- poet -
Life, love and work intertwine with nature and a unique series of poems, in Tom’s revised edition of his successful book of poetry. No matter what the day-to-day challenges are, as life unfolds, Tom shows us—through his poetry—that life is about enjoying what we can in every single moment.
Journey with Tom through tales of Australian life, discover local flora and fauna and learn from his experiences in his work as a mediator. Tom shares his deep appreciation of nature, his passion for his work and shows the reader how to remember, that life is a dance, not a journey.
‘Love of life, places and people is the thread through this beautiful journey. A tour de force of the spirit. Take some time, listen to Tom and your own heart.’
— Ros Baxter —
‘Tom shows profound empathy with his poetic subjects. His poems highlight our vulnerability and guide us to a deeper appreciation of Australia’s diverse peoples and animals as well as their connection and interdependence with our unique weather, flora and landscapes. Life is a Dance also gives us an insight into the author’s mind as he writes about things close to his heart.’
— Jen Compton —
‘I’d be happy to be quoted as saying: ‘Thomas Stodulka writes about real people, authentic feelings, the truths of everyday life. He creates memorable pictures with words that are simultaneously accessible and remarkable. Some poetry is boring; this is not. Some poetry is elusive; this is not. Thomas is a humane poet who takes us on many a voyage and who navigates with beautiful wisdom.’
— John Marsden —
‘Tom’s poems are a beautiful blend of compassion, a search for the meaning of life, and a quest to understand love, loss, loneliness, death and rebirth. He observes the role of luck and synchronicity in the world, eloquently writes about the toughness of life on the land, and longs for rain, as we all do. He writes of the importance of making the most of each moment, of looking up and embracing life now, despite the hardships and heartache. “Try to be Kind” and “That Special Chair” brought tears to my eyes. Tom’s words shine with hard-won wisdom and inspiration.’
— Tanya Heaslip —
I commend you on capturing the essence of the Australian way of life through your writings. I particularly enjoyed reading ‘The Smile’. In these challenging times, there are days we all need that reminder.
— Adrian Schrinner, Lord Mayor —
One of the delights of a Tom Stodulka book of poetry is opening it up at a random page, to be met with another softly-spoken gem. Sometimes about roads, sometimes about flowers, sometimes about ‘life’. Always about the human experience of all of the above.
— Christiaan Willems —
Your words flow from your thoughts down and through your heart to touch us all. I deeply admire your work and the depth of your compassion and care for people.
— Susan Lett —
I love every page. The poem about kindness especially.
— Chico Wilson —
Life, love, and work intertwine with nature in a unique series of poems. No matter what the day to day challenges are, as life unfolds from youth to almost three score & 10, Tom Stodulka tries to face each day with positivity. Journey with Tom through tales of Australian life, discover local flora and fauna and learn from his experiences in his work as a mediator. Tom shares his deep appreciation of nature, his passion for his work and takes the reader on a journey through life.
Tom was born in Bathurst, NSW in 1951, in one of Australia’s post WW11 refugee camps, a huge improvement on the UN Displaced Person’s Camp in Naples where his brother Andrea was born. After some intense cross border encounters in Germany, Switzerland and Holland, his parents Zdeny and Philomena had fled Czechoslovakia in 1947 and were ordered to travel by train to Naples, where life was no picnic to say the least.
Tom’s early formative years were spent in Parramatta and after being educated at the King’s School and North Sydney Boys’ High he studied law at Sydney University, where he won an Australia-Britain Society scholarship, which took him on an overseas study tour.
In 1976 he joined the Royal Australian Navy as a naval legal officer and served in most Australian States and in the United States during the 1990-91 Gulf War, after a short stint in Pakistan and the Khyber Pass. After 20 years in the Australian Military he established a full-time career as a mediator and facilitator, practising throughout Australia, including the Northern Territory, where he was the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, before settling in Brisbane in 2002.
An early pioneer of mediation and alternative dispute resolution and mentored by the late Sir Laurence Street, he has promoted its benefits both here in Australia and overseas. Tom is accredited internationally in India, PNG, Hong Kong and NZ and has promoted mediation across Vietnam in recent years. In 2019 he was honored to receive the Australasian Mediator of the Year award.
Tom has been fortunate to have enormous support from his parents and his loving wife Janet and three children. This along with the great support from many friends and colleagues across the country has played a major role in shaping him every step of the way.
