Tag Archives | Venie Holmgren

The 2017 Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the 2017 Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize. The specifics are as follows:

Major prize: AUD$1000

All entries must be received by 11.59 pm EST, Friday July 14 2017.
The shortlist and winner will be announced during the Daylesford Words in Winter festival, August 4-6, 2017.
The judges for the 2017 competition are Ross Gillett and Fiona Hile.

Entry terms and conditions

1. Entrants must be citizens of Australia or New Zealand or have permanent resident status in Australia or New Zealand.
2. Poems must be unpublished (including online) and not under consideration by other publishers.
3. Poems that have won or are under consideration in other competitions are not eligible.
4. Poems must have an environmental theme.
5. All poems must be written in English.
6. The winning poems will be published on www.holmgren.com.au
7. An entry fee of $10 will be charged and is payable via bank transfer, PayPal, cash or cheque. A receipt will be sent as confirmation once the money has been received.
8. The name of the poet must not appear on the manuscript (including the header or footer) since all poems will be considered anonymously.
9. Poems must be no more than 80 lines.
10. Multiple entries are permitted, though a $10 fee applies to each poem.
11. Please ensure you are satisfied with your poem before submitting. Poems that are withdrawn and subsequently resubmitted will incur a second fee.
12. The competition closes 11.59 pm EST, Friday July 14, 2017.
13. Selection will be made by the judges. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

Please click here to submit your poem.


About the judges

Ross Gillett’s poems have appeared in The Age, The Australian and The Canberra Times and in journals in Australia and the US. His book, The Sea Factory was one of the Five Islands Press New Poets 2006 series. In 2010 he published a chapbook of old and new poems – Wundawax and other poems – with Mark Time Books. His awards for poetry include the Robert Harris Poetry Prize, the Broadway Poetry Prize, the FAW John Shaw Neilson Award (twice), the Melbourne Poet’s Union National Poetry Prize, the Reason-Brisbane Poetry Prize, the City of Greater Dandenong National Poetry Prize and the Woorilla Poetry Prize. He has been twice shortlisted for the Blake Poetry Prize and was awarded second place in the 2016 Newcastle Poetry prize. Ross lives in Daylesford where he works as a project manager for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Fiona Hile’s first full-length collection, Novelties, was awarded the 2014 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. In 2012 she won the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize and was awarded second place in the Overland 2012 Judith Wright Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in journals, newspapers and anthologies in Australia, Canada, UK, US, Prague and The Netherlands. Her second book of poems, Subtraction, will be published in 2017.


About Venievenie

In her late 50’s Venie Holmgren began to write poetry and her first published anthology, The Sun Collection for the Planet in 1989, became a poetry ‘best seller’. At the same time, she applied her environmental activist skills and commitment to the campaign to save native forests near her home on the far south coast of NSW, where she was arrested twice for obstructing log trucks. After 16 years of solo self-reliant living she moved to the local town of Pambula where she penned her travel memoir, several more books of poetry and travelled widely as a performance poet. In 2010 Venie moved to Hepburn where she wrote her last poetry collection, The Tea-house Poems. In January 2016, Venie “caught the bus” at the age of 93 .

You can read more of Venie’s life here:
www.theguardian.com/books/australia-books-blog/2015/mar/25/in-praise-of-venie-holmgren-at-92-still-an-activist-adventurer-and-a-poet


Please click here to submit your poem.

0

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

Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the inaugural Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize. The specifics are as follows:

Major prize: AUD$1000

All entries must be received by 11.59 pm EST, Friday July 15 2016.
The shortlist and winner will be announced during the Daylesford Words in Winter festival, August 5-7, 2016 2016.
The judges for the 2016 competition are Richard Perry and Bronwyn Blaiklock.

Entry terms and conditions

1. Entrants must be citizens of Australia or New Zealand or have permanent resident status in Australia or New Zealand.
2. Poems must be unpublished (including online) and not under consideration by other publishers.
3. Poems that have won or are under consideration in other competitions are not eligible.
4. Poems must have an environmental theme.
5. All poems must be written in English.
6. The winning poems will be published on www.holmgren.com.au
7. An entry fee of $10 will be charged and is payable via bank transfer, PayPal, cash or cheque. A receipt will be sent as confirmation once the money has been received.
8. The name of the poet must not appear on the manuscript (including the header or footer) since all poems will be considered anonymously.
9. Poems must be no more than 80 lines.
10. Multiple entries are permitted, though a $10 fee applies to each poem.
11. Please ensure you are satisfied with your poem before submitting. Poems that are withdrawn and subsequently resubmitted will incur a second fee.
12. The competition closes 11.59 pm EST, Friday July 15, 2016.
13. Selection will be made by the judges. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

Please click here for submission details.


