Meet our POEM FOREST Editorial Interns

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We are delighted to introduce you to Eva Phillips, India-Rose Thomas and Stephen Zavitsanos, who have been helping to publish hundreds of poems as editorial interns for POEM FOREST these past few months.

Hi everyone! It’s been so lovely to have you on board. Can you tell us a bit about what makes you excited to be involved with Red Room Poetry and POEM FOREST?

Eva: I think the biggest thing that drew me to Red Room is I'm always super intrigued by non-institutional organisations working in the education space. I think anyone who is committed to championing community-focused education is amazing, and I also think it's really important to actively engage in community, particularly when you work in a space that can be a bit isolating, like poetry. Considering most of my days are spent walking around my own head, getting out and involved in spaces like Red Room does wonders for me.

Stephen: Being a part of the editorial team for POEM FOREST is such a special opportunity as it allows me as a writer to see the development of creativity in schools. This is so personal to me as I can still remember when I first wrote a poem and thought ‘Ah, this is kinda alright’, and to think that any of these young authors may have that same moment of reassurance is exciting!

India-Rose: POEM FOREST combines many things that I am deeply passionate about, such as poetry (obviously) and education about our ecosystems and wild places. I love that it has a physical impact on the ground in Dharawal Country too – I just think it’s beautiful that a forest will be grown because of children and their poems! POEM FOREST also has a community element that I think is quite powerful and important, in terms of joining people from all different places across Australia through this shared point of connection.

Tell us a bit more about yourself and your poetic practice - where can we read your work?

Stephen: I’m a reader and writer living on Boonwurrung land. I’m currently in my final year at the University of Melbourne, studying a Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing), and intend to study a Master of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing. I have been reading creative non-fiction and poetry for different magazines, and I am hoping to publish a poetry collection. I’m kind of always writing poetry in some capacity. At the moment I’m working towards releasing a poetry collection, but I’m currently focusing on just writing every day. You can find all my socials from my website, as well as my Instagram.

India-Rose: I am currently living, reading and writing on Wurundjeri Country, while I finish up my undergrad degree in Creative Writing and Geography at the University of Melbourne. I have spent a fair bit of the last few years in my home state of lutruwita (Tasmania), working as a guide in the national parks, which has been really special – the landscapes and people of the island are close to my heart and definitely influence my own creative work. I am taking baby steps towards a collection of poetry, but am mostly just focusing on writing and experimenting more with my own creative practice at the moment. You can find a short story I wrote in the Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology, and here is my Instagram handle, although there is not much creative work on there currently.

Eva: I currently live on unceded Gadigal land, but I was born in Meanjin (Brisbane). I'm having a great time swimming through all the motions of beginning my thesis – I can't get over this idea of printmaking and poetry meeting each other at some lovely nexus, but I’m also just thinking, thinking, thinking about pilgrimages. Big walks, big movements, or instead, huge feelings caught and carried across tiny distances. My most recent poem was published in Sick Leave– they only do physical runs for their work, but you can catch a squiz of one of mine here. I don’t really announce anything on my socials, but I do love documenting tiny things I find and bits of bread - you can find it here

Do you have a favourite from the POEM FOREST entries that you’d like to share with us?

India-Rose: There have been many poems that have given me a little shiver, or made me smile – it’s so special to read all the beautiful, unexpected and funny ways that children use language and to experience the world through their eyes. Seasick by Year 12 student Finlay S is probably my favourite at the moment, it’s so evocative and dreamy.

Eva: I have a bunch that I really love thus far, this whole project has just reinforced what excellent intentional and accidental things kids can do with language. From today, in particular, I can’t stop thinking about Whales by Jacob H. It’s very simple, but there is something in the last line that I just adore.

Stephen: Yes! The poem Cloud by Nishat T is one I absolutely adore. I think it perfectly encapsulates that childlike sense of innocence, with a unique balance of abstract ideas. The poetic voice itself is also really interesting and maintains a level of kindness that I think only a student could put forth.

I also really like Ode to Eggs by Samuel S, the subject matter is interesting, as well as the execution of the ode itself.

Eva Phillips is a poet and arts worker based on Gadigal land. She was shortlisted for the 2023 Thomas Shapcott Award and directs the Meanjin-based ARI, pps/FORA. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons I) from Griffith University, and is currently completing a Master of Creative Writing at University of Sydney.

Stephen Zavitsanos (he/him) is a reader and writer currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing) at the University of Melbourne. Stephen has read poetry for Frontier Poetry and edited non-fiction and reviews for Farrago Magazine. His poem ‘Sick of Siken’ was shortlisted for the Dorothy Porter Award for Poetry 2022.

India-Rose Thomas is a writer, reader, wilderness guide and arts worker based between nipaluna and naarm. She is finishing her Bachelor of Creative Writing and Geography at the University of Melbourne. Her work draws deeply from sense of place and has been published in the Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology, Sour Cherry Mag and other publications. She likes words that unlock your breath, your chest and your heart.