The word that packs a punch: New Voices

Fri, 1 May 2020

By Maria Issaris, Presenter of New Voices

In this episode of New Voices we introduce our first poet Jasmine Monk. Now, before you rear back in horror at the idea of poetry, take a listen to Jasmine’s work. She writes for music which has not yet been composed! Mental health is something we all brush up against, and Jasmine dealt with it by using poetry as a therapy - but she is superlative in her simplicity. Picked up early as a bright new talent, she bucked the system with a heroic gesture. 

The ‘stranger’ who critiques her is Josh Whitkin, a self-confessed ‘Techie’ by trade, writing a dystopian novel about vegans taking over the world. You wouldn’t think these two have much in common, but you would be wrong. Josh finds Jasmine's poetry spellbinding. Of all the interviews in this series, none surprised me as much as this one. And none was quite as difficult to keep under control! Listen to this intriguing episode which is full of surprises, and quiet howls of triumph! Well, maybe not so quiet. 

Read on to learn more about these amazing writers.

Jasmine Monk - Day-job: Cleaner, Writing: Poetry and song lyrics.

Jasmine Monk

"I grew up in a scenic country town along the Great Ocean Road. My love of writing started in my childhood years, along with my love of art and dancing. It was not until my twenties that I was published in several anthologies as well as receiving a grant for my own book. Later I penned a few songs for a couple of local musicians. Through those years I worked as an early childhood educator. I now currently work as a domestic cleaner. After developing a mental illness since I was 17, I found myself writing a lot more, and some parts of myself I am only able to or willing to express through writing.

"Writing is my way of putting my life into perspective, as well as being therapeutic for me. I truly hope that my poetry will resonate with readers, or touch them in some way, as I am moved by the words of other writers. I was very excited to be on the radio and grateful to be given this opportunity to spread my wings creatively."

For access to Jasmine’s poetry and profile visit:

Josh Whitkin - Day-job: Technology Designer

Josh Whitkin

"Writing: I’m writing a dystopian novel about vegans in a future version of San Francisco. I’ve been published in non-fiction by Wiley & Sons, as well as my doctoral dissertation, so I’ve had the satisfaction of seeing my name on a paperback spine in a bookstore. Also, I have experience with the process and mechanics of writer/editor relationship, getting from concept to draft to outline.

"Writing is in my blood. My grandmother, father, uncle are all published writers, fiction and non-fiction. My PhD advisor was Helen Merrick, feminist sci-fi editor and academic. I have three published fiction authors I count as good friends. Another excellent fiction writer in my genre is coaching me remotely.

"My muse is steady, and strong concentration."

This episode of New Voices will broadcast at 5.30pm on Monday 4 May. It will be repeated on Sunday 10 May at 1.30pm. If you miss it, or previous episodes, head to the Podcasts page to catch up on previous episodes.