Dr Jennifer Harrison is a child and youth psychiatrist specialising in the care of children with autism and their families. She runs the Neuropsychiatry Clinic and Developmental Assessment Program for youth and children at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne.  She has written five poetry collections, the most recent being Colombine: new & selected poems (Black Pepper 2010), which was short-listed for the Western Australia Premier’s Prize. Among other awards, she has won the Anne Elder Poetry Prize, and the Martha Richardson Poetry Medal. She co-edited (with Kate Waterhouse) the anthology Motherlode: Australian women’s poetry 1986-2008 (Puncher & Wattmann 2009). She holds Honorary Fellowships at Monash University and The University of Melbourne, and is currently curating poetry for The Dax Centre, the Australian collection of mental health art housed at The University of Melbourne. In 2012 she was awarded the Christopher Brennan Award for lifetime achievement in Australian poetry.

Paul Hetherington has published seven full-length collections of poetry—including the verse novel, Blood and old belief—and two poetry chapbooks. The most recent of these is Chicken and other poems (Picaro 2012). His poetry has won a number of prizes. Formerly publisher at the National Library of Australia, he edited the final three volumes of the Library’s four-volume edition of the diaries of the artist Donald Friend and was founding editor of the Library’s quarterly humanities and literary journal Voices (1991–97). He is  Associate Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra where he convenes the Writing Program and chairs the Writing Research Cluster. He has written articles and essays on literary and cultural matters, including poetry, creativity, the use of new technologies and ways of providing access to cultural materials.

An Open Heart and Mind

Jennifer Harrison visited the University of Canberra and presented a seminar to students and staff about her creative practice as a poet. Following are edited excerpts from the seminar, which took place on 25 August 2011, and a discussion with Paul Hetherington.