Vessels of Love online Valentine’s Day week with messages of love in all of its forms, 13-19 February 2023
Vessels of Love returns with an online engagement of seven poets, seven forms of love over seven days of Valentine’s Day week.
Greek Philosophy partitions seven forms of love, and poets are coupled with a form for a day on social media platforms. More to come.
A message to the reader with love ~
Sunday: 19 February - Agape, emphatic, universal love
Agape is love for other that’s inclusive of a love for God, nature, strangers, or less fortunate. It’s generally an emphatic love toward humanity itself and is sometimes connected to altruism since it involves caring for and loving others without expecting anything in return.
Love: Agape - emphatic, universal love
ART airdrops me into tight places—remote,
near, and fathomless moments—and says:
now, see if you can get yourself, and some of the rest
of us, out. Alive. To give you an idea, poetry drops me
in love, old ideas, forests, fires, fireplaces, oceans, river
beds, women’s arms, grasslands, migrations, riptides, my lives,
other lives; in grief, bewilderment, sunrise, death, and delight;
in the comic genius of dogs, the hermeneutics of children’s
voices, end of life, estuaries, rainstorms, proverbs. It offers rope,
rhythm, metaphor; it proffers horses, phrases, books of form, new-
ness, the music of the intelligence of mountains, idiom, birdsong,
chords and keys and awareness of some ways of knowing, some
plumblines, some clues, clouds. And it says: love, practise
dignity, tenderness; be fair, exacting, and kind; forgive, some-
times don’t forgive; never stoop to vengeance; disdain
the practice of power, except maybe where it might do someone
some good; make yourself useful; be fearless, poised; make
only the moves that only you can make; love what you love;
let everything break your heart; let sadness come
and stay till morning breaks the day like a colt;
be sad and grateful; hate cant and forget theory; pay respect;
dissent; work it all out for yourself; make play; be funny,
if you can; be right, if you can’t; make it memorable,
unrepeatable like a life. Oh, and don’t bugger up
the language; improve it if you can, even if just
by a few lines the future thinks it can’t live without.
And begin. Keep on beginning until the end.
Mark Tredinnick is a celebrated poet, essayist, and teacher. His many works of poetry and prose include A Gathered Distance, Almost Everything I Know, Egret in a Ploughed Field, Bluewren Cantos, Fire Diary, The Blue Plateau, and The Little Red Writing Book. Since 2003, Tredinnick has published over two hundred works—poems, essays, reviews, papers, and books. For twenty-five years, he’s taught poetry and expressive writing at the University of Sydney, where he was poet in residence in 2018. His many honours include two of the world’s foremost poetry prizes, the Montreal and the Cardiff.
Saturday: 18 February - Pragma, committed, compassionate love
Pragma is a love built on commitment, understanding, and long-term interests, like building a family. Pragma is everlasting love rooted in romantic feelings and companionship.
Richard James Allen
Love: Pragma - committed, compassionate love
is the only thing that does last,
beyond the karmic astral space junk,
drifting like detritus
from lifetime to lifetime,
until it is finally worn into nothingness.
Love travels beyond lifetimes.
It doesn’t just go on for eternity.
It is eternity.
Desire may be its currency,
and sex may be its pay dirt,
but love is the purpose of time.
Richard James Allen is an Australian poet and performance artist born in Kempsey, New South Wales, on the unceded lands of the Dunghutti People. Richard’s writing has appeared widely in journals, anthologies, and online, and he has been a popular reader at multiple performing arts venues, over many years. In 2021, his first novel, More Lies, was published by Interactive Press. In 2019, a collection of poetry, The short story of you and I, was published by UWA Publishing, and a suite of poems, Minimum Correct Dosage, was commissioned by Red Room Poetry. Previous critically acclaimed books of poetry, fiction and performance texts include Fixing the Broken Nightingale (Flying Island Books), The Kamikaze Mind (Brandl & Schlesinger) and Thursday’s Fictions (Five Islands Press), shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. Well-known for his multi-award-winning career as a filmmaker and choreographer with The Physical TV Company (http://physicaltv.com.au/), and critically acclaimed as a performer in a range of media and contexts, Richard has a track record for innovative adaptations and interactions of poetry and other media, including collaborations with artists in dance, film, theatre, music and a range of digital platforms.
Friday: 17 February - Philautia, compassionate self-love
Philautia is the love of self-compassion that is about giving yourself tenderness, nurturance and understanding through cultivaing self-awareness, listening, and honouring your body and its needs.
Love: Philautia - compassionate self-love
Some people say you need to love yourself before you can love others. I don’t think I agree with that, but I do think it’s important to love yourself. To love yourself is to know that you are capable of loving and being loved. To love yourself is to know how to walk away because you know you deserve better. To love yourself is to know how to take care of yourself, even when there’s nobody else.
To love yourself is hard. But it’s important. After all, you are the only person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with.
Albert Lin is a spoken-word poet, musician, general jack-of-all-trades, and person with a day job. His work focuses on love and wonder and joy, while exploring his life and emotions. Albert recently created an hour-long, one-man theatrical poetry work as part of Shopfront’s ‘Artslab’ residency, and has since restaged the show as part of BrandX’s ‘Flying Nun’ program. He performed in Poetry Sydney’s 2021 ‘Vessels of Love’ initiative, with the City of Sydney, and contributed 65 spoken poems and 4 written poems to the 2019 ‘Dis/location’ exhibit at Monash University. He has written a poem a day since February 2017.
