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Recent publications

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to have had my work selected in two fine Australian journals.

My thanks to Sarah Holland-Batt for selecting ‘Wattlebird Pie’ for Island magazine and to Bella Li and Jill Jones for selecting ‘Pink’ for the most recent issue of Australian Poetry Anthology.





I was thirsty, and there was no way to know

I was thirsty, so deep in my body – where

I was not dead, just sleeping

there was no real way to know,

no real reason to wake

I was thirsty



Australian Poetry Anthology 6

I will have a poem forthcoming in the July 2018 edition of Australian Poetry Anthology. Many thanks to Bella Li and Jill Jones for selecting my work.

The piece selected is ‘Pink’, a poem written for Trish Reid, an incredible poet and Tiger Poet who I’m lucky enough to call my friend.

The edition publishes on July 30, and looking forward to sharing with you then.


Tom Collins Prize

Late last year I entered one of my historical Tasmanian poems: ‘Mathinna’ into the Tom Collins Prize which is coordinated by the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Western Australia). There was a fantastic shortlist of poets so I was very excited to learn that I’d won a Highly Commended Award. Here’s the full winners’ list. Making this award even more wonderful was the fact that one of my favourite poets Judith Rodriguez was the judge.

Here is what she had to say about Mathinna.

Mathinna was a little indigenous Tasmanian girl, the daughter of an important man, who was after a fashion adopted by Lady Franklin, wife of a colonial governor. There is a beautiful oil painting of Mathinna. Lady Franklin was concerned to “civilise” her, dressing her, teaching her correct behaviour, showing her off. The Franklins separated her from what they thought wildness, but they left and did not take her with them. Her disoriented and drunken later life is seen alongside a description of the decayed mining township named after her. “Mathinna” is a powerful piece of writing by Vanessa Page QLD



Judge’s comments Henry Kendall prize

With the anthology ‘Ear to Earth’ launched, I can now share the judge’s comments provided by Jean Kent for ‘Margaret Olley’s Flannel Flowers’.

“On my first reading of all the poems entered for this competition, this one stood out as utterly surprising and original. It has remained mesmerising and rewarding through many readings since then. ‘Margaret Olley’s Flannel Flowers’ is an intensely personal, beautifully observed response to the landscapes of two places – one that feels like ‘someone else’s country’ and another, which is more the poet’s own. The writing has the visual brilliance of photography, combined with a reflective voice-over of memories and emotional connections. From the beachside pandanus trees and their fruit, ‘poking peep-holes in the weather’, to the poet’s inland place of ‘spinifex and brigalow- tin roofs reflecting the desolation of heat’, the details feel vividly real and freshly experienced. The long lines, with their thoughtful, slightly staggering to-ing and fro-ing between places, perfectly reflect the poet’s desire to witness how ‘effortlessly beautiful’ places are, even those that are not our own.

Like the Margaret Olley painting it refers to, the poem is a triumphant demonstration of how haunting a work of art can be, especially when it is insightful, carefully crafted, and ‘bursting with strange botanicals – all of it, within and outside of myself’.” Jean Kent.


Henry Kendall Prize

Last weekend I made the big trek south to the Central Coast so I could be there for the launch of the Central Coast Poets anthology ‘Ear to Earth’ and to accept this year’s Henry Kendall Award.

It was a great afternoon of poetry, with many poets reading their anthology works on the day. It was wonderful to hear judge Jean Kent speak about the judging process and the things that made my poem ‘Margaret Olley’s Flannel Flowers’ winner of 1st prize.

I also accosted Jean with my treasured copy of Verandahs – her first collection and fellow Anne Elder Award winning book which she graciously signed for me!

I had the opportunity to read the piece myself, which is always so enjoyable. Thanks to the Central Coast poets for putting on such a wonderful event!



A big night at the Ipswich Poetry Feast!

It was an incredible honour to take out the top gong at this year’s Ipswich Poetry Feast for my poem ‘Norman Foote Among the Pumpkins’. This poem was written especially for the competition, with the photo which inspired the poem selected from the Picture Ipswich site.

The poem also took out the Picture Ipswich award category, as well as the overall winner’s prize, and the beautiful Babies of Walloon statuette. Some impressive poets have won this statuette before me, including B.R Dionysius and Roger Vickery so I was truly honoured to join this esteemed company.

To read the poem, visit the IPF website.

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