Emerging Poet in Residence Lulu Houdini

Red Room Poetry news

The Emerging Poets Residency is a new initiative which encourages the creative trajectory of emerging Australian poets with the support of the Adès Family Foundation and Moonrise on the River. Here's our chat with one of the two inaugural recipients of the residency, Lulu Houdini.

Congratulations on being selected for the first year of the Emerging Poets Residency on Yuin Country (Bermagui)! Can you tell us a bit about what you hope to work on while you’re there?

Damn I’m grateful. Thank you.

I’m going to keep working on a manuscript submission for a collection of poems I’m compiling and perhaps find some shape in it all. I have a million poems but where they all belong is a mystery.

I also hope, if it comes, to write something a bit longer. I have some short personal essays and memoirs but it’s never gone much beyond that. Staying in the same perimeter each day could help to contain and let out (hah!) a longer story perhaps.

Is connecting to place an important part of your poetry practice?

Yes absolutely. I need to connect to something when I write, it just doesn’t come when I’m running on autopilot. But the word place for me isn’t automatically a localisation - it isn’t restricted to a particular spot. The place I write from is a non physical place where I enter the stream and I think that's common for a lot of creators. Similarly, the things I write about are sometimes non-places that have been and don’t exist on maps.

I also write deeper when I’m with Country which is deeply connected to a physical place, but also sometimes not. Complex question ;)

Who are some poets you are inspired by?

I’m also inspired by my friend Ivan the poet but he doesn’t publish or send his poems - he only reads them to you on the phone or at slams and festivals. He’s amazing though, his voice is like hot chocolate.

Do you have any reading or listening recommendations?

Pádraig Ó Tuama reading Hanif Abdurraqib’s When We Were 13, Jeff’s Father Left The Needle Down On A Journey Record Before Leaving The House One Morning And Never Coming Back.

Many more but I’d have to go home and check the bookcase. And my Mum, she’s a great wordsmith and helps me all the time.

What is something you are curious about in your practice at the moment?

The mundane. Really, really fascinated by the mundane at the moment. This morning I was in the dentist chair at a new dentist and he listed effortlessly to his assistant the names of the 4 teeth that I’m missing. While he skimmed across the spots they used to be - where other teeth are now pulled into their place - I thought about how someone can know something was there, even though there's no trace of it, and something different in it’s place. It felt poetic.

Do you have any special writing rituals?

A candle burning or next to running water.

Lulu Littler Houdini Instagram.png

Find more of Lulu's work via Instagram @lulu.houdini