NAIDOC & Double Helix

#72 is a special issue of CSIRO’s Double Helix magazine as it contains segments on Indigenous science topics as a way of celebrating this year’s NAIDOC Week – Sunday 7th to 14th July.  (NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islander Day Organisation Committee.)

Included is my poem SEA-WAVES AND SEA-ICE, which is about award-winning scientist Dr Jordan Pitt and his research.  After I created the poem, I sent Dr Pitt a message (via LinkedIn), asking his permission to submit this poem for publication in Double Helix.  After reading my draft of the poem, he kindly said “YES”.

CSIRO sends me two copies of the magazine – one to keep (and treasure) and one to share.  I sent my spare copy to Dr Pitt.  But before I posted it, I had a serendipitous idea.

I’d just received some illustrations by Elijah Roby in Cairns for my next book: SCIENCE RHYMES IN THE SEA.  This collection of 36 poems starts at the ocean’s surface and dives down to the deep-sea floor.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a Foreword to the book written by an award-winning scientist who is researching the mechanics and nature of this body of life-giving, life-living water?

Having some beautiful images from Elijah enhancing these poems gave me confidence to ask Dr Pitt a big favour.  As well as the Double Helix magazine, I sent him some examples of Elijah’s art entwining a selection of verses, along with a letter, respectfully stating my request.

Last week, Dr Pitt got back to me and agreed to write a Foreword for the book!  We also exchanged photos or ourselves with our copies of the Double Helix magazine.

I’m sharing this behind-the-scenes story as a way of saying THANK YOU to:

  • Dr Jordan Pitt, Associate Dean Indigenous Strategy and Services, The University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, School of Mathematics and Statistics, for being supportive of these poetry projects.
  • David Shaw, Editor of Double Helix at CSIRO for selecting SEA-ICE AND SEA-WAVES for Double Helix #72.
  • Artist Elijah Roby for his timely completion of illustrations for the book SCIENCE RHYMES IN THE SEA (due for publication early 2025).
  • And to NAIDOC Week, for being the catalyst that has brought this all together.

Carefully crafting a publication, such as a book or magazine, may have its moments of solitude.  But is rarely realised in isolation.  Behind the scenes, there’s a team of talent to thank!

Dr Jordan Pitt reading the poem SEA-ICE AND SEA-WAVES by Celia Berrell