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Poet well versed on South-West biodiversity

Media release

Curtin University Institute for Biodiversity and Climate’s (CIBC) poet–in-residence, Dr Liana Joy Christensen, has a few verses up her sleeve for the upcoming inaugural Margaret River Flourish Symposium, from 7-9 October.

Dr Christensen is a celebrated and internationally published Australian writer and poet and will use the opportunity to present a series of short poems, haikus and performance poetry to engage the community on environmental issues facing the South-West region.

Dr Christensen said sharing her poetry was a creative way to harmonise and broaden the scientific approach to forest values.

“I will be delivering some short poems drawing on the themes of photosynthesis and climate change for the opening and closing of the symposium, as well as presenting haikus to complement each of the contributors’ papers,” Dr Christensen said.

“I will also present a longer lunch time TAP RAP performance poem celebrating the life of Charles Darwin, evolution and biodiversity.”

Dr Christensen said poetry demystified science and empowered people to take their own steps in biodiversity conservation.

“Science poetry provides a bridge between rational and intuitive knowledge of diverse forest values and it synthesises ideas and meaning, giving us a shorthand understanding of the big and complicated,” she said.

“This synthesis enables us to treasure the rich biodiversity on which we depend. If we don’t urgently engage in the issues that arise from climate change our world will be unimaginably transformed.

“Too many of our forests are managed without recourse to the values of civil society. From the largest trees to the smallest creatures, every species has importance. We need poetry to remind us of the pleasures and joys of this diversity.”

Dr Christensen began writing about Western Australian landscapes as inaugural editor of the journal Landscope. Since then, her poetry and prose has been published in literary and scientific journals in North America, Taiwan, India and Australia. Locally, she has been published in Southerly, Indigo and Country – Visions of People and Places in Western Australia. Dr Christensen is passionate about the human connection with plants, animals and places of Australia and beyond.

CIBC researchers will be at the Flourish Symposium in Margaret River on 7 October 2011. They will also be attending a number of associated Flourish activities over the weekend of 8 and 9 October, to outline research activity in the safeguarding and management of safe havens for biodiversity in the South-West.

Flourish will host a symposium, exhibitors, entertainers, displays, educational activities, workshops, topical speaker sessions, interactive demonstrations, children’s activities and an exclusive Under the Stars dinner.


Andrea Barnard, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241, Mob: 0401 103 755, Email: