Fishermans Reach author shares poetry anthology

Jen Hetherington with copies of ‘Between Coastal Rocks and Softer Places’.

FISHERMANS Reach poet and News Of The Area contributor reporter Jen Hetherington travelled to Port Macquarie Library on October 28 for an author visit as part of the Mid North Coast Library Service’s Stories Behind the Storyteller series.

Jen’s collection of poetry, ‘Between Coastal Rocks and Softer Places’, was the topic of discussion at the event.

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“Though being a poet was not an intentional aim, I started writing, taking notes in a journal as a young teenager,” Jen said.

“Over many years, the collection of notebooks grew and were very useful resources during my creative writing degree.

“It was these studies that really sparked my poetry enthusiasm,” she said.

“My writing, be it poetry, creative fiction or essay, is generally initiated from personal introspection, though reactions to broader societal events and interactions are a great stimulus that require a different approach to sensitivity and development.”

‘Between Coastal Rocks and Softer Places’ was inspired by time Jen spent travelling, and the joy of returning to the coastal districts where she grew up.

“Also, and maybe more importantly, I needed to fulfil a promise to my dear Mother who has since passed away,” Jen said.

From her work, Jen said readers could expect “a degree of unapologetic sentimentality, some grief, some whimsey, also reflected in my illustrations, a sonnet or two and one solitary haiku”.

With writing often a pursuit enjoyed in solitary, Jen said the process of sharing her works with the public, in events such as her author visits, was initially quite daunting.

“The reading events and author talks have proven to be mutually beneficial.

“It’s truly reassuring to interact face-to-face with fellow poetry readers and writers.”

Like many artists and creatives, Jen found the pandemic brought with it both challenges and opportunities as she worked towards finalising her poetry anthology for publication.

“In terms of locating and establishing a supportive relationship with my fantastic independent publisher/editor, Zac from ‘RoseyRavelston’, the time frame (for publication) of about two years was both hindered and helped by the pandemic lockdowns.

“The publishing process epitomised the deep dive into the world of publishing that I craved, not without trepidation … but knowledge begets confidence and confidence begets results.

“Utilising my illustration skills added a new dimension to the works and I now find that my drawings have often become a catalyst for the words.”

Now a regular contributor to News Of The Area’s weekly Nambucca Valley edition, Jen is engaging with the community in Stuarts Point, Fishermans Reach, Scotts Head and surrounds to bring the area’s stories to life.

Jen holds a degree in Creative Writing and Screen Studies from Griffith University and has a second book of poetry due for publication early 2023, which includes ‘Cross Words’, the winner of the 2022 Welsh Poetry Competition.

Poetry lovers turned out to hear Jen speak about her anthology of poetry.

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