17 February 2014
Wrapping in the Rain
Not quite rapping, but definitely WRAP. We are in Beechworth for a few days with some mates. Beechworth is famous for Ned Kelly and gold and being a deliciously cute town. When we looked at what’s on, we found the Writers, Readers and Poets’ Weekend, an annual event in Beechworth. It’s not so big. A few public readings and a few workshops. A few locals and some decent imports: Tony Birch wrote Shadowboxing and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin; Beverley Lello is a local from Yackandandah who’s written short stories and for anthologies and more; Eddie Paterson teaches scriptwriting at UMelb; Kevin Brophy has published 13 books of poetry, fiction and essays; Kate Rotherham teaches Creative Fiction and has published in Best Australian short stories and elsewhere. There are others. There are workshops and they are small and intimate, at least one we looked in on. We mainly just attended one public reading, in a light rain by the main roundabout in Beechworth so somewhat noisy, but it places poetry and culture at the heart of the real world, so good. We heard Jeff Braithwaite (?) with some political statements in poetry, about refugees and environment: “Where is your heart, Australia / Have you a red hot centre / Or just a cold hard stone”. I liked his honest ethics and open challenge to our current malaise. Then Lisa Ride who was associated with ANU (perhaps in the past) and was reading publicly for the first time. She rushed a bit, as early performers are wont to, but she was wily and amusing with a poem about commercialisation of Christmas then another about the centre aisle at Aldi, with its urgent specials. I associated easily with this: I have a USB microscope that was a great deal and is a story that amuses me no end, but which I’ve never used. Then Jean Memory (?), with several poems, A woman for all seasons (last line: “clever, thoughtful, well designed”), and Rachel and the fairies (about mother Rachel and baby) and another tongue-in-cheek suggestive one about janitors with clean premises and dirty minds. Then Amy Brown. Dr Amy teaches Creative writing at UMelb and has published several books, including Odour of sanctity, which she read from. OoS is an epic poem about six saints. She read lines about saint Rumwald of Buckingham, born 662CE, lived 3 days, spoke “Sum Christianus” as his first words before dying just days later. The 3-day speaking baby saint. Fascinating and richly lyrical language. Then Ro (?) with two poems on Trees and a humourous one on Molly the Moth. I am no poetry buff, despite hearing Les Murray at Poetry at the Gods only days before. There’s something in this, though, and it’s worthwhile. I’ll try for more. In the meantime, that’s a WRAP.