Mar '12 8
These recent days have been poetry-filled and frilled with meeting many new and fascinating people. Although poetry is not a major feature of Adelaide Writers' Week, I was delighted to meet and chat to Dennis O'Driscoll a couple of times at the event. Dennis is from Tipperary (not too far from my home town) and I can tell you now: his poem 'Someone' is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. And his poetry books sold out at the event! (I remember this happened a few years back when Simon Armitage's poetry collections raced out the tent door and there wasn't a copy left anywhere in Adelaide.) However, I was lucky enough to bag one of the last remaining few copies of Stepping Stones, a collection of Dennis's interviews with his friend and fellow poet, Seamus Heaney.

I also attended the session with Mike Ladd and Les Murray in conversation. Les Murray's most recent collection, Taller when Prone, won the 2012 John Bray Poetry Award. Mike compared Les's poetry about place and surroundings with that of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, who believed that 'All great civilizations are based on the parish'. Kavanagh wrote about everyday farming life (for example 'Spraying the Potatoes') and said '...the things that really matter are casual, insignificant little things'.

In another session, Dionne Brand (Canada), Aidan Coleman (Adelaide), Michael Hulse (UK), Mike Ladd (Adelaide), Dennis O'Driscoll (Ireland) and Jan Owen (Adelaide) read a selection of their poems. It was a delight to hear each poet voice his/her own work. I bought a copy of Aidan Coleman's new book, Asymmetry, which I'm looking forward to experiencing. The poems navigate the challenging path of the author's recovery from a stroke; the collection has had rave reviews.

I was disappointed that I couldn't make it to the launch of Friendly Street Poets 'New Poets 17' (which features gareth roi jones, John Pfitzner and Rachael Mead), as well as the launch of Friendly Street Poets 'Flying Kites' edited by Judy Dally and Louise McKenna. I bought a copy of each, however, and I'm looking forward to dipping in.

All in all, mad March has offered Adelaide a nice polite pot of poetry.

In the next post I'll update you on some slam and spoken word events.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

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  1. Mike says:

    *Well done Jennifer. WW is a marathon, if you try to go to everything. I heard Dennis O'Driscoll at the session with Mike Ladd et al, and he was a delight - I could listen to him all day.

  2. Jen says:

    *I agree Mike, WW is a marathon so I'm kind of glad that I wasn't/I'm not hankering to attend every session. Glad you got to hear Dennis though; he's a delight.

    I went to the Gail Jones session yesterday and that was great; I have her book ('Five Bells', and yes, it is a reference to the Kenneth Slessor poem). She was quite fascinating about how interested she is in literature constructed on patterns and repetitions ('Five Bells' is full of them); also her interest in time, its stretching, shrinking and amplification, and its archaeology (all of which we enjoy frying our brains with here at JListonRRath-ville too!).


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