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Infertility a fertile ground for Curtin graduate’s poetry

Media release

A poem about the desolation of female infertility by a Curtin University of Technology creative writing graduate will appear in a prestigious Australian poetry anthology.

Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne’s poem, “The Venus of Willendorf,” will be published in The Best Australian Poetry 2009 anthology.

“As a relative newcomer, I feel very privileged to be included in the anthology which is a ‘Who’s who’ of Australian poetry,” said Ms Pilgrim-Byrne, of Southern River.

“This poem is one of a few I’ve written about infertility, which is something I’ve personally experienced over several years.

“It was inspired by the actual Venus of Willendorf, an ancient goddess of fertility.

“Motivated by my own struggles with infertility, the poem uses the voluptuous female form of the Venus of Willendorf as a stark contrast to the desolation of infertility.”

Ms Pilgrim-Byrne said she had written poetry and short fiction from a very young age.

“My great love is to write poetry that is evocative and erudite, while maintaining its accessibility for the average person,” she said.

“It means a great deal to me to have my work selected for the anthology as it will be read by a wide audience which is important as a budding poet and writer.”

Ms Pilgrim-Byrne graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing) with Distinction in 2004 and  completed a Postgraduate Diploma (Communication and Cultural Studies) in Creative Writing with Distinction in 2006.

At Curtin, she studied under award-winning writers and experienced lecturers such as Brian Dibble, Alan Wearne, Elizabeth Jolley, Tracy Ryan and Liz Bryski.

“They not only gave me a solid foundation in theory and practice, but pushed me to grow and improve as a poet and writer,” she said.

Ms Pilgrim-Byrne’s first collection of poetry, People from Bones (with co-author Bron Bateman), was published in 2002 by UK publisher, Ragged Raven Press. Her poem “Juvenescence” was selected for the 2001 Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology.

The Best Australian Poetry 2009, produced by the University of Queensland Press, is due out in October.