Hi - my name is Rhonda Poholke and I live in sometimes sunny Ararat, Victoria, Australia.
I’ve been writing all my life really, only I didn’t know I was writing as a child when I used to invent little plays behind the haystack.
I loved the shape, the feel, the power of words and the way they could fit together. I remember writing an essay at secondary school, using powerful descriptives like ‘foaming depths’ and ‘awash with waves’. I didn’t start writing seriously until I was in my mid thirties.
Grampians Writers Group, which has membership chiefly from Ararat and Stawell in Victoria, Aus, though their are members further away. I participated in getting the group started in 1985 but left and only recently I’ve returned. Grampians Writers Group is a very friendly group where everyone is made welcome. Over the years GWG has run many literary awards and workshops and been very busy out in the community supporting writers of all ages.
I’m also a member of the Deacon Literary Society and a long-time member of the Melbourne Poets Union.
Because I need to be with like minded people who understand what it is to be a writer. Through support and friendships we can all benefit and grow in our personal writing.
The friendships. Just knowing I can phone or email any of its members for help, support, or just to chat.
I started off writing short stories and then turned to poetry. I didn’t think I could write poetry until some one suggested I could. I tried writing a poem and it worked, though a simplistic piece at the time, it was a poem! From that small suggestion have come many poems, with many of them being published.
Though I admire all genres of writing if they are done well, I don’t see myself doing a lot of them because I do other things, and I guess I’m a poet!
I’d love to write a novel one day but I don’t put all my time into writing (though writing is something I constantly think about) I never seem to have the time for anything longer than poetry, though writing a poem can still take me a long time and lead me into a struggle.
Poetry is what I enjoy the most. I relish the challenge of a poem, the way the words take you into the journey of the poem, and sometimes you don’t have a say where they are taking you - it just happens, like love. It is so satisfying to see your piece that you have spent hours/days/weeks/months on, finally finished, and THEN you start the next one. I wrote lyrics for a song and a local singer put them to music, and I believe she has sung it but I have not heard her as yet. Sometimes I do art around my words. I love the idea of paint and words marrying.
I’ve had many things published over the 26 or so years that I have been writing seriously. I’ve participated in online Renga and done many public readings, unpaid, and I consider this my contribution to the communities I live in or visit as a writer. I self published a small local book called ‘Things That Happen’ in 1995, and was published by the Melbourne Poets Union in 2007 in their chapbook series with my book ‘If You are Quiet’. In 2008 I self published through Rebus Press, Melbourne, my book - ‘First She Lived’ the journey of Eliza Lipson Allan ‘first white woman to die in the district’, which I still have a few copies of. I’ve been lucky enough to have been a prize winner in various awards too.
Yes I have sent heaps of things out to publishers over the years but not agents. I’ve had more rejections than acceptances but I just keep plodding along.
I love the look of a real book and to be able to hold it in my hand and refer to a paper page. I guess if it goes the way of e books in the years to come, then writers will have to adapt. I’ve received a couple e books and I find them very hard to read.
From life. Things I see around me, and sometimes other writers’ work inspires me.
Often just driving along in the car, I’m inspired by things I see out the window. A lady taking a load of washing inside, in a small town I’m going through, or a bird flying up over a hill. Etc etc.
Do you have a writing routine?
That can be hard. Sometimes they just come to me. I have a book with n ames in it that I often refer to. Personalities I model on people I know sometimes, taking a bit from one or the other so its not an obvious person. I think I put myself into the character a little too, even if I have to pretend/imagine to be that bad or whatever.
I have no real routine. Its mainly when I get an idea, which can often hit me in the middle of the night, or when I’m at work. Or if I’m on a deadline for a competition I have to really persevere and that is good because it makes me work and I surprise myself by getting finished. Recently I was working on a poem about a local historical building for a competition and most disappointingly I did not make the deadline. I felt a sense of failure for not making that deadline but the poem just did not work. I’ve decided I need to research it more. I have not given up on the idea though.
I never have a complete idea. From one small thought I have to keep working on it, and waiting for other thoughts to come in and link up. And of course then, it has to be put in the right sequence which often takes quite a while.
I don’t have anyone else reading the piece. I stroll up and down the passage and through the house reading it out aloud to myself. Only my dogs listen.
Never give up. Keep trying.
Never give up. Keep trying, and don’t be afraid to try new genres and ideas.
It’s the pointy end of everything to finish a poem, and be pleased with it, knowing you’ve said everything you set out to plus more sometimes. On the other hand, writing can be so frustrating when a piece is not going to plan. Quite often I have to put time into researching my subject, and I might not use all the information but I have to know it, and this takes the longest time but is worth it in the end.
Yes. I won one at Kyneton, Victoria once. They had some great nights over there.
I often enter competitions and have had a few wins, but more often I don’t win. Then I’ll have another look at the piece and perhaps send it off to another competition with changes.
Its amazing how I sometimes think a piece is finished and ready to go to comp, and reading it out in the group, some one will make a suggestion or comment and I suddenly realise yes, I could improve it by perhaps that change. Yes, it is very important to read your piece to other writers.
I have 4 beautiful grandchildren who I love to catch up with and I’ve a great feeling for animals and have several pets to take care of. I work part time in my own small cleaning business. I’m a member of a weight management group because I believe that allowing time for exercise and good eating plans is instrumental in keeping healthy. I’ve an interest in older cars and I’m a member of a local car club.
I would’ve liked to have helped Shakespeare with one of his plays.
I like reading historical novels if they are well written and not too overwordy and yes I’m inspired by what I’m reading. But I don’t usually go through with writing a piece; I have reams of scribbled notes that could be poems one day.
I’ve almost finished a patchwork bag which is a poem in itself.Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work?
That brown paddock
all those tiny sprouts after rain.
I grip the bedpost
push, each wave,
dream of the golden tide
across the summer plain.
In the silver morning,
a green slope,
my baby sucks.
To all the especially young writers - just hang in there - don’t be afraid of rejection. If you have an original idea, trust that it is worth perservering with - and always accept critique, and keep an open mind. Never think that your work is perfect. I mean it might be, but chances are, some one else’s opinion will be helpful. Don’t take yourself too serious. Have fun, enjoy writing!!
Thank you Rebeccah for your open forum and your generosity in sharing.Thank you for being a part of it Rhonda.