Kerry Harte

Kerry Harte Poetry Reading

Kerry Harte was born in Dublin, Ireland and migrated to Australia as a child with her parents and four siblings. She has had a passion for writing since high school. Kerry lives in Adelaide, South Australia and was recently admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the Supreme Court of South Australia. To stay sane (whilst studying and raising her children) Kerry began writing poetry. She entered her first poetry competition in 2011 and was awarded 2nd Prize in the Salisbury Writers’ Festival Competition for her poem, ‘A place no one knows about’. This win encouraged her to keep writing.

Since then Kerry has won a number of other awards and had several of her poems published local, and internationally. Most recently, in April 2015, Kerry won first prize for her poem ‘Dole Q’ in a national social justice poetry competition: the Rhonda Jankovic Poetry Awards which judge Professor Kevin Brophy described as ‘one of the most important poetry competitions in Australia today’. In the 2014 Awards, Kerry received a judge’s commendation for a villanelle called ‘A Lament’.

Also in 2015 Kerry received a judge’s commendation for her poem ‘Refugees escaping the family’ in the Tabor Christian College Writing Competition and two of her poems, Gays of our lives and Birth were selected for publication in the 2015 Friendly Street Poets 39 Anthology, Silver Singing Streams.

In 2014 ‘Where my smile goes’ received a third prize placing in the Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize Anthology 2014 competition.       This poem was published in the 2014 Anthology along with two other poems Kerry entered, namely Betrayal and Wasted. In the 2013 Anthology her poem ‘First Christmas Here’, featured in the notable selection section. ‘Death in the Family’ was selected for publication in the Friendly Street Anthology ‘Patterns of Living’ in 2012.

Picture of Kerry, courtesy of Martin Christmas.

Dole Q

The lady at the job network
reads from a script
written by an autistic giant

She pauses
waits expectantly for me
to deliver my lines

My responses
are drawn out
from a badly polluted reservoir
in the collective unconscious

I’m right off script
thinking through
the oil slick
of industrial revolutions

My hope is a wing
it cannot fly
in petroleum jelly
What good is it?
My hope is a dead weight

I move awkwardly
like a dancing bear
A trainee of the new regime
she asks the questions
my answers do not please her

A crazy quiz show
where my answers determine
my ability to eat, live and survive

my prizes
bread, milk, bus fare, rent and maybe a couple of drinks
stand like skittles
at the end of a long week

She bowls me another question
‘No one is hiring!’
is an incorrect answer

She invites me to roll back time
back to a place inside my ancestors
where she watches me
lying bedraggled on the frozen ground
pawing for nourishment
between the rotting potatoes and the dead stars

the sounds of ancient despair
cannot move her loaded questions
somewhere the rising tide breaks over the banks of my lids
as the other banks register their annual profits

©  Kerry Harte 2014

Winner of the 2014 Rhonda Jankovic Poetry Awards

GM Bread

G M bread
tastes like lead
if you eat it
you’ll drop dead.

Battery hens
kept in pens
force fed lead bread
eggs can’t cleanse.

Rotten eggs
don’t meet reg’s
chickens born with
twenty legs.

Egg man cries
egg farm dies
he was fooled
by G M lies.

What was worse
they came first
chick, egg, man
left in a hearse.

©  Kerry Harte 2015

dream boat

the moon is a smiling boat
navigating our bright dreams
across dark, cosmic waters
arcing from wished on stars
to the fullness of eggs
where she delivers the sun
celestial signs and wanders
when he falls for her

© Kerry Harte 2015