The reincarnation of houses and dirt
The ground is nothing
black as a bat, the ground is blind
~ 'Fire and Ice', Coreen Group Poem
In 2019, in a series of seven workshops across August, November and December held at Nurragingy Reserve on Darug land, RR poet David Stavanger – occasionally accompanied by his rescue poetry dog Cookie – collaborated with students at Coreen School to create original poems both individually and in groups. These workshops focused on themes of identity, family, pop culture, nature, and dogs, as well as responding to both the bush fires and the flames within.
Read David's poetic reflection on the workshops:
In taking the workshop outside at Nurragingy Reserve on Darug land, the students were momentarily taken outside themselves and the narratives others have set for them. As was I. Through walks and talks and butcher paper and sticks and chalk and concrete paths and ducks and water fountains and laughter, poetry was created on their terms in their words, from "serving up the evil within / with blood pudding" to "dirty footy boots / hot lasagna in the arvo" to recipes of self to the fires burning within and around beyond their own skin, capturing the smoke haze that hung heavy across the thirsty lagoon as we wrote a way to see the future.
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"I just wanted to send a quick email praising David Stavanger and the brilliant work he did with our students. His nature, patience and professionalism with our students was outstanding. The students really loved him and produced some brilliant results." ~ Timothy Lorkin, Assistant Principal Coreen School