About the judges

Richard Perry, a Hepburn Shire resident, is emeritus professor of Asian art history at York University, Toronto, a former teacher at the Victorian College of the Arts, and has served as editor and writer for numerous journals in the U.S. and Canada.

Bronwyn Blaiklock, a resident of Ballarat, has been active in the arts and music education industries for 20 years across three states as artistic director, performer (piano, piano accordion), writer, arts administrator, adjudicator and educator. Founder of the Pure Poetry project, Bronwyn facilitates the creative development of new collaborative performance works by emerging and established writers and composers. Her poetry has been anthologised in numerous Australian publications, and her first collection, Etching My Initials, was published in 2016 by Melbourne Poets Union as #23 in the Union Poets Chapbook Series. Bronwyn has contributed to state-wide literary initiatives through membership on the Board of Writers Victoria (2009-2014).


About Venievenie

In her late 50’s Venie Holmgren began to write poetry and her first published anthology, The Sun Collection for the Planet in 1989, became a poetry ‘best seller’. At the same time, she applied her environmental activist skills and commitment to the campaign to save native forests near her home on the far south coast of NSW, where she was arrested twice for obstructing log trucks. After 16 years of solo self-reliant living she moved to the local town of Pambula where she penned her travel memoir, several more books of poetry and travelled widely as a performance poet. In 2010 Venie moved to Hepburn where she wrote her last poetry collection, The Tea-house Poems. In January 2016, Venie “caught the bus” at the age of 93 .

You can read more of Venie’s life here:
www.theguardian.com/books/australia-books-blog/2015/mar/25/in-praise-of-venie-holmgren-at-92-still-an-activist-adventurer-and-a-poet

 

1

Venie Holmgren passes after colourful and nourishing life

IMGP2385

Wednesday January 27th Venie finished writing her life long poem. An adventure filled with 93 years of words, feisty activism and wry humour. She moves on leaving vivid memories in her brothers Norman and Gordon, her children Jenny (partner Chin) and David (partner Su), grandchildren Oliver, Kimon and Jody as well as many others she touched over many years of wordsmithing and friendship.

 

She will be celebrated at Poets Corner, Melliodora 16 Fourteenth St Hepburn on Tuesday 9th Feb at 10.30am. The burial will follow at Franklinford cemetery.

 

 

 

venie(young) (1 of 1)Venie Holmgren(nee Rich) was the second youngest of 11 children, born to immigrant jewish parents in York, Western Australia. In 1946, Venie Rich married Jack Holmgren a (non-jewish) comrade in peace activism against nuclear weapons and, later Australia’s involvement in Vietnam (documented in her Vietnam memoir – in press 2016). They had three children Jenny, David and Gerald and were active in community affairs from their home in Fremantle suburb of Bicton. Venie and Jack also were business partners in Rellim Booksellers(Perth), one of the best technical bookshops in the country in the 1970s.

 

After Jack’s death in 1975 Venie spent her gypsy years travelling in a campervan (documented in her travel memoir A Sense of Direction. The bush property, at Wyndham on the Far South Coast of NSW, where she settled was designed and established with her son David, the co-originator of the permaculture concept. Venie’s Wyndham property is documented in the case study Permaculture In The Bush.

 

In her late 50’s Venie began to write poetry and her first published anthology, The Sun Collection 1989, became a poetry “best seller”. At the same time, she applied her activist skills and commitment to the campaign to save native forests of the region, being arrested twice for obstructing log trucks. After 16 years of solo self reliant living she moved to the local town of Pambula where she penned her travel memoir, several more books of poetry and travelled widely as a performance poet.

 

After the unexpected death of Gerard (Gerald) in 2010 she left her community of choice to join her son David, daughter-in-law Su Dennett and grandson Oliver at Melliodora, their home and permaculture demonstration site in Hepburn, central Victoria. While waiting for the completion of the second handmade-house built for her by David, she wrote The Tea-house Poems, that has received wide acclaim. See Kevin Child’s article In Praise of Venie Holmgren: at 92 still an activist, adventurer and poet, published in the Guardian March 2015. During the last couple of years of life, her house mate Rick helped her with the publication of The Tea house Poems and, along with other local friends, satisfied Venie’s love of Scrabble. Venie’s last move of her long life, was up the road to Hepburn House where she made an impression on the staff with her sharp mind and tenacity.

 

Venie Holmgren at 2012 Words In Winter, being introduced by Glen Heyne and accompanied by Maureen Corbett on harp

 

Venie Holmgren speaking to Tim Metcalf at the 2007A.C.T. Writing & Publishing Awards

Venie Holmgren speaking to Tim Metcalf at the 2007A.C.T. Writing & Publishing Awards

 

 

Venie in her self sufficiency days (early 80s) on her bush property at Wyndham on South Coast of NSW

Venie in her self sufficiency days (early 1980s) on her bush property at Wyndham on South Coast of NSW

Venie (and David Holmgren 15th months) in the 1956 May Day March Fremantle WA

Venie (and David Holmgren 15th months) in the 1956 May Day March Fremantle WA. Photograph from ASIO file.