Growing up in a refugee household, where English was a second language to German, had its challenges and benefits. Assimilation was the order of the day and resilience and unimaginable strength and sacrifice shown by his parents and his grandmother created a unique background and environment. At prep school he struggled with his English essays and often his mother stepped in to help, despite her own challenges learning a new language. Being a contemporary of the author John Marsden helped to inspire Tom years later, to try his hand at writing.
Tom was always a happy child, able to keep up a positive disposition, despite the many home pressures and stresses of day to day life. His father was a successful Sydney artist and Tom played a major role in the management and promotion of the cottage industry which contributed to helping pay the prohibitive school fees. The early exposure to the arts and artistic endeavour provided a strong and enduring legacy. Finally, in 1976 whilst at sea in the Pacific Ocean with the Navy he wrote his first poem and found a way to express his own artistic creativity.
Life is a Dance is his second book of poems and incorporates his first book Storm Clouds and Silver Linings-My Journey which was launched in 2018 and had its third re-print, due to its success.
John Marsden - 31 August 2020
Just a note of gratitude to say thank you very much for the book. It’s beautifully done! The cover, the paper and printing are excellent, and the photo on the front is an absolute ripper. I must say, with some envy, that you look barely 50 years old! Maybe something magical happens to people who write poems-they grow younger with each stanza they compose. I do like the poems very much, and I was moved by the many comments you have quoted in the middle of the book.
I agree with John Marsden. Unique and powerful. Timeless jewels. And the poems aren’t bad either. Words of poetry from the caring soul of Mr Stodulka touch hearts across time. Keep writing and stay young, that’s quite a recipe for life. My brother Shad who you met is reading your poems at the moment………the first poem he has read in his life…His comments floor me. He had put little notes on each page he liked. Beautiful reaction from the farmer.
Ms Jacinda Euler Principal BGGS
In this challenging year, your poetry is a gentle reminder to pause, reflect and appreciate the special moments in life.
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your poems. They evoke emotions not only of joy, but also of poignancy. Once I started reading them, I couldn’t put them down. I also loved seeing some of your father’s paintings again. What a lovely idea. Life certainly is a Dance.
I have now read some of the writings in your book and found many of them memorable and very moving. ….. I will treasure reading it over and over.
Dr Bruce Addison Deputy Principal (Academic) BGGS
I used a lovely quote of yours….It really resonated with me and it resonated with our community too. It is lovely to have your book in the School.
Just received your poetry Tom. Now it is my turn to be emotional. I am deeply moved by what you’ve observed over the years. So inspiring.
Today, I really needed some words of wisdom and somehow I picked your book up and then the answers came to me. After reading ‘Change and your future’, I wanted to email you, for that is what I needed to know at this very moment. I’m sure that this will be a great source of enlightenment for many people as it is already one of mine. Thank you once again Tom.
A beautiful man Tom Stodulka. Loved your poems
Khory McCormick 28 February 2019
I have just placed Storm Clouds & Silver Linings- My Journey on the table. To turn its pages is in an eclectic yet connected way that I hear a voice- a calming & thoughtful resonating thread of caring & of love for others & the wider world. It is a voice seeking expression, the voice of Tom's soul, the reception of which challenges each reader to provide an unfiltered honest personal response. The honest innocence of that voice precipitates unguarded reflection in a reader, or at least it did in me.
Lisa F and 10 year old son Brodie F 10 June 2018
Young Brodie is reading aloud your beautiful and thought provoking poetry book. He has been most impressed and decided to look up your digital footprint. He tells me that you are an Icon. God bless; thank you for sharing your book and yourself. You are an inspiration.
Georgie G 18 June 2018
I have been reading your poems and am enjoying them immensely. They are easy to “be in”
So often I find poetry a bit tricky, but yours seem to be a clear reflection on life-beautifully written. Thank you. Our common ground of the mediation poems felt so familiar, as if I could have written them. Congratulations Tom! What an achievement.
Linda H 17 June 2018
Tom Stodulka’s book is ready to show off to the world. Tom’s unique questioning of this world and transparent love of all around him soaks through each page of this new book. His poems melt your heart and warm your soul and in turn makes you ask questions. They are also very entertaining. His choice to add his father’s paintings to the book of poems is delightful.
James L 17 June 2018
You’re a very interesting man with a heart of gold Tom.
