Sharon Kernot is an Adelaide writer. Her first novel, Underground Road, was published by Wakefield Press in 2013. Her poetry collections include Washday Pockets (Ginninderra Press, 2010) and Fishing (Garron Publishing, 2012). She currently teaches part-time at Flinders University.
I am trying to change my style, rewrite my own history. I have a habit of short punchy lines
where what is not said trembles quietly beneath. The clip of those lines represents the cutting
down, the chipping away over a life-time and the tremor is the burying of history. So I decide
to reinvent myself through poetry. I decide to stretch the lines so that they can gallop with a
rhythm or amble along, meander, rather than slice through to the instant gratification of the
final line. There have been times when I have had to speak with the precision of a scalpel,
cutting straight to the point. If I did not manage to speak my jumbled thoughts, my counter-
argument, within the space of a haiku or a tanka, within the space of someone’s need to draw
a hasty breath, the words remained trapped along with so many others, unspoken. So my
words became arrows and darts seeking a bullseye. But now I am trying to untie my lines, let
my words sprout tendrils. I’m attempting to allow the elongated, the rambling, the multi-
syllabic, the lengthy line, the prose poem because I know you can do brevity to death.