Poetry Readings, Launches, and Parties Galore

This week was again full of events, book buying, inspiration, parties, and somehow reading and writing amongst it all. Here’s a bit of a round-up:

Rebecca Clare Page launched her chapbook full of short-sweet gems Teacups and Birds.You can email her for a copy – rebeccaclarepage [at] hotmail [dot] com. Here’s a sample ((c) Rebecca Clare Page 2008):


You know,

I can’t remember leaving you.

Only you, sipping gin,

and the night,

clinging to your skin

like a stubborn piece of glitter. 

Reading at the launch was Sean M Whelan, one of my favourite Melbourne poets, and I got to hear Jessica Anne Friedmann for the first time. She was stunning. There was a great little crowd at Dexter bar/cafe in Clifton Hill. Lots of whooping, clapping and cheering.

Michael Reynolds

The very next night I was treated to more poetry. There were quite a few stages in my week where I bordered on exhausted collapse, but I hateto miss a good poetry reading. Especially since, for so long, I was never around any (back in Coffs). I wasn’t disappointed at all by ‘Wordplay’. Geoff Lemon (whose book Sunblind was also launched recently) introduced a selection of poets young and old. My favourites were Josephine Rowe, who actually read short prose and ended on a moving/provocative note, with the crowd hushed and leaning in toward her. Apparently she also made a veteran poet tearful. Michael Reynolds (pictured) was amazing. He has such powerful energy. His poems are often clever odes to words, language and poetry. Anthony O’Sullivan is a great talent. His style is both humorous and heartbreaking. He’s quite a storyteller, and delves into past and present. Moments of assuredness then self-consciousness – apt for a poet. Chris Wallace-Crabbe had me grinning. His poems about the ‘domestic sublime’ were fantastic. Poems about floating out the bedsheet to the other corner, and about saucers, and armpits. Really great stuff. There were two poets that grated with me. Loudness, overconfidence, and either no semblance of meaning, or an overt preoccupation with enforcing meaning on the audience do not sit greatly with me. But overall the night was very inspiring. I found myself scribbling on the tram on the way home, before becoming distracted by a very good-looking young man (an anti-muse?).

On Friday, after being such a good little girl all week and not drinking much at all, I suddenly decided lots of white wine was a good idea. It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea, but I became part of the dancing dregs of the Scribe Christmas party. It was fun, I just hope there weren’t any cameras floating around. Prior to Scribe was the Victorian Writer’s Centre party, and launch of the 2009 program. Check out some upcoming stuff.

The Scribe party was great. I was with my awesome work colleagues and Mr Paul Collins (author and publisher of Ford Steet, fellow party animal) and we met/caught up with lots of great people, including Jo Case, who does the Readings newsletter, the books section of The Big Issue, and wears many other hats. I hear she has something of the fictional variety in a journal soon too. I saw Paul Mitchell, who is another great person to catch around the spoken word scene. He’s a great performer, and I’ll also check out some of his fiction soon. Met Pauline Meaney, who manages Louis Braille audio. Audio books are a great Xmas present for anyone who spends a lot of time in the car, or has trouble reading. She’s doing The Boat on audio! I also met Max Barry, who apparently writes things. I reviewed Company this year.

Did you know Iowa has become the third UNESCO City of Literature after Edinburgh and Melbourne? Who connects all three cities and how? Write it in the comments and I might send you something …

I also had some great highs this week with getting my Honours thesis back, and having another story accepted for publication (in Wet Ink, out in March).

And some link action:

Read the history of cyber-culture online.

Check out the Australia Council’s new writer’s guide to making a digital living.

The staff at Readings choose their best books of 2008.

Issue 16 of Colloquy is now online. Their email says:

It contains a themed section dedicated to reflections upon Walter Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence” and Jacques Derrida’s “Force of Law” … Alongside this excellent array of postgraduate articles, this issue includes four general articles, a translation (of some highly recommended Japanese poems regarding war and peace) and a selection of book reviews. Colloquy is presently seeking unsolicited submissions for future issues. Issue 17, to appear in June 2009, will feature general articles as well as papers devoted to two themes. These are: Alternative visions: philosophies of freedom in South Asian Diasporic Writing, and International and Intercultural Communications in the Age of Digital Media.

And here are two blogs I like the look of, found through Perry over at Matilda. He did litblog profiles of them, as he did me. They are Books and Musings from Downunder, and if you like Margo Lanagan, check out hers, Among Amid White. He also profiled Genevieve, who runs reeling and writhing, which I’ve been a fan of for quite a while now.

5 thoughts on “Poetry Readings, Launches, and Parties Galore

  1. Glad to hear the Teacups & Birds launch went well. I must track down Ms. Page and obtain a copy. Do you know if the book is being sold anywhere?

  2. Also I may see her at a gig somewhere, I just like having the opportunity to support book stores that support poetry when I can :).

  3. Okay, I signed up and now have the power to leave comments – beware.

    Nam Le grew up in Melbourne, studied in Iowa and did a stint at the Edingburgh writers’ festival (in conjunction with the Melbourne Writers’ Festival)…AND was an interviewee for Literary Minded.


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