Andrew Menken

I am doing a PhD at the University of Newcastle and working on a book-length collection of poems for the creative component of my thesis. Because I live and write in the small Central Coast town of Budgewoi, many of my poems are lyrics that imaginatively explore a personal and intimate connection with place. During my Lighthouse Arts residency, I was able to gain fresh perspective on my creative project and discover new ways to tackle and overcome difficult creative problems – some of which I had been struggling with for months. I spent most of my time revising several poems and, because this residency provided such an amazing and tranquil spot to write and think in, did so with greater clarity and energy.

In between editing my poems, I would read in the sun, discuss versification with a loquacious magpie, or take in the breathtaking scenery as I strolled around the grounds. I thought it particularly serendipitous when, after looking up from a book or my laptop, I would catch a ship sailing across the bright expanse of the sea, lingering in the square world of my window like a beautiful thought. It is rather ineffable, but this brief sojourn away from your regular routine and the large bulk of civilisation will almost certainly have a rejuvenating effect on both your mind and body. I very much looked forward to jumping in my car once a week and driving the hour north to spend another day in this artistically conducive coastal space.

I am extremely appreciative and thankful for being granted this residency and having the opportunity to work in such a great space. As I walked back down the hill on the final day of my residency, the wind was calmer than I had ever known it and the sand more golden than the morning I arrived.