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19 May 2019


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Philip Fitzpatrick

That's a really good point Caroline. I guess poetry is not formally taught in schools in many PNG schools in much detail so would-be PNG poets have no real point from which to proceed except from what they informally observe. In that sense it's not like the other forms of writing taught in schools.

That point gives credence to the theory that what we observe as poetry in Papua New Guinea today is truly a locally developed version.

Caroline Evari

Thanks so much Michael.

Lindsay - there are indeed so much potential for Safia and all the neighbouring villages. This achievement is represents us all and that's why I gave a local title so that my people could relate yo it as well. This is just the beginning.

Phil - Given poetry is not something we learn but develop out of passion and observation plus a way of identifying talent, most of us (as you've highlighted) write in an unnamed form.

People who understand our history will accept and understand how we Melanesians express ourselves.

Lindsay F Bond

Caroline, congrats. There will be those who ask (in the cliche) "can any good come out of" (in this case) Safia, a location rather hid by its hills. To which the reply is demonstrably definitely affirmative.

What's more, you are leading for others, and lending light to many more yet who feel constrained by seemingly insurmountable constraints.

Juxtaposition of words and whims, out of Jumble of hills and mounts (in analogy of horse racing) will become known as a lineage of thoroughbreds.

Michael Dom

Long awaited, this will be good. Thank you, Caroline Evari.

Philip Fitzpatrick

While a minority of poets in Papua New Guinea have endeavoured to follow the traditional forms of poetry a larger majority has refashioned the concept to present a local form of free-flowing, unstructured work featuring spontaneous thoughts and ideas.

This local form has some of the characteristics of what is known as prose poetry or free verse but it probably owes its origins to a more traditional style of oration that sits somewhere between song and storytelling.

Of late too has been its evolution through the lens of social media, which strips away elaboration and subtlety to its barest bones.

This Papua New Guinean form is only called poetry because it is laid out in familiar poetic sequences incorporating brief lines following each other in blocks of text.

For the purist this is a kind of heresy. They see it as a second-rate, fake and lazy version of a classical form of literature.

However, apart from the fact that it eschews normal poetic rules this local version still incorporates many other poetic elements such as imagery and emotion.

In that sense it is a legitimate form of literary expression.

Perhaps if it had a name of its own the purists wouldn’t be so critical.

Much of the ‘poetry’ that I read on PNG Attitude and in the collections that cross my desk fall into this unnamed category.

This is the case with Caroline Evari’s recently published collection Nanu Sina: My Words.

Consistent with the above thoughts I think Caroline’s choice of title is very apt. The collection is indeed comprised of her words and it is these words, rather than anything else, that are important.

Keith has also pointed to the importance of the words in this new kind of Melanesian poetry and says it is an "openness of character that enables emotions to be on display rather than suppressed".

I would also agree with him about the professional way that Caroline's collection has been rendered into print by Jordan Dean.

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