Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
Watch this space for information updates. 

DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



Back To Schedule
Monday, November 28 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Poetry, Song and Place :: 2A4

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Brentley Frazer: Aboriginal to Nowhere: Song Cycle of The Post Modern Dispossessed

In 1948, after many years living with the Wonguri-Mandjigai people, Ronald M. Berndt published an English language translation of a non sacred song of the Sand-fly Clan: the Song Cycle of The Moon-Bone. In 1977 Les Murray wrote his own version based on the Berndt translation The Buladelah-Taree Holiday Song Cycle, a white mans revision. This earned him both congratulations and consternation. Critics referred to this poem as a ‘respectful parody’; he had, after all, omitted the lyrical I, a big ask for someone who believes in spiritual dominion. 2016: I have authored a homosemantic emulation, retranslated Murray’s translation, transgressed his vision of city folk holidaying on grandma’s farm and responded with Aboriginal To Nowhere: Song Cycle of The Post Modern Dispossessed. Written in thirteen cycles this poem signals a contemporary poetry of dispossession and anti-sentiment, ventures into transliminal territory, explores those in-between places of perpetual generational change, hyperaware of incremental shifts. I have restored the lyrical I, unable to see myself as a collective, metaphorical evidence of ontological fractures in the definition of what it means to ‘be human’. Perhaps Murray is correct and modernist sensibilities are dominated by fragmentation, cynicism and a morbid depression. I certainly fit here, lost and broken and deeply distrustful of ‘the official story’. This is all I have, what of the world I have inherited from my forebears; fragments, pieces of nothing and empty alienation.

Owen Bullock:  Response mode: taking everything and the genre

This hybrid paper of creative and critical writing reflects on my explorations of poetry. I write in what I call ‘response mode’, which is a group of behaviours, beginning with impersonation, and open to understandings gained from other art forms. After studying the style and techniques of other poets, I move towards a mid-point between another poet’s voice and my own, effectively, a new hybrid voice. The engagement with some literary ancestors enables evolution to an expression more fully my own. Stealing the designations of genre ensures a continued experiment. The challenges and variety of voicings made possible by prose poetry and haibun are important. The haibun influences other new hybrid forms, which encompass found poetry and appropriate language in a way which is redolent of the times. We take from exhibitions, songs, film, poems, conversation. Poets eavesdrop; I do it on the bus. If there is stealing, it is on a spectrum, which includes intertext. My poems draw from Gerard Manley Hopkins, Yunna Moritz and Alan Loney, and from sculptor Cori Beardsley, who suggest to me new possibilities.

Andrew Melrose: Product/Protest Placement in popular culture: writing lyrical protest songs 

While watching Tarantino’s Django Unchained, I was given a flashback back to my early teenage years, when I first encountered Richie Havens singing ‘Freedom’ in the Woodstock movie. Here was the Django film, set in 1858, screened in 2016 and using a song recorded in 1968, and the legitimate theft of the song was used very effectively to enhance the film’s narrative. Nevertheless, while we are aware of ‘cynical’ product placement in movies, the trend for placing protest songs is an interesting ‘appropriation’, which I will address – especially in relation to my own interventions. Songwriting is the little sister in the writing world, arguably the most popular but least considered in critical terms. This paper is part of research into my forthcoming book, Writing Song Lyrics: a creative and critical approach (forthcoming, Palgrave, 2017).

Katrina Finlayson: This Story Has an Island in It: A Thief Weaves a Braided Essay

A bowerbird collects pieces of blue, arranging stolen objects to form meaning; a pattern leading the way home. So, too, this braided essay gathers pieces of writing and arranges them to form new meaning. I am a thief, stealing stories from the ghosts of place to weave through my own. A brief discussion of the braided essay form, and the creative writing process behind this braided essay, situates the creative work.

The braided essay draws on my travels to a tiny island in the Scottish Highlands called Eilean Munde. An older story weaves through mine, a story found through research into the history of dark treachery and bloodshed in the surrounding area of Glencoe. The final thread in the braid is a critical discussion, about place and about the ghosts which sigh through the long grasses of the Isle of the Dead. Excerpts from the braided essay will be presented.



avatar for Paul Munden

Paul Munden

Postdoctoral Fellow (Poetry & Creative Practice), University of Canberra
Paul Munden is Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Poetry & Creative Practice) at the University of Canberra. He is General Editor of Writing in Education and Writing in Practice, both published by the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), of which he is Director. He has... Read More →


Owen Bullock

HDR Student, University of Canberra
Owen Bullock’s publications include urban haiku (Recent Work Press, 2015), A Cornish Story (Palores, 2010) and sometimes the sky isn’t big enough (Steele Roberts, 2010). He has edited a number of journals and anthologies, including Poetry NZ. He won the Canberra Critics... Read More →
avatar for Katrina Finlayson

Katrina Finlayson

HDR Student, Flinders University
Katrina Finlayson is a Creative Writing doctoral candidate at Flinders University, in South Australia. She mostly writes short pieces of prose and creative nonfiction, usually focused on ideas about identity and travel. Her doctoral research explores how contemporary creative writing... Read More →

Brentley Frazer

HDR Student, Griffith University
Brentley Frazer is a contemporary Australian poet, novelist, academic and editor. He holds a MA (writing) from James Cook University and will complete a PhD (creative writing) from Griffith University in 2016. His texts have been published in numerous national and international anthologies, journals, magazines... Read More →
avatar for Andrew Melrose

Andrew Melrose

Professor of Writing, University of Winchester
Andrew Melrose is Professor of Writing for Children and Creative Writing at the University of Winchester, UK. He has over 160 film, fiction, nonfiction, research, songs, poems and other writing credits, including 15 films, 4 scholarly and 30 creative books. He is also the editor of... Read More →

Monday November 28, 2016 1:30pm - 2:30pm PST
2A4 Building 2, UC

Attendees (4)