The 2017 Tea Tree Gully Poetry Festival Poet-in-Residence is Judy Dally.
Judy Dally was a Junior Primary school teacher for 22 years, a SPELD tutor for five years, a tutor in creative writing with TAFE in the 1980s and a tutor in Literature at the University of South Australia in 1992. She completed an MA in Literature from Deakin University in 1994 and retired from teaching in 2000.
Judy has published six collections of poetry –At Sixes and Sevens (1982), Holding Up Mirrors (1986), Across the Gulf (1992), At Sixes and Sevens Again (2000), Asleep in the Teapot – New and Selected Poems (published by Ginninderra Press 2016) and Lost Property, 2016.
She co-edited Friendly Street Reader No. 20 with Jeff Kemp in 1995 and Friendly Street Reader No. 36 with Louise McKenna in 2012. Her poems have been published in various magazines and newspapers and the last 29 editions of the Friendly Street Reader.
Judy has been a member of the Friendly Street Committee and the SA Writers Centre Board and has been a guest poet at various poetry events around Adelaide.
She is currently a member of the Tutti Ensemble Choir and works as a volunteer with Tutti Arts where she teaches reading to young people with a disability.
We asked Judy for her thoughts on poetry, her favourite poets and how she came into writing poems.
Welcome Judy! We’d like to get to know you –tell us about your background and what led you to writing poetry?
I never thought about becoming a poet when I was a child. It was not until my late teens that I started writing doggerel verses to amuse my friends at work. Later, in my twenties, I began writing quietly at home –“ in the closet” because my then husband thought that writing poetry was a waste of time! When I married for the second time in 1990, my new husband became my champion. He encouraged me with my writing and has been a constant support ever since.
Where do you get inspiration and ideas for writing poetry?
The ideas for my poetry come directly from my day-to-day life. I write about myself and my family as well as about characteristics I observe in others and issues which interest me. I usually begin with an idea or a line – sometimes, what seems to be a good last line – and build towards it.
What place does poetry have in today’s digital age? How can it provide any attraction for writers and readers absorbed in instant, two-way chit chat via tablets and smart phones?
I think poetry has an important place in this digital age, especially if it communicates clearly with its audience and provokes thought on certain issues.
Tell us some of your favourite poets.
Some of my favourite poets include Billy Collins, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, and some of the “beat poets” from the 1960s.
What can poetry can do for a person?
Poetry can make people realise that they are not alone with their interests, anxieties and concerns. It can make readers/listeners laugh and cry. It puts into words thoughts and feelings and observations which readers feel unable to put into words.
What are you looking forward to the most in this year’s Tea Tree Gully Poetry Festival?
I am looking forward to meeting all of the poets and other interested people who come to the Festival. I am also looking forward to sessions where I can share emotions, interests and plenty of laughter!
Judy Dally will be hosting a poetry workshop in Tea Tree Gully Library on Thursday 9 November, from 2-4pm. Please check the website for more details closer to the date.