Subverting stereotypes through poetry

Omar at GDSOmar Sakr is a bi-sexual Arab Australian poet, and his debut collection of poetry has just been published by Cordite Books.

The collection, called These Wild Houses, is about family, religion, sexuality and Omar’s experiences of growing up in Western Sydney.

He speaks to Georgia Moodie about why he puts his sexuality and ethnicity front and centre in his work, and about how his poems undermine negative stereotypes of Arab Australians.

I recorded this interview for RN’s Books and Arts, and you can listen to it here.

 

Advertisements

Sally Morgan’s new verse novel

Sally Morgan's Sister Heart

Sally Morgan’s Sister Heart

Author Sally Morgan is best known for her acclaimed memoir, My Place, about researching her family history and discovering her Aboriginal identity.

She has just written a powerful verse novel for children called Sister Heart.

Inspired by the story of her great grandmother, it tells the story of Annie, an Aboriginal girl from Western Australia who is taken from her family and her country.

I spoke to Sally Morgan for ABC RN’s Books and Arts program, and you can hear the interview here.

Old English Reading group finally finishes Beowulf

Bob DiNapoli with members of the Old English Reading Group at the University of Melbourne. Kate Mirabella is fourth from the right. (Georgia Moodie)

Bob DiNapoli with members of the Old English Reading Group at the University of Melbourne. Kate Mirabella is fourth from the right. (Georgia Moodie)

Beowulf, the epic poem set in Scandinavia, is arguably one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.

Each Tuesday at the University of Melbourne, the Old English Reading Group meets to read a bit more of the poem, which is 3182 lines long.

It’s slow going, because the group reads the poem aloud in Old English and discusses the nuanced meaning of each word.

But finally, after 3 years, the Old English Reading group has just finished reading Beowulf.

Dr Bob DiNapoli, the leader of the Old English Reading Group, and Katie Mirabella, self-confessed language nerd and the only person who’s been going along to the Beowulf readings since they began in 2011, discuss why this poem has captured their imagination.

I produced this story for Books and Arts Daily on ABC Radio National, and you can listen to the story here.

Poetic License: the power and limitations of words

Dante Soffra, Ileini Kabalan and Kominos Zervos (Alan Weedon)

Dante Soffra, Ileini Kabalan and Kominos Zervos (Alan Weedon)


Outer Urban Projects is a performing arts organisation which works with young people from the culturally diverse, outer northern suburbs of Melbourne.

As part of the Melbourne Writers Festival, they are staging a production called Poetic License, which is inspired by the Ancient Greek play by Aristophanes, The Frogs.

Poetic License features an ensembles of poets, rappers and musicians, and there’s a 50-year-age gap between the oldest and the youngest performers.

63-year-old poet Kominos Zervos and 13-year-old poet and rapper Dante Soffra join the CEO of Outer Urban Projects, Kate Gillick, to discuss the show, as well as the power of words to move and inspire.

Hear my story, which was produced for ABC Radio National’s Books and Arts Daily, here.