Thursday, April 23, 2015
POETRY STRADDLING PLACE
How pleased I am to be included in the recent anthology: The House is Not Quiet and The World is Not Calm edited by Kit Kelen and Geoff Page (ASM/Cerberus Press and Poetry at the Gods 2014).
It gives a great spread of writing from the Canberra Region’s poets both living and not, and shows the diversity of style and interests. I got a lot from Geoff Page’s introduction together with his selection of poems in Part 1 by Canberra’s major deceased poets. There are 44 current poets included, with one to several poems each. This is quite a stately looking publication with its grey tones, clean white text and sexy matte satin finish.
I’m dipping at the moment. I have discovered the piercing beauty and loss of Michael Thorley’s Lipsticks, the powerful merging of human, beast and boulder in Nicola Bowery’s The Muster and the winging words and observations of Omar Musa in My Generation. I just love Charlotte Clutterbuck’s Snail Wisdom – both jolting and slimy, the freshness and grace of Luke Whitington’s Antipasto Orazio and the anguish in Kathy Kituai’s potent Tanka Sequence. KA Nelson’s Tying Up Loose Ends had me both cringing and chuckling while Victoria McGrath’s poem The Last Say is a biting and hilarious take on relationships. (And here I must declare friendship with both Kathy and Victoria.)
Canberra is as much home to me as Binalong NSW where I actually live. Canberra is where I found my flocks of a feather. First by attending Fellowship of Australian Writers meetings, then working fulltime in arts and publishing. Becoming a part of the writing scene there - reading in a ton of events, organizing many. Going to workshops, facilitating workshops and other things. Many of my poems have been written in or inspired by Canberra.
I’m lucky these days – I have poetry and artist friends in Binalong and in nearby Yass too. Binalong nestles – as adorable villages do – in the Yass Valley in the Southern Tablelands, a very beautiful region. Foxes step out in front of you, ducks fly across your windscreen, eagles circle above, sheep bleat in the paddocks. Often a poem will hover just within reach.
My poem The Architecture of Pear (p. 78) has influences (a honing of images for example) from exhibitions in both Canberra and the Southern Tablelands. The domestic elements are from home in Binalong and the newspaper is very likely the Saturday Canberra Times. The poem written in Binalong won the artsACT’s national Rosemary Dobson Poetry Prize (joint) in 2011. A straddling of place through pears, papers and paintings. It’s been previously published but here it feels more at home.