3x3 poetry prompts
Each year as part of Poetry Month, we run the 30in30 Writing Competition. Writers from across the continent are encouraged to enter a 3-line poem or excerpt to win a book by a contemporary Australian poet every day of the month.
Three poets were selected from over 1,300 entries to develop their poem further with editorial support from Red Room Poetry staff, and paid publication of their poem. In 2022, the winners of the competition were Dave Clark (NT), Julie-Ann Henninger (NSW) and Sam Quyên Huỳnh (QLD). We had a chat to the three of them about their writing practice.
What does 'poetry' mean to you?
Dave: Poetry is the voice I didn't know I had for thirty-five years. And it's the best voice I now have.
Julie-Ann: To me, poetry is a potent way of connecting with ourselves, each other and our world. A way of slowing, listening, learning, considering and communicating. A practice of playing with words and meaning making.
Sam: Poetry is a way to be present. It's a way of seeing the world—of translating your world into something material, a gift to be given.
What's something you are curious about in your poetry practice at the moment?
Julie-Ann: Something I am curious about in my poetry practice is how our bodies are in ecosystems and ecosystems are in our bodies.
Sam: Space—the physical and literal space a poem takes on the page, but also the space in memory, inside/between words, in our unconsciousness.
Dave: My poetry often polishes up my chaotic thoughts, so I'm curious about why the most interesting poems to read and write pour some of the chaos back in before they're done. That interaction between lyrical refinement and mess is pleasantly swirling in my head!
Can you share a writing prompt of your own?
Sam: Tell me about a gift you've received. Describe the shape of it, the space it occupies in your heart. Make me a gift of your gift.
Dave: Sometimes I sit with a line or scene, until I can see and feel the precise moment of action (i.e. where I'd write the verb). Then I play with a bunch of verbs until one matches the feeling accurately and innovatively.
Julie-Ann: Become present with something small enough to hold in your hand. How is it connected with lands, waters and skies? If it could talk, what life advice might it give you about being in the world? What might it be needing right now?