Heartlines explores what it means to write – from the heart and soul – and where that writing takes us. Every writers’ journey is different, so we invite you to take a moment to read, pause and reflect on what it means to shape stories for the page.
Daniel Hansen is a Nyoongar poet, musician, consultant and university student from Ballardong country, born on Whadjuk country. Daniel thoroughly enjoys writing and performing poetry as he feels it connects him with his culture through storytelling. Over the years, he’s used poetry as a tool to overcome anger and mental health issues. While becoming more of an established poet, Daniel has used his platform to promote Nyoongar culture. Currently studying a double degree of theology and philosophy at Notre Dame, Daniel has always had an interest in theology and philosophy, and he feels that it is reflected in his poetry work. Daniel hopes that his studies will help broaden and deepen his understanding of the universe and the way things work. Daniel has three children, who he hasn’t seen in years but that he misses dearly and thinks about every day.
Daniel Hansen: Outside of writing I like to listen to music, sing and play my guitars or play on my Nintendo Switch yet I’ve been getting a lot more into streaming different movies and TV shows lately. I Love gaming, music and dancing although I don’t dance nearly enough anymore.
CFS: Why do you write?
DH: When I first started writing it was because I heard some hip hop I fell in love with as a kid and it quickly became a fun and cool thing to do for me. I later figured out that writing actually helps me to be able to process and express any emotions I may be struggling with and it can help in a big way when it comes to mental health.
CFS: When did you decide to pursue writing and what triggered that decision?
DH: I was about 11 years old and I listened to an Eminem album and I decided that I wanted to perform.
CFS: What are you currently reading and why?
DH: I am currently reading The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli because I wanted a different take on politics than what I have been studying at Uni as well as it being a book that was highly praised by Tupac Shakur. Also, I am reading Dearly Devoted Dexter which is the second book of the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay because I find it interesting, fast paced and funny. I find it interesting how someone can apparently have no emotions or feelings and how it would be to exist inside the head of such a person plus I like how Jeff Lindsay somehow makes Dexter brighten up the morbidity of Death. I also find it interesting when it comes to how the police force works when trying to catch a criminal and I find It funny how Dexter is always able to stay one step ahead of everyone and that he has so much good luck along the way, which I believe, is because he only ever hurts bad people. Finally, I am reading a fantasy novel called Battle Ground by Jim Butcher which I find is fast paced, thrilling and well written. I really don’t want to finish Battle Ground because it is the 17th book of a series I’ve been reading and Jim Butcher has done such an incredible job of building such an expansive and well-developed story line to bring forth such an immense and well put together world.
CFS: Is that also an inspiration for your current work?
DH: Uuuuummm….. My inspiration is weird. It comes and goes all the time but I can also focus it if I try for specific work for certain people or projects but then there are times when I try as hard as I can but still nothing will come.
CFS: Walk us through an ‘aha’ moment while you were on the hot desk.
DH: I didn’t really have any ‘aha’ moments.
CFS: Based on your experiences in the writing industry, including your hot desk at Centre for Stories, what advice would you give to writers who are starting out or are unsure where to start?
DH: The only advice I could give really is to just get out there. If you like writing there are a few writers’ groups and open mic sessions around otherwise go online and submit to writers’ groups or competitions online, someone who likes your work will eventually come forth or reach out. When I first started performing, I would go to different open mic events and put my name down and people that liked my work eventually approached me. Then again, my first paid gig I actually got was because of my Dad, he run into some people looking for poets and showed them some of my work and they eventually contacted me.
CFS: Centre for Stories is about taking things at your own pace, working with others, and providing a safe place for all. How has this space enabled you to think and explore your work?
DH: The whole energy of the place is just so chill and laid back and cool. I like how open and comforting everything and everyone is and that I got to meet a lot of people from a lot of diverse backgrounds and meeting the people I met got me thinking about who I am and where I come from which inspired me to write stuff like “A Christmas Carol” and “Trials & Tribulations Vs. Tradition”.
CFS: What will you be working on next?
DH: Not too sure really. I don’t really have any more poetry projects or gigs coming up anytime soon so I haven’t really thought about it. I’m always writing poetry when the inspiration hits but I’ll probably just focus on my studies and work until something comes up. Then again, I’ve been thinking heaps about doing some hip hop again and maybe recording a couple songs.
Daniel Hansen is a Nyoongar poet, musician, consultant and university student from Ballardong country, born on Whadjuk country.
Writing Change, Writing Inclusion is Centre for Stories’ signature writing program for 2021 to 2023. Generously funded by The Ian Potter Foundation, Australia Council for the Arts and Centre for Stories Founders Circle, this writing program features mentoring, hot desk, and publication opportunities for emerging writers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and/or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.