Featured Member – Caroline Glen
New Zealand-born poet Caroline, came to Australia in the 1950s with the hope of becoming a radio actress. Later she teamed up with Jindyworobak poet Bill Hart-Smith and together they gave poetry recitals at various Sydney venues where they performed works ranging from those of western poets like Slessor, Whitman, Robinson and Stewart, to Russian and indigenous poets.
Young Caroline’s interest in poetry, which her father helped her to develop by buying overseas books of poetry, (The Yellow Book, The Purple Book and the others), was also encouraged by her primary school teacher. When she moved from the little Rangiora Primary School to the Fendalton Open-air School in Christchurch, her new teacher was surprised how much poetry Caroline knew by heart, and how to express it. Consequently, at the age of ten years she had to stand in front of her peers and the class above to demonstrate how to read with feeling.
But even though her appreciation for words was stimulated at an early age, she remembers the moment when as a 6 year old, delighted with at last winning a race with a bigger girl, Florence Lowe, she announced to her father that night ‘I bet (beat) that girl Lowe!’ Over the years her father sometimes reminded her of those words.
In the early 80’s she was persuaded by her son to come to the Gold Coast to buy a coffee shop she originally planned to open in Melbourne; but Caroline’s dream crumbled when the Gold Coast Highway building in which she had invested went into liquidation. It wasn’t until seven years later that she received back part of her money.
Despite this setback, Caroline stayed in Queensland. The climate, walks by the sea and nearness of the Hinterland bush had worked their charms.
Caroline now spends time with her own writing and editing poetry for the Federation of Australian Writers, Queensland (FAWQ). She has also given poetry talks to schoolchildren and led a workshop for GCWA.
Anyone who has read or heard her recite her poems, many of them prize winners, will know her love of nature and her strong affiliation to all things sensual. Five anthologies later, she plans to publish what may yet become her opus major – a seven page poem about a Fraser Island dingo. We wish her luck.