Between Christmas (no, actually, I haven't done anything about Christmas yet: no tree, no presents -- yet) -- all right, between social outings, a trip away to the Prom, having kids home from school for a couple of weeks and trying to write, I am way behind with my blogging. Life gets busier, which means there's more to blog about, but less time to do it, and writing has to come first. So forgive me for my lateness in posting all of this...
On Saturday 8 December, we had the launch of our latest issue of Poetrix at Federation Square. We don't "launch" many issues -- most go out into the world without such fanfare, but every now and then we like to remind ourselves of why we're doing this (which is to get great Australian poetry by women poets out to readers), and there's no better way than to have a launch and invite our subscribers and contributors to come along. Mostly, our launches coincide with round numbers -- so expect a launch with Issue 30! And sometimes we've done other things to celebrate as well -- so for Issue 10 we ran an acrostic competition (an acrostic, for anyone who doesn't know, is a poem in which the first letter of every line, when read together, spells something out, which like the title of the poem gives the poet a chance to add another layer to the poem).
The launch for #29 went really well. The Atrium is an airy space filled with light and framed by artistic "scaffolding" -- I love this kind of architecture! I remember being blown away in Paris by the Centre Georges Pompidou many years ago. You either love this sort of thing or you don't, and I do.
A number of our local poets came to read their poems, and the editorial committee read a selection from interstate poets, which we chose ourselves. I read Jude Aquilina's "Felis Domestica", a poem I absolutely love.
We shared space with readers from Small Change Press, a new Queensland poetry press, which was an interesting mix because our readers were all female and theirs all male (though one read a poem from one of their women poet's collections). I think we complemented each other well, though I think most of the audience was ours. Poets love to read their work (well, some do -- me, I've never been that keen on performing), so many of the audience were there to either read or to hear friends/family read. So the trick with pulling in a crowd to a poetry reading, if you don't have a lot of guest readers as we did, is to have an open mic session, but then, of course, it's potluck as to the quality.
The other thing we had was a professional photographer -- Rosina Lamberti, who is the Federation Square Events photographer. Great for me, as I forgot my camera!
The best part of all was meeting some of our contributors and supporters. Some we know, like Helen Cerne who is in Western Union Writers, Trudy Campbell, a past student of mine and Sherryl's, Lorraine McGuigan, editor of Poetry Monash, and some like Lerys Byrnes, I've only ever met on the page, so it's lovely to put faces to names. And then there are the long-time supporters, people like the wonderful Helen Annand, past editor of Centoria and past contributor to Poetrix who caught public transport in from Bendigo to be with us. It was Helen's first trip out for over a year, and having her make such an effort, having her tell us what a difference she thinks we are making or have made makes the effort put into publishing truly worthwhile. Thank you, Helen. We are equally appreciative of such loyalty. As we are from all our subscribers and those who contribute regularly. I must say we get some people who regularly send and are rejected, but they don't get put off, they keep sending stuff in, and nothing makes me happier than when they send something we finally love and can accept.
Photo courtesy of Rosina Lamberti