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Love: can’t get it wrong, can’t get it right

A passionate conversation of love and poetry with CJ Bowerbird, Kelly-Lee Hickey, Lisa Jacobson and Karl Schembri filled the tent with the incredible emotions of both humour and sorrow.

The most powerful element of the session was listening to the poets perform their work.

Poetry slam champion CJ Bowerbird said he writes love poems obliquely with the emotions of longing, lust and loss in mind.

“I write about human love not romantic love,” he told the audience.

Bowerbird recited his poem, Hunger Trilogy, which is about the connection between food and love.

“First to know the thing you seek, learn you must the way to eat. I asked again how should a man truly purely live his life? He said how could you learn this one great truth when you don’t know how to eat some fruit.”

Poetry slam champion of 2010, Kelly-Lee Hickey said “I’m a poet, I love irrationally, foolishly and far too much.”

She recited her poem, written for a fomer boyfriend, and said that you only get one love letter from a poet and this was it. It was a moody piece describing the elements of a storm.

“If you catch a rainbow by the tail, golden futures await you, the sky can hold the spectrum, but it can not keep it. As I said, it was only a moment,” she spoke.

Fiction writer and poet Lisa Jacobson told the audience that sometimes we forget the domesticity in love. It certainly came through in the poem she recited called Wheelbarrow.

“She pushed him backwards into the wheelbarrow and threw the book at him and said at least read the first chapter of Hamlet.”

Maltese journalist, fiction writer and poet Karl Schembri spoke of how he can only write about love if he is in it and writes for that person. He said he doesn’t see the point unless you write for the person you are in love with.

He recited a beautifully funny piece called We Shall be Free, which acts as a list of things you can almost get away with when you’re in love.

“Present ourselves as each other’s absinthe at alcoholics anonymous meetings, address frogs and donkeys on the radio.”

The session also included a discussion about poetry and music, and drew a range of opinions from the panel.

Hickey said that some poetry relies heavily on rhythm such as spoken word but it is only one device to use.

“You can cook without chilies, it just won’t be a curry,” she said.

However Jacobson disagreed with her and said to take the rhythm out of the poem makes it something else entirely.

At the end of the session it was very apparent that these four talented poets are truly masters of that crazy little thing called love literature.

Kelly Wintour is a Southern Cross media student.



  1. Tina Wintour says

    Love poetry, poetry about love… sounds like I missed a very thoughtful, entertaining discussion.

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