Central Coast poet, artist and creative arts therapist Karen Adler believes that giving form to your innermost world is a tool for saving-your-own-life.
She is set to launch her book Giving Birth to God – a collection of her poems from the past three decades.
Adler’s interest in writing poetry stemmed from a correspondence creative writing course she did through James Cook University while working on a cattle station in Central Queensland in 1991.
“Poetry is, I think, the artform that combines all that I love about creativity,” she said.
“It helps me explore the deeper regions of life and of my being, it allows me to play with words and their meanings, with metaphor, it enables me to draw from the depths of my soul, across time and space, it taps into my background in anthropology, enabling me to draw from a cross-cultural perspective – myths, fables, legends which are always teaching stories about how to survive life.”
The artist, who primarily works with photography but also with acrylic painting and collage, says photography, in particular, has all the language that matches emotional growth – perspective, focus, depth of field, lenses through which to view both the inner and outer worlds, developing film etc.
“Studying art at the National Art School taught me to trust the process of art-making and also of my own inner emotional development/landscape,” she said.
“I wrote a novel, Dreampainter, after my mother died as something to help me with my grief.
“Having a focus, homework, a tutor, accountability, research to do, a structure and support helped me get through the deep sadness at her death and the disappearance of my aspirations as an anthropologist.”
These days Adler offers art therapy encompassing many different forms of artistic expression.
“It’s always about what artform suits the person best but we almost always start with simple drawings so the person can become familiar with how the mind/body connection works to bring forth something on the page that will give them solutions not always accessible via the intellect alone,” she said.
“The cover image of Giving Birth To God is a composite photograph of the Clare Franciscan Monastery in Stroud, NSW, and an image from the TV program on Stephen Hawking’s Universe.
“The two images melded together reflect my view that we would do well to heal the divide between religion/spirituality and science, to allow one to complement the other rather than enduring an endless battle between powerful forces both of which contribute greatly to humanity.”
The collection covers everything from end-of-the-world scenarios at the beginning of COVID to harsh critiques of the mental health system’s emphasis on the biomedical model of diagnoses/misdiagnoses and medications, to the hilarity of the brush cuckoo and the deepest sorrow of losing love.
Adler said poetry had the ability to enrich our lives, both individually and collectively.
Giving Birth to God will be launched at 11am on Saturday, February 24, at Killcare Beach Kiosk; all welcome.