Nicola Knox’s Green Light Running

Nicola Knox, Green Light Running (self published 2012)

glr.jpgThis is not one of those self-published books with a chip on its shoulder about the publishing industry.  It’s much more modest than that – so modest that I can’t find any information about where to buy a copy. Mine was a gift from the author, an honour to which I owe a number of Nicola Knox’s poems having appeared in The School Magazine when I was editor. My impression is that she only ever intended a small, intimate circulation. (Maybe I’m projecting: my own three self-published books of verse are glorified end-of-year greeting cards – though of course I’m delighted whenever someone buys one from Lulu.)

The book is a witness to the value of creativity, of making in response to experience. Where one person might take out a sketch book and pencil or paints, another will reach for pen and notepaper. Poems here have been inspired by travel, by family life, by childhood reminiscence, by works of art, by ancient and modern history. They are the fruits of life lived with an active mind, a mind that it’s a pleasure to spend time with.

Just to give you a taste, here’s a poem that speaks softly but carries a big stick to one of the big issues facing us at the present moment:

Refugee Boat

The heart of Pharaoh
was dry and shrivelled
as an old walnut.

But his daughter
dove gentle
beautiful and kind
was loved as her father
was feared.

On a morning
splashing with court ladies
in the Nile, she did not hide
her pity for the plump infant
found in a coracle
rocking gently
among river reeds.

So the princess
and the alien child
gazed upon each other
and from that moment
all things changed.

A second volume of Nicola Knox’s poetry, Verandah Man, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2016, and is available from the Ginninderra website.


Green Light Running is the eleventh book I’ve read for the 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge.

2 responses to “Nicola Knox’s Green Light Running

  1. I am not too sure this is poetry, but has a point. Poetry is a gift which I do not have, though it has been a major study and interest over much of my four score and 11 years. I think you have the gift but you could take it more seriously and take more pains.Siegfried Sassoon said it took him 18 Months to write ON VISITING MENIN GATE, probably one of the most compelling expressions of outrage at the slaughter of WW1.I couldn’t help thinking of his ‘these intolerably nameless names’ when I visited the Vietnamese war memorial in Washington in 1996
    Gerard Brennan


  2. Thanks for commenting, Gerard. I love the way good poetry lodges in the mind as Sassoon’s poem did for you, and then comes to mind to help respond to a moment years later. Often, on beautiful spring mornings lie the one we’re having in Sydney today, George Herbert’s ‘Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright / The bridal of the earth and sky’ rises from wherever it’s stored. And I remember the first and only time I have emerged from a house to find the world covered in snow, it was the medieval poem, ‘He came all so sweet to his mother’s bower, /Like snow in April that falleth on the flower.’


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