Thursday: 16 February - Storge, unconditional, familial love
Storge is driven by familiarity and need. It is sometimes thought of as a one-way love. Storge can also describe a sense of patriotism toward a country or allegiance to the same team.
Love: Storge - unconditional, familial love
Familial love can be the most perilous. It’s a love we do not consciously choose & mostly only abandon after much angst. It can persist, even grow after death. Could be entirely one-sided say, with a new-born. Yet it can also be lost by distance and neglect.
Les Wicks has toured widely and seen publication in over 400 different magazines, anthologies & newspapers across 37 countries in 16 languages. His 15th book of poetry is Time Taken – New & Selected (Puncher & Wattmann, 2022).
Wednesday: 15 February - Erotoropia or lulus, playful, flirtatious love
According to the famed Roman emperor, Constantine, ludus is of Latin origin and is known as erototropia in Greek. Erototropia is a childlike live that is sometimes seen in the beginning stages of romantic relationships.
Love: Erotoropia or lulus - playful, flirtatious love
This ain’t your mama’s poetry, but I’m your poetry mama! I speak of hearts and flowers, but the hearts are fractured and the roses have thorns. Welcome to the beating of my wild red heart!
Lou Steer is a cabaret poetry diva, performing her poetry in museums, nightclubs, festivals and even graveyards. She performs poetry to tell stories about seekers, searching for something they have lost – love, purpose and truth. She has been writing poetry and performing as a slam poet and performance poet at festivals and other venues since 2010. Lou is widely published and anthologised.
Tuesday: 14 February Eros - romantic, passionate love
Eros is passion, lust, pleasure. It’s an appreciation for one’s physical being or beauty, and is driven and sexual longing. It describes desire and is most similar to what we think of as romantic, passionate love between life partners.
Love: Eros - romanitc passionate love
Eros. Desire and longing, the delirium, the inescapable ache in the groin, heart heavy with longing. An addiction. Can’t-live-with-it-can’t-live-without-it. Sweet immolation.
Irrational as all hell.
The awakening can be lightning-fast, the self transformed, or lost, a slow-boiling frog in the pot, oblivious of its own failure to act.
Merging, losing yourself in another, fountains exploding, the universe alive with stars you’ve never seen before, imploding galaxies. The lucky ones come down to earth, survive, together, or alone.
Louise Wakeling is a poet and teacher who lives in the Blue Mountains. Her first novel was Saturn Return (Allen and Unwin, 1990), and she is currently working on a second novel exploring family dysfunction in the 1950s-70s. Her third poetry collection, Paragliding in a war zone, was published by Puncher & Wattmann (2009), and her fourth, Off Limits, was released this year. Wakeling’s work has been published widely, including in Antipodes(2011), Contemporary Australian Poetry (2016), Caring for Country (2017) and Wild Voices: An anthology on wildlife issues (2019).
Monday: 13 February Philia - intimate, authentic friendship
Love that can be characterised by intimacy, knowing, and soul-to-soul bonds. It’s encouraging, kind, and authentic; the stuff from which great friendship is made, regardless of whether it’s with a platonic best friend or a romantic partner. This love is also based in good will, or wanting what’s best for the other person.
Oormila Vijaya-krishnan Prahlad
Love: Phillia - intimate - authentic friendship
My Precious, I wrote for my partner. We have been married for 20 years and I wanted to celebrate the friendship aspect of our relationship over everything else. This is from a series of sea-poems. In this poem, two friends get “mixed-up” in the sea, literally, and one of them decides to not return the very serene mind of her partner. Let’s just say it is very autobiographical.
“We promise to text each other every day as we age” was written for a good friend as a birthday gift. She is my age, and like me, is the mother of teenage kids. We often talk about what our lives will be like when we are empty nesters. I read a rather disturbing article recently about people being found dead in their apartments. No one missed them or bothered to look for them for months– a product of the growing insularity of the world we live in. My friend and I keep in touch every day, and even inform one another if we go somewhere unfamiliar. I am quite the loner, and I often fear that if something were to happen to me, people would never find out till much later- like the people in the article I read. My poem examines that fear – of aging, of loneliness, of being forgotten, of not being missed, as told to a friend.
Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is an Indian-Australian artist and poet who was raised in the Middle East. She has been published internationally in many print and online journals and anthologies including Cordite Poetry Review, The Eunoia Review, Black Bough Poetry, and Bracken Magazine. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and her art multiple times for the Best of the Net. She is the author of two micro-chapbooks published by Origami Poems Project. She is currently working on a full-length manuscript.
Vessels of love project artist 2023
Carol Jenkins’ most recent publication is A Crooked Stile (2019) from Puncher & Wattman, who also published her previous two collections of poetry Fishing in the Devonian (2008) and Xn, 2013—both shortlisted for Premier’s prizes — and the fabulist Select Episodes from the Mr Farmhand Series. She has been a guest at the International Festival de la Poesie in Quebec, Sydney and Perth Writers Writers Festivals, organized Science Made Marvellous a national science poetry project, produced her own radio show and judged the Newcastle Poetry Prize. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French.