In her own words
My name is Dorothy Poulopoulos and I have been extremely grateful for the opportunity to walk the halls of La Trobe University as an educator from 2013 after a friend said, “You’ll love La Trobe. It’s a great place to work.”
Hence, I jumped at the opportunity to teach ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses to Overseas Students) at La Trobe Melbourne to students seeking to develop their English language skills prior to embarking on further studies. I contributed to the language program through teaching in creative ways that included song, poetry, special events like Harmony day and Christmas Concerts, and encouraging students to take part.
Although I identify as a teacher, local author, bilingual poet and translator in my working life, I also volunteer as an event organiser and I provide opportunities for people of all languages and backgrounds to express themselves through poetry at free community events.
I have created platforms for poets of all languages and backgrounds to come together by organising, co-ordinating and presenting The Melbourne Poets’ Union (MPU) Annual Multilingual Events: “The Fractured Self” (2015); “The International Language of Love” (2016); and “A Poet’s Guide To Melbourne” (2017). I also assisted Dr Marietta Elliott-Kleerkoper who founded this MPU event in 2001, with the organisation and presentation of “Celebrating Cavafy” (2013) and “Journeys” (2014).
I have often participated as a guest poet in other events too, such as International Women’s Day for The Darebin City Council and Montsalvat Poetry Café (curated by Lella Carridi), The Antipodes Writers’ Festival (curated by Helen Nickas) at The Wheeler Centre and more recently, Cultural Diversity Week Celebrations held by Multicultural Arts Victoria at Collected Works Bookshop.
I am the author of a book of poems in Greek called Βαφή Ψυχής (Vaphi Psychis), catalogued as A Brushstroke of the Soul. I write in English and Greek and my poems often delve into the themes of love, death and identity.
My poems regularly appear in journals and anthologies that are published in Australia and in Greece where I lived for eight years (1994-2002), taught and wrote poetry.
I also have a chapbook of English poems called The Art of Finding (Owl Publishing) and an English translation of a poetry book about post-war migration by Dina Amanatides− the first Greek-Australian Female Poet to have ever published in Greek in Melbourne−called From Those Who did Not Return, due to be released in June, 2018.
Although it is easy to speak of what we have contributed in terms of what we have done, the impact on others is often very pervasive and difficult to discern.
Ria, a Japanese student I taught English to at La Trobe said that she discovered that learning in a classroom can be “a joyous experience” and became a teacher. Students I taught English to in Greece, like Velissarios, now “live, work and play” in England while others like the late Ioannis Krikelis would ring up 3ZZZ to share my poetry with the listeners because it is “from the heart”.