They came in their thousands (Week 12: 23-29 September)

Or maybe just a couple of handfuls. The poetry reading made for an enjoyable afternoon at The Bean Barn out of the wind and rain. As usual on AFL grand final day, the streets were deserted and I got a park right out the front of the cafe. A rock star park, some would say.

I arrived at the same time as Nathan Curnow, co-reader and poetry demigod, and the handfuls followed not long after. In the throng were community radio legends Dave and Myles, great supporters of the arts scene in Ballarat. Where would we be without them and Voice FM?

Great to hear Nathan’s new words, so beautifully bound by Walleah Press: a cover that feels like fine wax. Naturally I got him to sign my new copy. I read some of my anthologised poems, and a couple of new ones finished during the residency. All in all a relaxing and inspiring afternoon. It isn’t often one gets to sit around and talk about poetry.

The winner of the Residency Prize was Beatrice, otherwise known as BJ, who had taken out the week 2 quiz back in July. She had correctly (and quickly) re-assembled my childhood favourite by C.J. Dennis, ‘The Triantiwontigongolope‘. She won a small mountain of poetry anthologies, including the latest Australian Poetry journal, a magnetic poetry kit (for the fridge – where else?), a bag of special Bean Barn coffee and a spoken word CD featuring Victorian Emilie Zoey Baker among others.

Big thanks to the others who came to the reading – a small but appreciative crowd always beats none.

Congratulations also to the week 12 community poets (you know who you are)! They did it again, taking my lead to create this week’s communal poem. Albeit a little shorter than the previous three, a farewell ditty emerged, and my hat comes off to the four who added lines to it.

**
Farewell my friends, the end is nigh – one week and I am gone
To seek adventure near and far, from breakfast I am torn.
I pack my bags with sense of fun and style to which I was born,
to an adventure with no end, I pedal so fast with legs shorn.
Long into the sunrise I ride with lovely memories adorned.

**
My sincere thanks go to The Bean Barn for letting me litter up their place every week since July. Have loved the hot choccies as part of the weekly routine – there are none better in Ballarat. As for those iced chocolates – let it be known that Tanya is the Iced Chocolate Queen. Also, thanks to Australian Poetry for giving my the residency – much valued TIME to write (or at least think about) poetry.

So is this the end? Of the residency, yes. Of the blog?

I started it to document my residency; to mark the time as a cafe poet. Do I unplug, now that it is over?

 

Poetry reading this Saturday

This is it. The final fling of my poetry residency. The last hoorah. My last day as Poet in Residence (note capital letters) at The Bean Barn is Saturday 29 September 2012 and to celebrate, I invite you to come along for a poetry reading from 3pm to 5pm.

It won’t be just any reading. Joining me will be poetry royalty, Nathan Curnow, who will treat us to some poems from his latest book, Radar, which is now available from Readings. He might even sign your new copy!

Oh and before you ask: yes, I know that’s the day of the footy grand final. This will be the best non-footy entertainment you’ll find in Ballarat that day. And I’m proud of that fact.

Poetry reading

Poetry reading in Ballarat 29 September

A gaggle of poets

Back on 8 September, an eager group of writers gathered at The Bean Barn to take part in a new project called ‘Artists inspire artistry’. It’s based on an idea that has been buzzing around in the Ballarat Writers Inc. box of ideas for a few years: a roving recital of new works written in response to art. Roving because the works are read in front of the art that inspired them – in this case, selected from the soon-to-open exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, ‘Capturing Flora: 300 years of Australian botanical art’.

When earlier this year I was approached by the gallery to offer suggestions for events that could run in conjunction with their exhibition, up popped the idea. I figured we could spread the love even further still, so invited staff from the University of Ballarat’s School of Education and Arts to participate. I recruited passionate academics in literature and spoken performance. So now the project involves the Art Gallery, the University and literature/arts students, and members of Ballarat Writers Inc: a fine developmental opportunity  for local aspiring writers and a ripper cross-arts collaborative endeavour. Fabulous.

From mid-September to late October, 11 writers and poets are learning about and practising ekphrastic writing, workshopping ideas, visiting the gallery, and writing writing writing. They will also be treated to workshops in presentation. Their brief: to produce a new piece of writing in response to something from the exhibition.

The project culminates in two public recitals in the exhibition space on Friday 9 November and Tuesday 13 November. You’ll even be able to buy a copy of the totally unique, limited-edition anthology of new writing that will include full colour plates of the artwork associated with each poem, vignette or story. Just a little exciting!

Given the exhibition title, perhaps a more appropriate collective noun might have been a ‘pod of poets’. Maybe?