Moments in a Lifetime: Short Poems by Julie Mota, JTD Desktop Publishing, 2016, 28 pages, Available from Amazon Books for US$3.60 plus postage.
Silent Thoughts: Exploring Poetry by Jordan Dean, JTD Desktop Publishing, 2017, 96 pages, Available from Amazon Books for US$3.75 plus postage.
ONE of the ways of judging the success of the Crocodile Prize in its early days was to look at the number of entries coming from Papua New Guinea’s 22 provinces.
We knew that there were variables involved, not least the uneven penetration of digital services in the country, but we assumed that if a province was well represented word would spread about the competition.
Just as Simbu was one of the most highly represented provinces, West New Britain was one of the most under-represented. Sometimes there were no contributions at all from there.
It is therefore a pleasure to report that, while not originally from West New Britain, there is now a writer and poet based in its capital, Kimbe, who is spreading the word.
It is also encouraging to note that Julie Mota’s new collection of poetry has been produced wholly in Papua New Guinea.
We last heard from Julie in a prose piece about growing up as the daughter of a soldier in the PNG Defence Force. She also is represented by a poem about Rabaul in the highly successful women’s anthology, My Walk to Equality.
In her latest book, Moments in a Lifetime: Short Poems, Julie concentrates on her personal journey and her observations about the daily lives of ordinary Papua New Guineans.
She asks: “Has life changed much in the past few years since independence?
“How has the different aspects of traditional lifestyle changed and to what extent can we say that urbanisation has had an impact on our local, indigenous cultural practices and its human relationships?
“In the same instance, when social spaces are displaced, physical spaces tend to lose their cultural significance and in turn affects the social connections and networking.”
Consistent with these themes Julie reflects on how the traditional ways in which stories and anecdotes were told in villages using what she calls “figurative impressions of nature”, that is, deriving the lessons in life from the observation of the natural world.
The poems in this collection are essentially what Jordan refers to as “random thoughts I’ve scribbled over the years”.
Most people would be familiar with the process. You are wandering along day-dreaming and suddenly something crosses your mind and makes you smile (or frown) at its perspicacity and you chew it over for a while and then forget it.
Unless you’re a poet, of course, then you are inclined to write it down because it could come in useful later.
Jordan, being a meticulous type, has rendered his random thought-poems in different poetic styles and ordered them accordingly.
As Ed Brumby, who provided editorial assistance, said:
“Like all poets, Jordan Dean has a sentimental soul and this collection of musings, meditations and observations reflects his gentle, romantic view of the world and his willingness to take his time and make the time to observe, absorb, reflect and record what he sees and feels in sometimes simple, but always special poems.”
In both collections, short-form poems and haiku are featured, some rendered in Tok Pisin as a form within a form.
I enjoy reading poems in Tok Pisin and loved both collections. I think you will too.