Digital Writers Festival 2017

 

The Digital Writing Festival is happening from the end of this month.

The Digital Writers’ Festival takes place online, on their website. Log on and tune in to join the conversation, wherever you are.

 

For all sessions and workshops check out their website here:

Digital Writers Festival

 

 

 

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What Inspires Me: Quote by Walt Whitman

This quote prefaced in Whitman’s  ‘Leaves of Grass” sings to me….

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

2017 Reading Challenge

Taken from the Modern Mrs Darcy website I took up the following challenge for 2017 and here is my completed list:

A book you chose for the cover:
A Vocation and a Voice: Stories by Kate Chopin

A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able:
Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit:
History of Ancient Egypt by Erik Hornung 

A book you’ve already read:
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

A juicy memoir:
Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea by Marie Munkara

A book about books or reading:
The Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1918 by Arthur Quiller-Couch

A book in a genre you usually avoid:
Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descaties 

A book you don’t want to admit your dying to read:
The Feminist Manifesto by Mina Loy

A book in the backlist of a new favorite author:
Transformations by Anne Sexton

A book recommended by someone with great taste:
The Yellow Wallpaper; The Wallpaper Replies by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A book you were exited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet:
Collected Poems: 1969-1999 by John Forbes

A book about a topic or subject you already love:
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Melbourne Writers Festival 2017

The Melbourne Writers Festival is happening in Melbourne, Australia from 25 August till 3 September.

Victoria’s premier annual literary event. The Festival connects writers and stories to celebrate a world of literature, explore universal ideas, and inspire a global community of readers.

This year’s Festival theme is exploring the theme of revolutions past, present and future, it’s revolutionary ideas and fresh new voices that will power this year’s Festival – and invigorate everyone who reads.

For all sessions and workshops check out their website here:

Melbourne Writers Festival

 

 

Melbourne Rare Book Week & Rare Book Fair

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Melbourne Rare Book Week commenced in 2012 as a partnership between ANZAAB, the University of Melbourne and eight other literary institutions. In 2015, over 44 free events were held at libraries, literary and historical societies and bookshops throughout Melbourne, attracting local, national and international visitors. Melbourne Rare Book Week is now well established in the City of Melbourne’s event calendar. It is a major attraction for book collectors, librarians and all who have a love of words, print on paper and literary heritage.

The Melbourne Rare Book week in 2017 is from 30th June to the 9th of July:

Rare Book Week

The Melbourne Rare Book Fair in 2017 is from July 7-9, 2017.

For more info go to their website by following this link:

Rare Book Fair

 

Emerging Writers Festival

The Emerging Writers Festival is happening in Melbourne, Australia next month.

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is a not-for-profit organisation whose foundations are built on supporting emerging writers. They are a place where creativity and innovation is celebrated, where new talent is nurtured and where diverse voices from across Australia are represented.

For all sessions and workshops check out their website here:

Emerging Writers Festival

 

 

What inspires me: Margarett Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale

I have always been inspired by stories of and by women.  I recently re-read “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

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I have to start off by saying this book was recommended to me by a friend and I am glad she did as its become one of my favorite all time books.

The scary thing is that our current political climate can potentially lead to this dystopian world where women’s rights and reproduction are controlled by men in power and with that in mind its quite a thought provoking read.

This book has had a deep impact on me and my personal connection to feminism and the resulting treatment of women and their bodies.

Hulu has created a tv series based on the books airing in March and I look forward to seeing this great novel on the small screen…until then:

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” 

Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

Poetry Writing Style

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I was around 21 when I showed a friend some of the poetry I had written up to that point.  We were planning on attending a poetry reading group and I wanted some feedback on my work before going “public”with it.  It was a huge deal for me, as before this I had never shown anyone my poetry.

This friend was very focused and silent, whilst she looked through my notebook of handwritten poems…mostly in neat print which at times became cursive.  After what seemed like an eon, she looked up at me and said “you write like Sylvia Plath” to which I replied “Who?“, as I had no idea who Sylvia Plath was at the time.

Like I’ve mentioned before – I wasn’t exposed to the best English literature at the working class public schools I attended growing up.  For the most part and if I am speaking frankly, I don’t ever recall being taught anything about poetry or poets for that matter.  The poets I had been exposed to were the ones I found on my own.  These tended to be poets from the Romantic era  like Byron, Shelley, Keats and Poe, as I had developed an obsession with the Victorian period as a teen.

Soon after, I found myself borrowing my friends copy of her collection of Sylvia Plath’s work and realized that my poetry did resemble her style.  This was completely unintentional and worried me so much I stopped writing for a while.  I was so fearful about not emulating that it made me stop creating any work at all!

Then, I finally read “The Bell Jar”.  I completely resonated and understood where the protagonist was coming from.  Something inside clicked.   I released the expectation and worry I had placed upon myself.

I went back to writing poetry and I write the way I am compelled to.  Whether it be free or rhyme, flowing or constructed, personal or observational –  I don’t care what I sound like. As long as I am getting my feelings out and expressing myself as I feel compelled to, I feel good about it.

Syliva’s style was autobiographical and so is mine and we deal with the same subject matter of depression, disturbances and death.  The older I get the more comfortable I get with my poetry and as long as I personally feel something when I write it, I will keep at it.

If you would like to read some of my work, here are a few poems I have written in the last year:

Poetry by Tina Altman

 

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(Image: Sylvia Plath)

“Wear your heart on your skin in this life.”
Sylvia Plath

(c) T. Altman 2017

Flaneusing In Another City

In December, I went on a trip to Brisbane for a conference and took some extra days off either side, to be able to further acquaint myself with the city.

Even though I’d been to Brisbane a few times before, it had been years and the city has changed into a sprawling modern metropolis with more things to do and see.

I found my time being spent walking around the city most mornings before the mercury got too high.   I would then retreat to the comfort of my hotel room in the afternoon to read and write.

During one of my daily flaneusing trips, I came across the “Literary Trail” scattered throughout Brisbane which I thought was quite beautiful and a great tribute to the city’s poets:

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These walks were just what I needed to reinvigorate me with my passion for poetry and short story writing.

(c) T. Altman 2017