Friday, July 17, 2009

Poetry winters well in Yass

It was a very happy occasion recently when over eighty people rolled up to The Sheep's Back Gallery and Yass Books, to hear stimulating readings by visiting poets Judith Beveridge and Stephen Edgar from Sydney and Geoff Page from Canberra. Organized by Aedeen Cremin of Yass Books, her promotion was supported by promotional efforts from YASSarts. YASSarts is pretty much local artist Kim Nelson and a voluntary arts website. Kim MC-d the afternoon, constantly disappearing between announcements to rake out yet more chairs. All three poets were extremely well received - as you would expect. Judith told us like most Australian poets she is obsessed with birds and that she has always loved the word Appaloosa. It is always a delight to hear her Saffron poem. Geoff suggested that a great place for poets to start is wanting to do something and holding back from it. Stephen's website gives you not only details of latest books but sample poems - worth visiting. We have been very fortunate in recent years with a number of published poets visiting the shire and the wider region, including Judy Johnson, Harry Laing and Chris Mansell. Some of these mini-tours were thanks to the Poets Union's poetry development program (often with support from libraries and writers centres and always with full cooperation from Yass Valley Writers). Sadly Arts NSW has discontinued funding for the Poetry Development Officer position in spite of grand outcomes and even the Poets Union itself. Appalling situation altogether.

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