Poetry at Manning Clark House

Three Canberra poets presented their work at Manning Clark House (MCH) on Thursday 27 June 2019.

MCH is a not-for-profit organisation supporting history, literature, culture and human rights. The house was formerly the home of eminent Australian historian, Professor Manning Clark (1915-1991). Clark’s great work was his six volume study, A History of Australia.

Nowadays, among other events, the venue hosts a monthly poetry reading organised by MCH Poetry Coordinator, Hazel Hall. The three poets on 27 June were Frances Carleton, KA Nelson and myself.

First to read was Frances, whose entertaining manner engaged the crowd as she presented a variety of tanka and free verse poems. KA (Kerrie) Nelson read a number of excellent poems about life and people in Australia’s remote Indigenous communities.



Gregory Piko  (photo by Hazel Hall)


For my part, the reading comprised a number of my prose pieces plus some of my free verse poems. The prose included prose poems, plus several haibun which combine prose poetry with one, or more, haiku. Here is one of the haibun:


Setting Sail

The westerly beats another white-capped wave against the hull. Leaping to the deck of the ferry. Barging its way past any who dare to venture outside. Ruffling trousers, rifling pockets. Every conversation struggling to be heard over the blast of racing air. Clashing with the coat tail of an elderly man holding fast to the stern rail. Bounding across the trembling swell to confront a scarlet spinnaker. Struggling, thrashing wildly, move and counter-move until the fabric outflanks the wind on the left, and then the right.


            setting sail . . .

            the street kid

            finds a purpose


The poetry nights at Manning Clark House are always enjoyable with the readings accompanied, as they are, by appetisers, good wine and good conversation. If you have the opportunity, join us at a future event.