At Another Crossroads: A Collection of Poems by Michael Dom, University of Papua New Guinea Press, paperback, 162 pages, ISBN 9980879211, available from UPNG Bookshop, K50, or from Amazon, $18.01 ($28.48 incl postage)
MICHAEL DOM, one of Papua New Guinea’s most talented and prolific poets, is the latest writer to submit an entry in the newly-established Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year award within the Crocodile Prize national literary contest.
At Another Crossroads is the first published collection of Michael’s poems and it joins books by Sil Bolkin, Leonard Roka (two) and Francis Nii in vying for PNG’s latest literary award.
Michael, who has has already won a Crocodile Prize for Poetry in 2012, is well known to PNG Attitude readers for his lucid, direct and honest approach to his craft whether he is writing poetry or commenting on the affairs of the day.
“I write poetry for three reasons,” he says, “exposition, expression and entertainment. There is a little of each in all of my sketches.
“I am a scientist by profession, so for me, writing poetry, which is a subjective language of the heart, has been sometimes a challenge and at other times a relief from my tendency and training to remain an objective witness to the world around me.”
Michael says of the antecedents of At Another Crossroads: “This collection contains some of my earliest recovered works through to the most recent, but in no particular order. Many of the pieces have been edited over that last 17 years, as part of the creative process, while others came ‘right with a click like closing a box’.”
And he says of his writing: “Although much of my poetry follows the traditional forms, I believe I have made original use of the artistic techniques and devices. But I am not qualified to provide a technical description of my own works, except to say a few words about the creative process I went through in drafting these sketches, although that still remains a mystery to me.
“Wonderment is the first condition. A writer must feel a sense of awe about his subject, and this may come in good ways or not so good ways. Surprisingly, there is no telling exactly what will affect us deeply enough to elevate our creative faculty, to provide the needed stimulus that propels writers/artists over the hill of mundane existence and into the Elysium of (self) discovery, invention and innovation.
“There is no school where you can go to learn how to write ‘good poetry’. You just have to try: write. It can be helpful to familiarize yourself with a subject matter in order to write with a deeper understanding but sometimes it's best to just use your own creative instincts and jump in and say something, to get the ball rolling.”