To young writers everywhere
looking for your authentic voice
and to create authentic voices
look into herstory for inspirations
listen and observe your
mothers, sisters, daughters, and yourself
whatever gender you are
you can do the following (see poem).
To write with authenticity is
to write with truth
putting aside any
shackles, biases, and oppressions
being honest, courageous,
creative, skilful, and
It’s moving to where there is
finding our voices in all their
winging their ways into
every writing genre;
popular to poetic,
academic to artistic, protesting,
respecting and remembering those
paved the way for us.
(c) June Perkins
To find out more visit the reflection on the panel at
A recent week of Book Week workshops via zoom, at the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, was wondrous.
Students were willing to imagine and open their eyes to a sense of wonder, to explore other worlds within worlds, from nature, to rivers to the moon and outerspace.
We began with learning about cheeky Cassowaries hungry and looking for food after a cyclone, and imagining what they might say or think, and advanced to humourous dialogues within the river and exploring a sense of wonder, through sensory adventure poems.
Students learnt about the power of working in pairs and in groups and how many voices combined can create, extend and then joyously and confidently perform their creations.
Throughout I used my own illustrated poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, as the main mentor text with a storytelling session also of Michelle Worthington’s Book, Possum Games.
Both had kindly been posted and provided to the school by Tina from CYA. This meant we could read together, and as I have dialogue poems and question and answer structures this was fantastic to have each student have the book on the other side of the zoom.
I was impressed by how the students worked with each other on some in the river dialogues and their humour and inventiveness throughout the week began to shine through.
I am delighted the school community (families and staff) gave permission for me to share their work.
More important than products though, is the process of creativity that the children undertook within their classroom. By reflecting on that stories can come from that which you know through your senses and take you to places you might only imagine.
I hope these children, will create many more poems or stories and strengthen and contribute to building a publishing community within Papua New Guinea, beginning from anthologies within their school and moving beyond the anthologies for their communities. Building perhaps collectives for theirs and future generations.
With many thanks to the school, students , staff of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, and Tina of CYA.
Photographs courtesy of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, shared with their permission
I never expected that my first trip back to Papua New Guinea, since I moved to Australia as a one year old, would be in my fifties and via zoom and would be working with writers based in three different countries.
Yet, none of us knows our future, and so it was that the last week my first ever Book Week experience, occurred this way.
I was invited by Tina Marie Clark, to join a CYA team, including her, Albert Nayathi, Phil Kettle, Caroline Evari, (and works from Michelle Worthington and Dannika Patterson) that has been mostly going to the Higaturu Oil Palm International School there in person for the last ten years.
The last two years they have had to conduct the visit via zoom, because of COVID19.
Although I haven’t done Book Week before, I have done several workshops in libraries, environmental centres, and schools, to mentor creatives of all ages from kindergarten through to people all backgrounds in their seventies, in poetry. Something which became such a passion I ended up writing and publishing a poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, for children.
I wrote Magic Fish Dreaming, to express a sense of the place I was living in at the time, which was the Cassowary Coast, in Far North Queensland, as well as to demonstrate different poetry techniques which might appeal to children but also extend them. At the time of composing this work I was facilitating workshops in the community and needed to create original materials with a sense of the place I was living in, not just use what was already out there.
Magic Fish Dreaming, represents all the beauty, grandeur, magic, and heartache and I saw whilst living in that area, all captured for families to relive some of that and hopefully fall in love with poetry.
During this visit, I was able to bring all the experiences of the last few years, in designing workshops, as well as my recent enrolment training as a teacher (although for highschool) together into my contemporary practice.
I was delighted to see the effect of the workshops on the students and their teacher and teacher assistant. I can truly say I had as much of a feeling of joy out of this as out of being published.
My heart soared to see them engaged with the activities and WRITING! And finally confidently performing work they had collaborated on composing together.
What did we and the school do during the week to reach this point?
I loved this chat with Michelle Worthington where I answered questions about being a poet from young people~ tune in and have a listen. There are many other delightful interviews with creatives including comedians (that’s not me!) and circus professionals (I wish that we me!), as well as other writers for children.
It was so delightful to be part of the You Tube Ridvan is Everywhere Celebrations online. And a great honour to be the epigrammatic beginning to day 7 with a brand new never before shared poem. This poem is now being included in the next issue of Tokens.
“The “Is Everywhere” Collective, which brought us this wonderful online Naw-Ruz celebration, is celebrating the Festival of Ridvan! They are excited to provide family-friendly programming for all 12 days of Ridvan and this video features their program celebrating the 7th day of Ridvan.
The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Los Angeles (USA) is sponsoring special program for the 1st, 9th and 12th days of Ridvan but every day in between features videos sharing poetry, storytelling, music, art, dancing, cooking, and crafting—all by friends from across the world!