A Haunting Landscape
Crystal Corocher shares some of her landscape-inspired poetry with us.
This river and the goanna that
Higher with each incision.
Little by little more,
it reaches its prey.
what the miners lay.
Kills to live
and lives to kill
Ending what could have been,
but never will.
This river holds ghosts,
and so do I.
New blooms signal
a quiet death.
The Mona Team sat down with Crystal to find out about her creative inspirations and process.
When did you start writing? What prompted you to start writing?
I have a clear memory of announcing at six years of age that I was “going to be an author.” I’ve been dabbling with poetry and creative writing from that time. I also remember talking my grade 4 teacher into letting me join an extra-curricular poetry workshop for grade 6 kids. I learned an important lesson in that workshop; that it’s a gift to be surrounded by people with more skills than I have, to be challenged and to have space to grow. I have sought out opportunities that push me, and to work with people who are more skilled than me ever since.
Have you had any training in this field?
I have a dual major in journalism and children’s literature from Deakin and have been writing professionally for more than a decade. I’ve only recently started sharing my poetry publicly and am really heartened by the community that has grown within my Facebook page, occasionally offering me prompts or just supporting my ‘lockdown shares.’ (FB: Crystal Corocher Write Now)
Who are your writing idols? Is there a composer who inspires you?
As an author, Tim Winton. His command over language is next level. Sometimes I’ll just become hooked on a single sentence with his work, I find it beautifully lyrical at times. In terms of poetry, Edgar Poe is a ‘forever favourite.’ I’m also always looking to read new and fresh voices, particularly new Australian voices, of any age; everyone has something to share, something original to offer.
In which forms do you usually write? Is there a particular reason you’re drawn to these forms?
I find it hard not to rhyme. It makes me feel like a less sophisticated poet and I try to push myself into different forms when writing poetry, but ultimately, I find this comes most naturally to me. This is very handy in my work as editor with Larrikin House and will be evident in my children’s books coming out next year, but I am really trying to extend my breadth in poetry. I also love narrative non-fiction. I’ve worked this into poems and have a book in this genre in production, for me it’s a really satisfying project to work on if I have a purpose to research and an outlet to be creative with what I learn through that process.
Are there themes or topics that you usually write about? If so, what are the messages you’d like your reader to take from your pieces about these ideas or issues?
Championing women’s rights will always have a place in my work. Be that as a journalist, author, or poet. There is so much work be done for us all to keep women’s issues within the social agenda. I’ve shared a piece with Mona that alludes to miscarriage, which I think is a very private grief. ‘Cradling Ghosts’ came to me while literally watching a goanna rob a nest. I was surprised that my subconscious decided to pull me back into that place of loss just by considering this little, mini mamma bird who would be returning to an empty nest. But it reminded me that it is a unique loss. You grieve for someone you didn’t know, and it’s one of those things I’m not sure could be fully understood by someone who hasn’t gone through it.
The other, again while very literal (water hyacinth is a noxious weed), is a bit of an insight into how I’ve felt in relationships and what I’ve seen friends experience; often an appropriate ‘picture’ on the outside but can be quite suffocating within.
The two are part of a collection of 30 poems entitled, ‘This River,’ a dissertation of the socio-economic and historical significance of the Richmond River, interspersed with personal anecdotes. ‘This River’ is currently on submission.
How do you think being a rural woman impacts on your writing?
I think when you grow up or live in a rural area for a significant amount of time, it somehow attaches itself to your DNA. You just become a part of the landscape and for me, this influences my work because it influences me as a person.
This post has been sponsored by 2MIAFM - tune in on 95.1 in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. To find out how you can sponsor a Mona blog piece to enable rural women to be paid for their writing, email firstname.lastname@example.org