What is The Verandah?
I love Verandahs. I’m Australian so that’s not surprising. It’s a bridge between indoor and outdoor, the human and natural world, the private and public. It’s a perfect place for looking out and looking inside, for making connections and cooking up creative plans.
My online virtual ‘verandah’ hosts
* quality mindfulness, writing and poetry workshops;
* masterclasses in the craft of poetry with the best teachers; and
* workshops and consultations to help organisations and charities tell their stories.
Cath is an Australian who lives in London. She’s an award-winning poet, journalist and communications specialist.
She curates inspiring online poetry and creative writing workshops and events from The Verandah, for Australian and UK audiences and beyond.
Cath has been a communications specialist for over 20 years: PR, media, copywriting, campaigns. She helps tell the stories at the heart of organisations.
She is also a mindfulness teacher. Mindfulness, writing, poetry, and her passion and expertise in environmental issues are highly complementary.
Cath has been published in anthologies and literary magazines in UK, Australia and US, and performed widely. Her poetry collection ‘The Shaking City (Seren) was commended in the Forward Prizes 2020. It followed ‘Sleeping with Rivers’ which won the Seren/MSlexia poetry pamphlet prize and was a Poetry Book Society choice.
She’s been short-listed for the Venture Poetry Prize and the Manchester Poetry Prize, and was second in the 2017 Resurgence Poetry School eco-poetry prize. She’s was a writer in residence at the Albany Arts Centre café in 2012 and The Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writer’s Centre in Australia in 2018. For more about Cath’s writing, scroll down.
POETRY PROJECTS & TEACHING
As an innovative workshop leader and facilitator, Cath has run workshops on mindfulness, creative writing and poetry for a wide range of groups, from small vulnerable groups to large mixed age groups in a festival tent, to corporate audiences, and highly experienced published poets. She also mentors poets one-to-one.
Caring for he planet has always been in her blood after growing up amongst nature in Western Australia and seeing so much of it lost. Cath has a post graduate qualification in environmental science (Murdoch University). She worked as an environmental journalist (print, radio), writer and campaigner in Australia for a decade. She holds awards for environmental journalism and communications. Her poetry is strongly influenced by the climate emergency and the urgent need to totally change our relationship with nature.
Cath is a PR / Communications professional with twenty years of experience with team and individual awards. As a copywriter and marketing specialist, one of her passions is teaching storytelling to charities
Cath has two poetry publications with Seren Books and has been widely published in anthologies, magazines and journals internationally.
Sleeping with Rivers won the Mslexia/Seren poetry pamphlet prize and was a Poetry Book Society choice.
The Shaking City (Seren Books)was commended by the Forward Prizes for Poetry in 2020.
Reviews & quotes
The Shaking City (Seren Books) conjures a threatened world and the pleasure it takes in language as an act of grace. The tone may be conversational, sometimes ironic, but its wisdom is delivered with subtle craft and formality. The poems burst with images of tilt and teeter, life at an angle, on the verge of disaster but rich with transformation. ‘The indifferent furniture,’ she says, ‘is as solid as the bodies we must live within, inside my room,/ our room, in a tower block of a city that is shaking.’ Imtiaz Dharker, Ars Notoria Magazine
“The shaking city of Australian poet Cath Drake’s debut poetry collection is a metaphor for the swiftly changing precarity of modern life within the looming climate and ecological emergency, and the unease of the narrator who is far from home. Tall tales combine with a conversational style, playful humour and a lyrical assurance. The poet is able to work a wide set of diverse spells upon the reader through her adept use of tone, technique, plot and form. She is a welcome new voice for contemporary poetry.” Amy Wack, Seren Books
“Cath Drake wants to grasp the world whole. When she looks at the past, it’s with a big rambunctious energy that has implications for the present. These are restless and generous poems, full of the vivid reality of people’s lives. Read them as a guide to staying clear-eyed, combative and caring in unsettled times.” Philip Gross
“Drake’s work is often playful, almost always highly imaginative (with more than a touch of surrealism) and technically accomplished…” Geoff Page, The Weekend Australian
“Cath Drake’s poems deftly explore conflict and the future of our changing, imperiled planet – in a poem about climate emergency, the narrator muses wryly ‘sometimes I hold world in one hand, my life / in the other’. This is a collection alive to dilemmas. Her writing is searching, witty and full of compassion, helping us navigate a shifting world.” Helen Mort
“This joyful, exuberant, wildly imaginative collection exhorts us all to unmoor our minds, to ‘live among the strange and shining.” Kate Potts
“The Shaking City is beautifully engaging, lively and imaginative with tremendous flow and movement, turning so much of life into memorable language, imagery and emotional resonance. The poems pulse with emotions and connection.” Judith Beveridge
The Shaking City is a marvelous collection. In a ‘shaken’ world it offers a kind of clear-sighted solace. I love the collection’s use of the long line (a rare thing these days), and its imagery and evocation of mood and place are superb. Professor David McCooey, Deakin University.
Cath Drake’s lush, lyric poems are full of inquisitive movement that traverses a network of meridians between her native Australia and the UK. Like midday sun in a desert, their narrative strikes hard in its passionate counterpoint between the absurdities of the human condition and our most urgent environmental concerns. Karen McCarthy Woolf
Its unfettered creativity and sharp, critical mind … a poetry collection in equal parts fascinating, essential, abstract & educational. The insights it provides into the major struggles of our era … create a truly worthwhile literary experience. The New Welsh review
In Australian poet Cath Drake’s The Shaking City, home is built on uncertain tectonic plates, destabilised by the … scale of the climate crisis. As presumed truths and identities shake around the speaker, new and surprising arrangements emerge. Poetry London
Read a review from London Grip.
More poems online
Inspiration for poets and producers.
Cath Drake’s The Poetry Curve is a short series of interviews with inspiring people who reach wider audiences and stretch format so that exciting poetry finds its way to appreciative audiences, beyond the usual audience in radio, TV or performance.