Heather Sladdin

Heather Sladdin has a BA in English, concentration in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, a Graduate Diploma in Arts from Adelaide University and has spent four years researching towards a Masters Degree in Professional Writing where the topic of the thesis was ‘The Relationship between Writers and Editors; Perspectives and Perceptions’.

At UniSA Heather has tutored in Professional Writing, been a Guest Lecturer in ‘Professional and Technical Writing’, and currently tutors to Business students in ‘Communication and the Media’.

Since 1979, Heather has published articles and poetry in numerous literary magazines including Entropy, Womentropy, Tarantella, Australian Multicultural Arts Review, Stet: Australian Writers and Writing, Crystal, Connections ’80, Picador New Writing 4, Opinion, Studio, Quadrant, Transfer/40, Womanspeak, Words and Visions and Friendly Street Poetry Readers 6, 7, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25.

In 1992, she was the founding Editor of ‘Stet: Australian Writers and Writing’ and ‘The Naked Pomegranate; Collected Women’s Writing’.

From 1998 to 1999 Heather was a Consulting Editor to ‘SideWaLK‘: A journal of Poetics and Poetry. She also co-edited ‘Flow’ Number 25 Friendly Street Poetry Reader.

Heather has been a member of the South Australian Writers’ Centre since 1983.



the brass calli-
                    graphy of
        chime glistens gold
of silk trees woven
                            on river banks
and running
                across the breast of
a chinese girl
                                ton street in
a petrified cloud hung
in a gallery
                of neon pagodas
cement and glass
the dancing letters
the wind sing of
the slippery wet of empty
fish crates
               wilted chard and
faces brown and wrinkled
like the ginseng root
From Friendly Street No. 6

A Soldier’s Gift

in the foxhole
                  Gallipoli mud
oozed on his boot
he cradled himself in canvas
          blue eyes
                        in the half-light
fingers nimble    forgetting triggers
putting pieces together
                                imagining Almira
and the boy
                    to make a box
                    too small for a dead rat
                    big enough
                    for a bleeding heart
                    he whittled at the piece
                    of salty pine
                    deserted by the tide
he knew the blunting of his knife
might cost him his life
it seemed almost spent
he saw her smile
                        felt the satin curve
of the white shell
                        its belly
                                   spiralled into itself
          of pearl
he chipped away
                      collecting fragments of her
night after night
                      each piece a memory
placed painfully to form a petal
then a flower with leaves
a garden of silver lights
                            to cover the sombre pine
that the tiny coffin may live
                                a memory in the mother
like a pearl to shine in the moonlight
the boy hid behind
                    the blue skirt
his arms clung
               to her left thigh
she didn’t notice him there
her body was shocked
                          feeling too many things
all at once
her eyes were a desert
                                receiving the first rain
there were many people
                            shoving pushing shouting laughing crying
                            in some other place    outside her
the ship cast a shadow on the dock
                                              the slouch hat
cast a shadow on his eyes
                                thunder and lightning was her body
for his sunshine
     the glass belljar of fear
     broke at his voice
                              her name    Almira
her soul eased into itself
                                as from a dream
when his arms enclosed her
                                        suddenly     she was real
From Friendly Street No. 15

the white stallion

a rusty field
in the shadow of cloud
and one white stallion
his mane teased upwards
by electricity and the wind

rearing up
on hind legs
his hooves scratch
at the horizon
trying to enter
the invisible

From Friendly Street No. 25