10 weeks at a writer’s desk

By Meg Hill 

The Wheeler Centre has just celebrated the announcement of its 24 Hot Desk fellowships. The 24 winners receive a stipend and a workspace in the Wheeler Centre for 10 weeks to work on their writing projects.

This year there were three additional fellowships added for regional or interstate writers – with accommodation for five weeks at the Norma Redpath Studio. Yvette Holt is one of the recipients.

“I spin from the chandeliers when I’m in Melbourne,” she told CBD News over the phone while on a road trip from Alice Springs to Brisbane.

During her residency, she will finish her collection of poetry and prose, titled 3068, about her existence in and around Melbourne.

“I’ve been in and out of Melbourne since I was an undergraduate. I’ve followed the literature scene, have appeared at the Wheeler Centre a few times, and I’m the chairperson of the First Nations Australian Writers Network,” she said.

“The collection is reflective of analysis, dream states, coffeehouses, women. I cover things around sexuality, my fetish with theological imagery, Greek mythology, and a lot of it is reflective of psychoanalysis.”

In fact, Yvette was just in Melbourne for her performance at the comedy festival – Queer as Muck. She was followed and filmed by NITV, which is putting together a documentary on the show. 

Yvette said there was very little psychoanalytical poetry, let alone poetry reflective of a First Nations’ experience. 

She has lived in Alice Springs for 10 years, is originally from Brisbane and, as she said, spends a lot of time in Melbourne. All of these experiences are “dispensed through analysis and spat out in 3068”.

“It’s notes, arguments, disagreements. It’s going to be way out there, consolation of childhood memory, finding oneself, working class beginnings in Brisbane, a day spa in the Mornington Peninsula.”

3068 is the postcode of North Fitzroy. The title has a lot of layers. As an indigenous person, Yvette said she was aware of the Koorie history and community there, but also how the inner city has changed and become gentrified.

“I wanted to go with a numerical call, which is a little bit outside the square for a collection of poetry,” she said.

“There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing another Koorie person in the area and putting out fists up in solidarity. I might be crossing the road and they might be getting on a tram, but it’s that two seconds of recognition with someone who shares the same heritage.” 

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