Welcome to PhotoVoltaicPoetry
poems ~ photographs ~ videos ~ music ~ essais – through a green lens
I am a writer and photographer passionate about art and the natural world and deeply concerned about the future.
Many congratulations Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian Kurdish journalist, a refugee illegally detained, winner of the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature.
He wrote ‘No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison’. The book was written on a mobile phone and smuggled out as thousands of PDF files! The prize is worth A$100,000 – but what price has freedom? He also won the Non-Fiction prize!
‘Seated all around me, it seems, are people with thoughts full of beautiful dream images – even as they are haunted by broken and disturbing memories.’ From chapter three, ‘The Raft of Purgatory’. They have been picked up by a British Cargo shop after a very dangerous voyage and full of hope wait for the Australian navy. He couldn’t imagine what lay ahead.
‘Distinctive narrative formations are used, from critical analysis to thick description to poetry to dystopian surrealism. The writing is beautiful and precise, blending literary traditions emanating from across the world, but particularly from within Kurdish practices.’ The judges.
Arnold Zable, who has been up here as a guest of the literary festival, writes, it is: ‘A chant, a cry from the heart, a lament, fuelled by a fierce urgency, written with the lyricism of a poet, the literary skills of a novelist, and the profound insights of an astute observer of human behaviour and the ruthless politics of a cruel and unjust imprisonment.’
On Monday in the Coffs Botanic Gardens I passed a group of Kurds having a picnic, one was playing a tambur. I stopped for a listen and a chat, they invited me to join them but I was on my way to the airport. A woman insisted I share some watermelon. They were from Syria, but Kurds are also populations in Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Hence their ongoing struggle to have the right to be Kurds, to speak Kurdish and celebrate Kurdish culture and ideally have a Kurdish state – a hope Turkey is intent on suppressing.
Two beautiful inclusive ceremonies at Urunga and Coffs Harbour.
Hope for whole: poets speak up to Adani – download for free here. My poem is here. The decline of high profile mammal species such as the koala and platypus is ongoing and yet under NSW’s new land-clearing laws, 99% of koala habitat can be bulldozed if it’s on private land. Protest against these awful laws.
Your Silence On Manus And Nauru Is Your Complicity, Lauren Bull, New Matilda – ‘What Australia has done to people seeking asylum is the responsibility of all Australians, writes Lauren Bull. If you don’t exercise your democracy, you’ll lose it. It’s as simple as that. What is happening on Manus right now is the direct result of decades of silent acquiescence, of politicians being emboldened by a public who don’t hold them to account, and of the normalisation of cruelty.’
Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all, Richard Flanagan (Nov 22, 2017). We went to a screening of ‘Hope Road‘ in Bellingen, a local Fundraiser for Refugees. It is a film by Tom Zubrycki about Zacharia Machiek and a few supporters who want to raise money to build a school back in his home village in South Sudan. It reveals the difficulties of living in Australia as a refugee, the difficulty of fundraising and the awful ongoing conflict in Sudan.
The news today (Nov 1) from Mannus is appalling. For the latest reports see the Guardian. Back in August, Paul Bongiorno gave an impassioned account of the government’s duplicity – especially in the light of the leaked telephone conversation between our Prime Minister and the US President. Hear Paul here. The Local Refugee Group Facebook page is here.
After thirty years in the heart of Sydney, I now live on the Mid North Coast of NSW beside a forest by the sea.
a small Jagun poem
a haiku might grasp
momentarily for ever
the essence of incoming spring
but I’ve just made a photograph
of winter light
graphic on burnt Blackbutt
and stuffed my pockets
with Senna seeds
Yaarrijunga-ngarraan galayaam Gumbaynggirr girrwaa garla-ngarraan galagilagunga, gungan gulam jalum galnyarr giiliwaw
I wish to acknowledge the Gumbaynggirr people (nation) and pay respects to the traditional owners and custodians both past and present.