Stephanie Conn is a poet from Northern Ireland. She visited Tasmania in 2017 where she was a featured guest of the Tasmanian Poetry Festival. The following extract is from an interview published on Paul Stephensen’s blog ‘Poems, Poetry, Poets’ (19th January, 2018).
Paul: While the book opens with Holland, as McGuckian indeed says, it journeys on in the latter half towards Australia. What makes ‘Australia’ so distinct and unique for you?
Stephanie: I never had any desire to go to Australia, it was never on my to do list. We went to spend a Christmas with my sister-in-law in Tasmania and I absolutely loved it. Tasmania is a beautiful island and for me, a place of contradiction – Christmas decorations in the sunlight, penguins in the blistering heat, picnics on a beach where the next land mass is Antarctica; the stunning scenery of a former convict colony.
Paul: Do you have a favourite place in Australia?
Stephanie: As I said above, I love Tasmania but sailing out of Sydney Harbour heading to Manly was a stunning experience.
Paul: Have you read many Australian poets or poetry magazines? What/who do you recommend?
Stephanie: Yes, when I was writing and researching the book I read some Tasmanian/ Australian poets and a couple of the poems in the collection were response pieces to work by Lyn Reeves and Louise Oxley. I also read work by Anne Collins, Sarah Day, Adrienne Eberhard, Gwen Harwood and Vivian Smith. I got to go back to Tasmania in September 2017 to read at the Tasmania Poetry Festival. I had the pleasure to meet some of the poets I’d been in touch with by email. I was also introduced to the work of other Australian poets – Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Young Dawkins, Emilie Zoey Baker, Dan Disney, Luke Wren Reid and Sarah Holland-Batt. I absolutely love Sarah Holland-Batt’s work. Sarah is also the Poetry Editor for the Australian journal ‘Island’.
From Paul Stephenson’s blog ‘Poems, Poetry, Poets’; more HERE