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Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
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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.



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Tuesday, November 29 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Process and Transformation :: 2A12

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Monica Carroll & Donna Hanson: 

Election Triptych

Using the found poetry of on-line forums, we create permanent compositions from an ephemeral stream of words and words as image. These works explore the phenomenological capacities of the page and seek techniques that build poem-compositions that account for space as much as line to give expression to the idea that a poem is ‘felt’ rather than ‘read’.

Caitlin Maling: Spending a Month with William Stafford in Oregon

This creative research project engages with the idea of process-driven writing as a potential method for ecopoetics. Such a method draws of Heideggerian ideas of ‘dwelling’ to propose that through daily directed engagement with the immediate environment the poet can in some way be permitted access to the ‘four-fold’ of things.  Adding an additional layer of complexity to the process, the composition is created in concert with the creative and critical work of the great mid-west poet William Stafford. Stafford pioneered ideas of process-driven writing before the development of ecocriticism. Heavily identified with the pacific north west, his work Averill (2001: 279) proposes allows everyone to feel centered ‘-in place, in language, in sensibility’. My creative work emerges from a daily practice of reading Stafford’s work and writing my own in response. February in Oregon collages my impressions of the Oregonian landscape with those of Staffords, seeking a way to feel at ‘home’ in the foreign landscape of Oregon. My paper is evenly divided into a critical section addressing the development of my compositional method and a performance of the resultant poem.

The Poet Jackson: A dao of poetry? Non-intentional composition, emergence, and intertextuality

Ten poems are presented, sampling my PhD research exploring how poetry might harmonise “Western” scientific and “Eastern” spiritual worldviews. The poems invite a liminal consciousness where science’s epistemic authority may meet on equal — not privileged — terms with the more ancient authorities of body and Earth. My chosen primary foci are modern physics, philosophical Daoism, and the ecosystemic perspective afforded by complexity theory (Capra & Luisi, 2014), in which large-scale patterns emerge unpredictably from relatively simple processes. This emergence, as Smith (2006, p. 172) remarks, is helpful in theorising how an artwork frequently “develops its own autonomous identity and ... takes the creator in directions quite different from his or her original intentions.” My methodology carries this further by seeking to abandon intention entirely. To achieve this I choose randomly from lists of sources and writing experiments. Influenced by the aleatory processes of conceptual writing and LANGUAGE poetry (Dworkin, n.d.; James, 2012), I appropriate, combine and re-present ideas and text from creative and non-fictional works. I take words from books or from what Tobin (2004, p. 126) calls the mind’s “other place” of poetry. A poem may or may not emerge; if one does, I have little idea what it may say or do. I work with eyes and fingers, pointing, highlighting, cutting and shuffling. I select and place text using body and instinct, not the thinking self. This non-intentional composition strives for the Daoist ideal of wei wuwei, action without action — egoless, selfless, apparently-effortless action. Moeller (2004) likens wei wuwei to Csíkszentmihályi’s (1990) concept of flow, the focused, effortless mental state also called “the zone”. Aspiring to become daojia shiren, “poet of Philosophical Daoism”, I practise yun you, “wandering like a cloud”, “searching everywhere” for the Way (Chen & Ji, 2016, pp. 178, 188).

Ali Black:  To become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests itself: Writing for repossession and transformation
It is said stories support growth and transformation—personally and collectively, socially, culturally and spiritually. We can see this truth on ancient walls and history books, we can hear it in the words of elders passed down through the ages. In this space, I reflect and story my personal experience. Messages contained in the interpersonal of my everyday life (dis)connect with those of contemporary culture. In my dark cocoon-like experience of the everyday—depression, death, grief, loss, invisibility—the butterfly does not come. And so I (re)present to repossess using multi-layered, arts-based forms of narrative, image, poetry and creative writing—forms that embody and represent how change can happen, and the time it takes. These forms respond to deep desires to know and understand change and transition, to make meaning of experience—to make repossession visible. In this piece, contemplative storying creates sparks in the darkness, offering catalysts for dialogue and thinking, and possible frames for re/emergence.


Thom Conroy

Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing, Massey University
Thom Conroy teaches Creative Writing at Massey University. The Salted Air, his second novel, was published in 2016 (Penguin-Random House). The Naturalist, a historical novel featuring the German scientist Ernst Dieffenbach’s 1839 visit to New Zealand, was published in 2014 (Penguin-Random House). His short fiction has appeared in a variety of journals in the United States and New Zealand, including New England Review, Alaska Quarterly... Read More →

avatar for Jackson


Poet; PhD candidate, Edith Cowan University
Jackson is a computer science graduate and poet. Her doctoral research at Edith Cowan University explores how poetry might harmonise 'Western' scientific and 'Eastern' spiritual worldviews. Her journal and anthology publications include Westerly, Plumwood Mountain, the Australian Poetry Journal and the forthcoming Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry. Jackson has published two books, a chapbook, seven zines and a CD. She won... Read More →
avatar for Ali Black

Ali Black

University of the Sunshine Coast
Dr Ali Black is an arts-based and narrative researcher in the School of Education, University of the Sunshine Coast. Her research and scholarly work seeks to foster connectedness, community, wellbeing and meaning-making through the building of reflective and creative lives and identities. Ali is interested in storied and visual approaches for knowledge construction, representation and meaning-making and the power and impact of... Read More →

Monica Carroll

University of Canberra
Monica Carroll is a researcher at the University of Canberra. Her academic publications include papers on space and writing. Her research interests include phenomenology, poetry and empathy. Her widely published prose and poetry has won numerous national and international awards.
avatar for Donna Hanson

Donna Hanson

Donna Maree Hanson is a Canberra-based writer of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and under the pseudonym (Dani Kristoff) paranormal romance. Her dark fantasy series (which some reviewers have called ‘grim dark’), Dragon Wine, is published by Momentum Books (Pan Macmillan digital imprint). Book 1: Shatterwing and Book 2: Skywatcher are out now in digital and print on demand. In April 2015, she was awarded the A. Bertram Chandler Award... Read More →

Caitlin Maling

University of Sydney
Caitlin Maling is a Western Australian poet. Her first books Conversations I've Never Had was published in 2015, a second collection Border Crossing is due in February 2017. She is completing a PhD in literature at the University of Sydney on comparative ecopoetics and the pastoral.

Tuesday November 29, 2016 1:30pm - 2:30pm
2A12 Building 2, UC

Attendees (8)