|Opening Lines by Lizz Murphy|
Saturday, May 21, 2011
About 40 poets rolled up for the Australian Poetry (Ltd) forum in Canberra on May 1. Paul Kooperman, National Director, provided background to the establishment of Australian Poetry, appointments of other staff, programs already on the go and others in planning. The full story of Australian Poetry is at the looking good website.
He mentioned that most, if not all (I can’t remember exactly) staff, are part-time. So I guess we need to be a bit patient and give everyone a chance to settle into their new roles and set up all programs.
Intention is for the new Australian Poetry Journal to be equal in quality to the journals it will replace: Five Bells (former Poets Union) and Blue Dog (former Australian Poetry Centre). Poets will receive payment for contributions and at ASA rates. By the way, since the Canberra forum, Bronwyn Lea has been appointed editor. Submissions are now open — for more info click here.
There was a bit of a run-down on various activities/special projects including: Café Poets, Poem on a Pillow (Sydney), Vow Wows, PROD! — Poets Ride Online Dangerously (in partnership with RMIT), Tee-shirt Poems, Poetry to Inspire Fashion, etc. Apparently this area attracts the most criticism says Paul, but I think, provided it doesn’t spread the resources too thin and that collaborations with other sectors retain a focus on the poet and contemporary poetry, it adds variety and liveliness.
The more ‘serious’ programs include the journal mentioned above, the Australian Poetry Symposium coming up in Newcastle, the Poet in Residence with Sandra Thibodeaux working her way around the country one way or another, workshop programs including online opportunities and an education program. I believe the regional poetry festivals established by the Australian Poetry Centre will continue, and there also are plans for poets to visit refugees on Christmas Island.
The e-bulletins are welcome and the website is working. Go to www.australianpoetry.org for more on programs and activities, competitions, an events calendar and a whole lot more.
Paul Kooperman is based in Melbourne but there is also a NSW Director, Leah Greengarten, based in Sydney, and the so far unfunded Director positions in WA: Katrina Bercov, and ACT: Hal Judge.
The Canberra forum was hosted by Hal, and vino was contributed by the ACT Writers Centre. We ran out of time for the local discussion which was unfortunate, but there was an opportunity to mingle and hear something of what other poets are doing to promote poetry. Some of us really enjoyed the chance to catch up and in some cases meet, so many poets in one spot.
You can contact Hal with enquiries or your ideas for the ACT — and I hope the Canberra Region — on firstname.lastname@example.org I have to say thanks not only to Paul but to both Hal and Leah since due to my regional location I straddle both NSW and the ACT.