 

6

The Guardian piece

While the only poet named among Australia’s 100 Living National Treasures is Les Murray, Venie Holmgren is a splendid candidate to add to the list. At 92, the writer and poet can look back on a life of activism, adventure and enterprise. And that life is far from over as she works on what she sees as a neglected history: the story of the anti-Vietnam war movement in her native Western Australia.

So writes Kevin Childs for the Guardian.

A very interesting profile of our resident perma poet,  Venie the gracious grandma of permaculture lives happily in the house her son and Su designed, built and maintains.

Her lates collection, the Tea house poems are available here, or at selected bookshops including Bookbarn and the Paradise in Daylesford.

1

The Tea House launches

DSC01082

Last month a new collection of poems by Venie Holmgren was published. Since then Venie has had launches in Daylesford and Castlemaine promoting The Tea House Poems. The  Melbourne launch will be held this Thursday Dec 5th (4.30pm) at Collected Works bookshop in the city.

Most people report they just love Venie’s poetry, as well here are some endorsements from people who know what they are talking about:

It’s rare to find a book that works so well as a sustained, quiet sequence, with a real sense of personality and as well as sharp intelligence

Ross Gillett

The most beautiful collection of poetry I have read in the longest time.

Jordie Albiston

I hold her teahouse poems more gently than I do most, in my hands.

Kathy Kituai

Exquisite and glorious

Lizz Murphy

Perfectly poised work. A remarkable book.

Peter O’Mara

A lovely production, perfectly suited to your [Venie’s] spare, elegant poems.

Chris Mansell

A much needed story of old age told by a master poet.

Dorothy Bysouth

Here are some of the highlights recorded in Daylesford and Castlemaine.

Peter O’Mara launching Venie’s new book, read some from the Tea House Poems in Daylesford, accompanied by Tony Soccio on mandolin.

Here’s one of Venie’s performances.

Nola Firth made a launching speech at Castelmaine, while Ross Donlon M.C.’d.

The Tea House Poems are available from Lulu.com.

DSC01061
DSC01084
DSC01052

 

 

0

The Tea House Poems

the-tea-house-poems-coverVenie Holmgren, our resident poet at Melliodora has just published a new collection of poems under the title of “The Tea House Poems”. Her eighth solo book traces her waiting months spent at Melliodora’s Tea House.

in the half light

of very early morning

geese on the pond

stately

silent

Well into my 90th year, I was headed for the even smaller village of Hepburn in the Central Highlands of Victoria to my family David and Su.

Oliver and I had agreed to drive there the long way, through the mountains. I shared the driving, being at the wheel when we crossed the state border. We arrived on February 28, David’s birthday.

My new home was unfinished. Meantime, I decided to live in what they called the Tea House, a one large room and veranda cottage, well built, pleasantly situated, looking through willow trees across the dam, but woefully bereft of the mod cons necessary for the comfort of a very old woman with a walking stick. The expected waiting time was 2 or 3 months. In fact, it became 8 months.

Anyone who has had the owner/builder experience should not be too surprised; the adaption of second hand materials for the special needs of a passive solar home of unconventional design, delays on arrival of necessary goods and so on.

My family did the very best to make me welcome and comfortable. I remember a bunch of red roses in a crystal vase and other signs of the special efforts made for me. I did my best to adapt. However, as time dragged on, tempers frayed, more than a little at times.

During the last 7 or so weeks, I picked up my pen and after long quiescence, began writing poetry again – a poetic diary, if you wish, of my time in the Tea House.  It became, naturally, The Tea House Poems.

(From the “author’s note”)

The Tea House Poems are available here.

4

Poetry in motion

HD-Venie

Melliodora’s resident poet, Venie Holmgren will be one of the poets taking part in the “Winter morning poetry” reading session this Sunday, as part of the month long Daylesford Words in Winter festival.

The soon to be ninety-one year old will take you to the emotional landscape she paints with her mesmerising delivery. She may present some of the verses from her latest poetry book, the Tea House Poems, collection of poems composed during her stay at the tea house since relocating to Melliodora in early 2012.

Stroll down to  Breakfast & Beer this Sunday morning and immerse yourself in Venie’s evocative world of words.

 

What: Winter morning poetry (Words in Winter)

When: 10.30am to 12 noon, Sunday 4 August.

Where: Breakfast & Beer Café, 117 Vincent St., Daylesford

Cost: free

0