Thérèse is a featured guest of this month’s Tasmanian Poetry Festival (Launceston 30th Sept / 2nd Oct), while Britta—if I’ve interpreted google maps correctly—lives in the isolated town of Rentjarn, a community of some 71 souls in Sweden’s north.
I’m reminded of a 2006 writing collaboration between Karen Knight and Scottish poet Delys Rose, imagining the similarities of their experiences with those of Thérèse and Britta. Karen—from her home in Hobart, and Delys, comfortably ensconced in Scotland—were writing a poem a month. ‘Neither of us was particularly keen on formal stipulations and have found that the more open the remit, the better the results,’ wrote Delys at the time. ‘We began very simply with a poem about midsummer/midwinter because it was happening, at the moment we committed ourselves. It’s been a great way to keep up a long distance correspondence, not to mention generating new work.’
A key difference is that Karen and Delys had already met in Australia; and some time later, Karen travelled to visit Delys in Scotland. Britta and Thérèse have never met, though perhaps that will change. In one of the pair’s many online conversations (as reported by the ABC here), Britta suggests that it’s been exciting to get to know Tasmania and Therese. “Bye-bye from Sweden, come and see me some day.”