Tag Archives | words in winter

Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize winner announced

Congratulations to all the entrants of the inaugural Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize. Thank you to all the poets who took the time to submit an entry. Venie would have loved to have sat with us here in the office and to have read the poems as they came in from all across the country, 115 of them.

Without further ado, we would like to announce the winner of the 2016 Prize:

Lynn Sunderland from Trentham, Vic., for her poem
How to Write an Environmental Poem

 

Highly commended were:

Elizabeth Gleeson for the poem Hygrocybe at the Market

and

Frances Paterson for Sonnet to Three Gumnuts

 

Thank you to judges Richard Perry and Bronwyn Blaiclock for undertaking the difficult challenge of selecting a single winner. At the Words in Winter prize presentation, Richard read out a statement on behalf of the judges, which you can read here.

We were fortunate that Lynn was able to come along to the event and read her poem.

Lynnereads

We are thrilled to present to you, in its entirety, Lynn Sunderland’s award winning poem:

How to Write an Environmental Poem

We begin with a framework strong enough

To hold in its hands this planet’s poem:

A scaffolding blunt as the flint hearted mountains

And supple as green boughs twisted toward water

That it may bear in its sinews and its soul

The very weight of your dreaming

 

And your poem must sing with a cadence sweet as birdsong

Yet cruel as the iron ring of axe blade against heartwood

For its voice must be as true and as complicated

As the keening cry of gulls above a grey sweep of ocean

Or the numbing drum of rain, hour upon hour

And every time it draws breath

We must hear the silences, too,

Of those who cannot speak

 

And it may rhyme grandly

Like the broad and stately sail of a whale’s tail

Or whimsically as greenies in beanies

Or sadly as the breath of death itself

 

But within the footfall of its rhyme

There will always be a dissonance

Plaintive as river water weeping over pebbles

Raw as the rattle of a wintry drift of hail

Or pure as wind chimes

Netting the North wind’s lonely voice

 

It must sing with a rhythm all its own

A song as old as the steady drip of glaciers

As slow as the rasp of the tide’s mouth

On a million, million grains of sand

As dependable as the lurch and heft of the sun

 

And it must be sensual in its seasons

Licked by the wet tongues of calving beasts

Rolled in the honeyed hum

Of a hundred drowsing bees

Sated by a sickly surfeit of summer’s indolent heat

 

And this poem must have height and depth to colour it in:

Be bold in your dreaming, and build it

Grand as the icy glitter of a starlit night

Broad as a prairie blown to gold in autumn

Triumphant in its song, even when

Wracked by ocean currents cold enough

And deep enough to drown a continent

 

And yet you must not fail to nourish

Even the most insignificant of its sorrows

The unnamed extinctions gone to dust

The drift of time

The silence of bones

The infinitely lost promise

Of a single seedling

 

Its metaphors, of course,

Must be extravagant and reckless

And here you have much to work with …

The churn of storm clouds sketching their threat

Like smoke through milk in a winter sky

The ashen pallor of a bushfire’s wake

Or the way a forest leans together at the last,

Mourners at the funeral pyre

Of a whole planet stumbling into oblivion,

Its oil soaked wings folded mutely in surrender

 

Write your poem, then,

In ink red as the fox’s bloodied paws

With a gaze unblinking as an owl’s nightblack eye

 

And when it is made

Wheel it out into the light of this day’s dawn

And set it where the first fingers of morning

Might touch and probe and wonder…

 

But beware

 

For your contraption of caesura and sonnet

Your artifice of syllable and sound

Will in the end be nothing

 

To the tragedy and beauty of a single moment

 

On this planet, Earth.

 

 

——————

 

 

4

Learning, listening, watching, touring

We have a stack of events planned over the next few months. Have a browse through our Events page to see if there’s anything that takes your fancy.

We have listed all the tours for the coming season, which starts next month, so you can visit us here at Melliodora and experience what a 30+ year permaculture property looks like. Places are limited and bookings are essential.

There is a local food panel featuring 5 stellar local women including Melliodora’s own Su Dennett.LandCultures

Artist as Family are premiering their film Land Cultures, featuring David Holmgren and Bruce Pascoe

David will be presenting A History from the Future at the Daylesford Words in Winter festival.

Also at Words in Winter, the winner of the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize will be announced.

Formidable Vegetable Sound System is coming to Daylesford to launch their forthcoming album, Grow Do It. Yay Charlie!!

David will be teaching on various PDC’s including at CERES, at the Food Forest in November, and at the Rocklyn ashram in February 2017 (more details to come).

In November, while David is in WA for the Australasian Permaculture Convergence and Permaculture Festival, he will be giving a keynote address and several talks about various aspects of permaculture ranging from future scenarios, permaculture in higher education, revitalising the landscapes and communities that will raise the next generation and his forthcoming book, RetroSuburbia.

While in WA, we are pleased to announce that David will also be presenting the Keith Roby Memorial Lecture in Community Science.

What an exciting list! This is just a snapshot. Please head on over to our Events page for the full rundown of tours, talks and special events.

 

 

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