Inspiring through poetry

Rhiannon at the South Coast Writers Centre 2013 Christmas Picnic at the Wollongong Botanic Gardens, which she co-organised. 	Photo: supplied
Rhiannon at the South Coast Writers Centre 2013 Christmas Picnic at the Wollongong Botanic Gardens, which she co-organised. Photo: supplied

POET and high school teacher Rhiannon Hall says that her initial love of poetry began with her father reading poetry to her as a child.

He also writes poetry, which no doubt set a good example, but Rhiannon's path to finding her voice was not as straight as perhaps her father may have wanted.

Teenage depression made her take a detour.

She hated high school and dropped out in year 10.

"I needed freedom to find my own way," she said.

And find her own way she has.

Rhiannon now lives with her partner at Yerrinbool and is in her third year of teaching English at Macquarie Fields High. This year she has been asked to take on the role of year supervisor.

At lunchtime she also runs a poetry club, "for misfits like me," she said.

After leaving school, she moved to Moss Vale, supporting herself working in hospitality.

By 22, she tired of the long hours and physical work, and enrolled in an Arts Degree at University of Wollongong, Southern Highlands Campus in Moss Vale.

"Having a Uni around the corner made it possible to juggle everything and the staff there were so encouraging," she said.

She joined the UOW literary society and started writing poetry again, publishing in the UOW 'Zine' (a micro collection of literary works).

She has been published in the South Coast Writer's Centre Anthology and was selected by them as writer of the month.

She was also published in Sotto, the Australian poetry on-line journal.

Once she found her confidence there was no stopping her, and she went on to do an honours degree and a Diploma of Education at the Wollongong university campus.

These days she is so busy teaching the next generation how to write that she finds it difficult to find the opportunity to write herself.

"I always have ideas for a poem in my mind but it is not until I can find a quiet space that I can concentrate on the image and express it," she said.

Despite the competition for her time, she still manages to run an annual event called 'Little Mountain Readings', held in November at Sturt Gallery, Mittagong.

Last year she organised Peter Lach-Newinsky and Lorne Johnson, both established poets from Bundanoon, to be guests at the event.

This year she hopes to have her Dad, Phillip Hall, as guest poet.

You can find Rhiannon blogging about books and on May 28, she will be returning to her old stomping ground, the Uni campus in Moss Vale to co-host a Blogging for Beginners Workshop, on behalf of the South Coast Writers' Centre.

Meanwhile enjoy one of Rhiannon's poems about a local Highlands haunt, Caf Rosso.

- Penny Bell

For more information on the Blogging for Beginners workshop, email pbell@uow.edu.au