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24th April 2017

Journey Across the Waves: Cameron Hindrum on his poem "Oceans"

By Cameron Hindrum

Inside Cameron Hindrum's journal (Supplied)

The sacred object which inspired ‘Oceans’ is my little black Moleskine journal, which has been my constant companion as a writer since 2008. In it, I’ve recorded notes for poems and draft ideas for stories; kept journals of trips I’ve made; written character sketches for novels; written and rewritten drafts of poems; brainstormed endlessly about things that might be worth developing later, and on it goes. On a couple of its pages, my daughter has traced around her hand. The line referring to days opening up like a question is taken from the very first notes I scribbled in this journal, in early October 2008.

Other writers may have their own metaphors for the creative process. I very rarely plan anything other than a broad outline of where I might go, and then I just start writing. This strikes me as being a bit like setting off across the ocean with no knowledge of where you’ll end up—so the journey (the writing, scribbling, thinking and rewriting) is very much part of the creative act.

In writing and refining ‘Oceans’ I wanted to capture a sense of that, but I wanted to contrast the openness of the ocean imagery with a fairly tightly constructed poetic form. Contrasts fascinate me as a writer, and in terms of learning to write poetry I think forms are a very good place to start in that they provide a framework, a means of shaping and structuring language in a specific way. It goes without saying that there are as many ways to write a poem as there are grains of sand on a beach, and so this is merely one approach. ‘Oceans’ follows a fairly traditional sonnet form, being composed as two sestets (verses of six lines) and a couplet (a rhyming pair) which follows an ordered rhyme scheme and metre;  however, I have broken this slightly with the formatting of selected words against the right-hand margin, providing their own rather more minimalist take on the poem.


Cameron Hindrum is a Commissioned Poet for Poetry Object

Cameron Hindrum lives, writes and works in Launceston, Tasmania.Since 2003 he has coordinated the annual Tasmanian Poetry Festival, has published a novel and two collections of poetry, and is currently completing a Doctorate of Creative Arts through the University of Wollongong, for which he is working on his second novel. Read more »

Explore Cameron's poem "Oceans" here »