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find: Poetry Australia

June Paisa Perkins  

  poet / reviewer (film / theatre), Australia.

Agnes and June rehearsing, Immigrant Mother written by June Perkins.

For Aunty Pat Ellis

Writin' that day
at special day
nostalgic with tears

walkin' past middens
Koori kitchens to childhood
kitchens nostalgic with tears

pickin' up a shell
and rememberin' teachings
of the old days

"put it back where it was
leave it there"

I know the old ways
'cause I did what I was s'posed to
sat down and listened

Seen a crow following us
it's some Elder comin'
with us as we walk

my eldest daughter's peelin'
back the layers of a rock
like a potato

the day is peelin' back

an' there's
a giant hand holding up the
roof of the cave
we go into

something just something

what a day
what a joyous day

an' I see a saw
reminds me of me Dad
cuttin' the wood
and me brother's markin' out
where the trees to fall

an' it's the kinda
day you wanna write about

walkin' past middens
Koori kitchens to childhood
kitchens nostalgic with tears.

June Perkins, 2005

June Perkins is a writer with an interest in social artistry, community cultural development and spirituality in the arts. Recently her arts practice has begun turning in the direction of digital storytelling, collaborations with artists, and installations of text on artists/writers walls. She has had several poems broadcast on radio, and recently one work was recorded by rap artists at a local radio station.

She is keenly writing stories for children, a novel, a play, some songs and has two non-fiction books based on her PhD being considered by publishers. Look out for the forthcoming Women of Ink and Ochre, featuring interviews with Indigenous Women Australian Writers.

June has begun to explore the possibilities of the internet, and become addicted to the art of blogging. June is also interested in the powers and challenges of community writing groups in Australia as well as worldwide.

In the past she has published (and performed) poetry, interviews with artists and writers, and Indigenous people, oral history, reviews, news and prose pieces, and discussions of drama and teaching and given workshops and papers in these areas. Her works have appeared in New Literature Review, Ulitarra, Australian Bahá´í Bulletin, Queensland Community Arts Network newsletter, Australasian Drama Studies, SideWalk & Talking Ink From Ochre.

June has created a multimedia poetry presentation - titled Soul Spinners, based on the life of Martha Root and Tahirih. This has so far been performed for two Bahá´í communities and has been very well received. June is available to perform this for Bahá´í communities able to cover her travel and accommodation costs. She is collecting her published works together into a self published volume, Life Lines Standing Tall with the Dreamers, this is illustrated by her childhood friend Paulien Bats, who is resident in Holland.

In 2003 she completed a PhD dissertation, Distilling Ink From Ochre, Empowerment of Australian Indigenous Women through Writing Practices at the University of Sydney, whilst being a mother to three children (8, 4 and 2 years). This will hopefully be published as a book in the not too distant future. Her dissertation included a number of "listening poems" written in response to the stories she heard during her research and compiled into a poetry collection for the participants in the study Singing for the Power Sisters.

She has had poetry published in SideWalk, Ulitarra, Herald of the South, the South Coast Writers Centre Anthology, and with the ACT Indigenous Writer's Group in Talking Ink From Ochre.

She has been a Bahá´í since early childhood, and started writing poetry seriously when one of her brothers received head injuries in a serious accident.

She working on her first novel and a book for children, as well as developing a number of other community and individual writing projects.

June Perkins, 2005


Perseus persuades you
to consider me
an impossibility,
while Hades calls
for your rejection of my heart.

Buried in your
pencil coloured sea
you write your requiem mass.

A hundred syllables,
A hundred notes on
and you are gone
a legend
I leave you in
the skeleton light.

Contact: June Perkins, c/-National Bahá´í Office,
173 Mona Vale Rd, Ingleside, NSW 2103, Australia.

More of her work can be viewed through or

The poem, Dizzy, an eulogy to Dizzy Gillespie was part of the artwork, Conversations by Sonja van Kerkhoff, on show in a music shop in Leiden as part of the Close to the Wall Poetry festival, 2005.

June Perkins' 57 line poem, also published in the book, Just Let the Wind was displayed along the whole wall of this shop for 2 months in the summer of 2005.

The drawings by Sonja van Kerkhoff, on transparent film on the mirrored walls, became more or less visible as you walked past. The images and broken images were intended to create their own voices or 'musics' in reaction to the words, sounds and rhythms in the poem, to jam along like one long score of music.

Excerpt from the poem: Dizzy
by June Perkins come...

  • Poem: Dizzy, Just Let the Wind, 2006
  • Review: International conference of young playwrights in Townsville, December 1994
  • Poem: Sunlight Tapping, Arts Dialogue, December 1994
  • Artist Profile: BAFA newsletter, March 1994
  • Poems: Brother on the wall, Requiem, This is a poem to my heroine Tahirih, For Roger White, BAFA newsletter, March 1994
  • Poem: An offering, BAFA newsletter, December 1993
  • Article: Unity in Diversity -A vision in film (Aboriginal presence in Australian Films), BAFA newsletter, December 1993
  • Poem: Dizzy, BAFA newsletter, June 1993

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