one day I’ll grow up

And be a wild and crazy crone. And I’ll take Marilyn Roberts, Patti Smith and Sigríður Níelsdóttir as my role models, dammit.

I think that would be way better than growing up to be a lawyer like my mother wanted.

Please meet a self-confessed old and crazy crone, Marilyn Roberts, our next featurette for Words or Whatever on 16 November at Blackstar.

While I too hope to grow up good and old and crazy, I believe that Marilyn might just also be a golden sunset on your way home from a hard day’s work. The refractions and distractions of the day forgotten as the sun turns the leaves and trunk green, your shoulders relax and you realise you are almost home.

Because the great thing about growing up, I’ve heard, is realising that you don’t have to be just one thing all the time – and Marilyn, with her bold and distinctive poetic voice does just that – be many things all at once. She is inspired to write as a chance to share what she has learned from life fully lived. Being game to walk the line to dare and not sit back means that she has also had to reconcile the hidden parts of her life.

She says about her work, “I don’t try to express the loftiness of life, its gloss and depth. I struggle to use poetry to express the ordinary-ness of life. I want to bring poetry to the ordinary person.”

Never one to fit the mould, Marilyn loves Henry Lawson, even if poor Henry might be a bit unpopular these days, because “he didn’t sit in the parlours, in his time, he was a poet for the common man, that’s how I’d like to be seen too.”

As Betsy and I have been talking/writing with our various features, (Trudie, Tiggy, Betsy and even myself), it’s been so lovely to see the advice shared from each woman. There is an extraordinary sense of support and energy to those out there wanting to write, a real encouragement of the whole person and writer – as Marilyn says, “be yourself, trust what you write and don’t allow yourself to be restricted in your writing or your personal life. LIVE.”

She acknowledges that she loves being a woman, she loves finding her voice and courage and that she writes to help others, and most especially women, be loud and proud. Unflinchingly, Marilyn also considers her life and she knows that “the grief, domestic violence and put downs I have had contribute very much to my writing and desire to support others in finding and living happily with themselves, just as they are”.

That’s how I want to feel when I grow up.


Marilyn has been described as “the first lady of spoken-word crones the world over…if there’s a diva of Brisbane poetry this lady’s it.” She’s outspoken, she’s wicked, she’s wise. She’s a modern day crone. A poet, a storyteller, an artist, an author, and a workshop facilitator.

Marilyn uses her performances to poke fun not just at herself but also at the world in general. She has been published in national magazines, travelled across Qld and NSW with her storytelling and is a multi-award winning poet and author.

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s