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7 June 2021

Museums and writers are natural friends. After all, what are the objects and images in a museum collection but stories in physical form?

I'm presently one of two writers in residence at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania. The other is the delightful Kate Gordon. While Kate's working on children's fiction inspired by the museum collection, I'm writing a series of prose poems that will be exhibited, alongside the objects to which they relate, later in 2021.

So far, I've written pieces that relate to the companion hatchway of the ship Otago, the only command of seafarer-turned-novelist Joseph Conrad, and the scale model of a section of the Tasman Bridge and the riverbed beneath it, which shows how the ill-fated ship Lake Illawarra still lies, out of sight, in the silt.

One of my favourite discoveries, as I've poked around in the storerooms of the museum, is a cabinet purpose-built for the storage of circular tins, each one housing a maritime signalling flag. This inspired two works - one a poem written in the flag alphabet, the other a poem written in the international flag signalling code.

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