Will be nice to spend some time amongst your thoughts. Well done on the book; amazing accomplishment! Very proud to call you friend.
Joanna K 8 May 2018
Your kindness and humanity just shine. I wish your book great success.
John H 11 May 2018
A lovely contribution to human consciousness.
Faye A 19 June 2018
It is just so fantastic!!! I will truly treasure this book. You are really very talented. And I appreciate so much receiving a signed copy, signed by the author. I feel truly privileged.
Joanna L 19 June 2018
It’s absolutely delightful. I thank you for putting your thoughts into such inspiring and authentic words.
Bill F 14 June 2018
They are beautiful. Congrats on the book. It’s a treasure.
Chris H 19 June 2018
The reason I am in Perth is because of your Smile poem, which I messaged to a friend on the other side of the world on the Baltic Sea. She responded “that is a beautiful poem…. I am speechless”
Diane S 19 June 2018
Thanks so much Tom for my own personal book of poems, they are just a delight to read.
Rhonda W 16 June 2018
I am so happy I bought your book of poetry. What a brilliant creative talent you have and so good of you to share it with us.
Ros B 15 June 2018
I read you proems last night and was moved to tears in some cases-your ability to convey emotions is a real gift.
Ron P 9 June 2018
I have read your 62 pages bringing forth great feelings of love of country…empathy… nostalgia…and faith in the indomitable human spirit…the lines on your 93 year old mother brought tears to my eyes….your father’s paintings are just beautiful.
Ron P 15 March 2018
Your poems are not abstract or pseudo/intellectual…you have expressed your integrity and heart-felt thoughts and emotions through them. I look forward to the book. I have enjoyed reading your poetry out aloud as I do to get the full resonance. “The Stars Await”
Janet F 12 June 2018
I must tell you how much I am enjoying your wonderful book of poetry. I read and relish a couple of pages each day. I can’t tell you how evocative your words are and how much they resonate with many of my own experiences. Having the privilege to know your beloved Dad, and the joy in adoring your gorgeous mother adds an even richer dimension to your words and your Dad’s brilliant art work.
Michelle G 12 June 2018
Congratulations on your book, it is fantastic! I have started reading it and I am blown away by how good it is, you are so talented.
Bill A 9 June 2018
I have received the book and started! WOW.
You’re amazing young man!
Michael H 10 June 2018
I think it’s a wonderful piece of work and have decided to order more for gifts. You certainly have a wonderful way of capturing the moment and then being able to express it….I love it!
Judy H 7 June 2018
I particularly like “An Ode to Kindness”
Thank you so much for your kindness in giving me such a wonderful gift.
Linda H 1 June 2018
Your words of your poems hang in my heart like a sign post. Your insight flows through your words and paints pictures or puts that bolt of loveliness through the thoughts.
Mark B 5 June 2018
I appreciate the Kindle down load, already read a couple of your works and so proud to have read your poems and to have your friendship over this many years.
John Campbell 3 June 2018
I have read Storm Clouds and Silver Linings-My Journey and what a pleasant experience that was! I particularly enjoyed The very old walls and their stories. The imagery of the old building mixed with what we have done (as lawyers) and do (as mediators), is profound. Tom, your smile and considerate approach to what you do, reminds me of another passage in your book-namely An Ode to Kindness. It’s so rue that a genuine smile can traverse all and can confront pain and loss. I would borrow from your own words Tom and say to you, “never lose that smile and that inner glow”. Thank you for sharing that zest for life with the reader.
Les D 28 May 2018
Thanks for the heads up linking Kindle with your eBook.
Mate this book simply confirms how talented you are! It was just sooooo Tom!
Bloody excellent.. You certainly put your heart into it.
Chris W 16 May 2018
Mum and I are both highly impressed and edified by your website and the material that you have both created and facilitated.
John M 1 June 2018
I did find time to read quite a few of your poems, which I very much enjoyed. I like the reflective, almost serene nature that they seem to have. They are thoughtful and thought provoking.
Malcolm J 11 June 2018
Book has arrived and is on my desk. You have a fine eye in observing the “human condition”. Setting this to words is genius. What a wonderful way to start the day. So glad you could share it more broadly through publishing this book.
Steven H 7 March 2018
Your poem The very old walls and their stories is fantastic and very moving.
