Dissident Voices in the Wilderness

Poetry as a Form of Activism

Activists write poetry in Manus Island, Chile, Spain, China, and Ireland. Why?

What does poetry do for those who hear such dissident voices floating across the wilderness, across the centuries?

What can poetry do for a cause?

Join a diverse panel of Tasmanian poets as they discuss poetry as activism, its relevance, currency and place in Tasmania’s strong tradition of protest.

Contributing Chair: Cameron Hindrum. Panellists: Ruth Langford, Sarah Day, Gina Mercer, and Pete Hay.

Cameron Hindrum lives, writes and works in Launceston. Until this year he was Director of the Tasmanian Poetry Festival, a position he has held since 2003. He has published a novel, two collections of poetry and two plays, both of which have been performed professionally in Tasmania. He is currently inching towards completion of a Creative Writing doctorate through the University of Wollongong and working on a third play, in what he flippantly refers to as his ‘spare time’.

Sarah Day’s books have won national awards such as the Queensland Premier’s and been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s and NSW Premier’s Awards. Many of her poems attest to her love of and concern for the environment and the impact of greed on it. She’s interested in the way a poem can embody the private side of political action. She is a former editor of Island.

Sarah Day and Cameron Hindrum
Sarah Day and Cameron Hindrum

Ruth Langford has a diverse background in cultural arts, environmental and social justice, youth work and Indigenous Medicines Therapy. As a Song woman and Story Teller, Ruth draws upon the cultural knowledge of her Yorta Yorta mother and the Tasmanian Aboriginal community where she was born and continues to live. She is the Creative Director of Nayri Niara with whom TasWriters is partnering to deliver the Hidden Stories Programme.

Gina Mercer is an award winning writer and poet, and a teacher and editor. She was Managing Editor of Island from 2006-2010, and has published five collections of poetry: The Ocean in the Kitchen, Night Breathing, Handfeeding the Crocodile, Seasoned with Honey (with three other women poets), and, most recently, Weaving Nests with Smoke and Stone. She has also published a novel, Parachute Silk, and two academic books.

Gina Mercer and Ruth Langford
Gina Mercer and Ruth Langford

Pete Hay has published several collections of poetry and essays. He is a former editor of Island, a past Chair of the Board of Environment Tasmania and is a longstanding Landcare activist. A retired Reader in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania (1985 – 2008), he has also published the scholarly work Main Currents in Western Environmental Thought. He has long been interested in the link between activism and democratic politics. (Wondering what Pete looks like? The header image is of Pete Hay, by Matthew Newton).

Dissident Voices in the Wilderness is sure to be a lively session at the Hobart Writers Festival. It will be held at Hadley’s Orient Hotel on Saturday the 14th of September. Get your tickets here.