came to mind again when I read about Amanda Firenze’s outstanding project Paper Women and I’m pleased to say ‘Hashtag’ will adorn one of the paper women in her exhibition. I’m ‘outing’ my already published piece but the responses – each of which forms part of a chain of women – are completely anonymous (as stories about violence against women so often need to be). Such a worthy and stunning artistic project.

You can submit anonymously to Amanda’s project here. I urge you to check it out.

Read the poem in full here.

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Chesil Beach

Look at moi! Standing – in my usual awkward pose – “on Chesil Beach”. 

Ian McEwan is my Literary crush so, unsurprisingly, a tear or ten escaped soon after this pic was snapped. I was similarly moved years ago when I discovered I had followed in McEwan’s footsteps when visiting Bruny Island in Tasmania.

I had heard McEwan chose the quiet solace of Bruny over the red carpet of the Golden Globe Awards and I was moved poetically. My [long-winded] article, published in the Bruny News, included this:


Missing Ian McEwan

I arrive, seedy, on a blustery grey morning

after swells and white caps and bitter instant granules,

to disembark breathless on this necked island

that has figured wide and mammoth in these late days;

but you have gone

I wanted to show you that I can write

I, too, would evade the Globes.  I’d tramp the bush here,

rather than schmooze down rich red-carpet paths

if I had been invited, if there was a film;

but I’m too late

I’ll try to plant my feet where yours have been

and imagine the words you might have imparted

if I’d arrived last week, if we had met,

if you had read my work and thought highly of me;

if you were here

If I remain quiet and still inside

I might catch faint echoes of McEwan-esque prose

Inspiration might carry on the wind

and land literary fertility at my feet;

because I am here

Then next time you cross to these narrow shores

you will know the paths I have traversed, by my words.

You might have read my work and been impressed

and you might wish you had arrived sooner

when I was here

Atonement? Perhaps.

I have not written anything to commemorate my trip to Chesil Beach. Maybe I will; or perhaps I will hug the thoughts and savour them secretly.


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