Tom Stodulka has brightened our lives with this collection of poems that are so full of insights and colourful perspectives. Tom’s words on paper remind the reader of the way a painter uses a canvas to get us to look at both striking images and the everyday differently. Here are scenes of summer in Brisbane, a grandmother and child and a host of topics that are accessible to all of us. Many pleasurable hours await the reader who opens up the world of the poet in this collection available for the first time.
I have a large mailing out list in my business and from time to time I have received wonderful heartfelt comments from my recipients of their delight in reading the poems of Thomas Stodulka. Myself it becomes a privilege to get these gems of poetry from this author! Such a talent must always be read for enjoyment!
Some have a relatable wisdom; some have a depth on high that they can go to. Some can write perfectly perfect. It is a delightful rare mix to find all three in one vessel. Tom that is you. Keep writing, keep sharing.
I am so impressed by your poetry skills, and would love to be able to acquire a copy of your work. I love poetry and find that it is often a key to those wise messages that are too often overlooked! Somehow it takes you to a different place and looking at the world from a different angle with the results of greater insight and spiritual connection.
Tom's poetry is uniquely personal. A modern-day Banjo Patterson, Tom shares everyday stories with uncensored humour and deep emotion. Tom's connection to nature is almost spiritual, his insight into the human plight is borne of great compassion, and his wry political observations will have you treasuring this collection as something like a diary of our times. His words are best heard spoken by the man himself - if you get the chance to hear a poem "live" then you're in for a treat as you will be swept up in the cantering pace and intense feeling of each story. You will feel the thundering storm above you, see the heartbreak of a crumbling relationship, witness the triumph of the battler, hear the laughter of the children playing with their devoted dad. Like listening to the lyrics of a ballad, you will be mesmerised. Tom's anthology is a rare and special observation of everyday life. Not to be missed.
The descriptive way Tom writes helps his readers create such vivid images that capture the imagination and the heart of a story. His connection to the soul of his subjects, the impact of an event, and the magnificent but sometimes harsh reality of the environment provides us a unique insight as observers, which builds empathy in this often disconnected world.
Margaret and Steve
It is such a pleasure to read Tom’s poems. They are quintessentially Australian and really capture the essence of the Queensland Summer. The delightful word-pictures clearly bring out the contrast between the endless months of dryness and the welcome, refreshing, life-giving rain.
The poems are uplifting, delivering positive messages.
Although the darker side of life and world affairs is acknowledged, there is always hope.
Tom is a keen observer of nature and truly appreciates the wonders of the natural world.
Tom's gift to the world is his regard for all lives being innately worthy.
Tom and his subjects are not trying to prove anything, yet through his poems he gives
honour to all and makes every experience matter.
LH, New Zealand 2019
Just for fun these poems may be and they are. Your capture of the world and people around you brings the depth and fun all together. Delightful.
BB, Canberra 2019
Hearing your words spoke straight to my heart and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to tell you the impact it had on me.
LH, New Zealand 2019
Significant moments in life will fade, but what won’t be erased and the real purpose of Tom’s next book is there is not one other could do this, it will not exist if you don’t march towards that unique expression of speaking to hearts and stilling restless souls.
An indigenous man from Alice Springs, 2019
Your book is a reminder to me that I am on the right track of my journey. Once again thanks a lot Tom. You’ve given me an amazing gift and I’ll definitely be spreading the word of your brilliant work.
Once again Tom has touched our hearts with his second book showing us his deep understanding of human nature and his experiential affinity with mother nature.
What a joy! Thank you so much for sending me a copy. Such beautiful and inspiring and encouraging words throughout-just what we need in these difficult times. And of course it’s so thrilling to see your dad’s beautiful paintings at the end. Cheers and thanks again!
Congratulations on a beautiful collection of words. You’re terrific.
Your poetry is maturing noticeably…strong and meaningful stanzas reach out to me and with the addition of your father’s beautiful paintings...has made your book a feast for the eyes and soul.
Some weeks ago Brisbane Girls Grammar included a few lines from Loss, Grief and Hope-An Ode to Friends and Loved Ones 16 Jan 2018 in their 15 June 2020 Newsletter @BGGS Twitter #pedagogyquoteoftheweek by Brisbane based poet Captain Tom Stodulka:
Embrace love in all its norms,
Enjoy the storms.
And the quiet and peaceful times.
Finish well, the race is being run.
And in the meantime, enjoy every moment in the sun.
ALL ORIGINAL ARTWORKS FROM ZDENY STODULKA