Wrap up of Poetry at the Press Book House


What a wonderful afternoon we had at the The Press Book House last Saturday 15th August. Thirteen very diverse, fascinating and engaging poets entertained us. Unfortunately Ivy Ireland was unable to attend due to ill health.

Here’s part of my introduction:

“I am so pleased that Janette and I have been able to assemble such a wonderful group of poets together to read for you today. But don’t forget, poets don’t just need people to listen to their poetry. They need people to buy their books as well. I have copies here of The Starving in a Garrets’ poetry books available and The Press Book House also has an Australian Poetry bookshelf. Happy listening everyone and happy buying.”

The lineup in order of performance:

Jan Dean, Judy Johnson, Jean Kent, Meg Dunn, Dael Allison, Louise Berry, Jenny Blackford, Janette Hoppe, Jill McKeowen, Michael Collins, Gillian Carter-Swain, David Graham and Geoff Nicholls.

Here’s the bios of most of the poets:

Jan Dean’s poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies including The Night Road (the 2009 Newcastle Poetry Prize; Sunweight (the Newcastle Poetry Prize 2005, for which she won the Local Prize); The Best Australian Poems 2005 (Black Inc) and The Best Australian Poetry 2004 (UQP). In 2014 her chapbook Paint Peels, Graffiti Sings (Flying Island Books, Macau) was published in English and Mandarin. Jan’s poetry collection With One Brush was published as winner of IP Picks Best First Book in 2007 and shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Award in 2008.

Judy Johnson has published five poetry collections, several chapbooks and a novel. Her prizes include the Victorian Premier’s Award, Josephine Ulrick, Wesley Michel Wright (twice) and Val Vallis awards. She was shortlisted for the West Australian Premier’s Award. Her verse novel, Jack was on both the Melbourne and Sydney University syllabus

Jean Kent has published five full-length collections of poetry. The most recent is The Hour of Silvered Mullet, which was published by Pitt Street Poetry in 2015. (You can fine more info at the following link http://pittstreetpoetry.com/emporium/jean-kent/)

Meg Dunn is the offspring of a mermaid and a lighthouse keeper. Born in Newcastle she has recently returned after 17 years in Melbourne. She has been a theatre practitioner for the majority of her working life and yet has never been a waitress. She co-founded Zeal Theatre and Newcastle Poetry at the Pub and run many poetry gigs in Melbourne including the Overload Festival. She won Best Spoken Word at the Melbourne Fringe for her spoken word show ‘Brave’ (available on CD). She’s currently working on a poetry adventure novel, ‘The Real Thing’, and completing the Bachelor of Arts she never had.

Louise Berry has had poetry published in various anthologies.

Jenny Blackford’s poems have been published in Westerly, Quadrant, Australian Poetry Journal and more. She was awarded third place in the ACU Prize for Poetry in 2014, and has two poems shortlisted this year. Her illustrated pamphlet, The Duties of a Cat, was published by Pitt Street Poetry late in 2013.

Janette Hoppe‘s poetry is a reflection of her Australian and New Zealand Maori heritage. Her tanka and haiku have been published in journals in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. The creative director of Papatuanuku Press Janette’s current project Collecting Cobwebs – The Blue Series will be launched during Mental Health week with all proceeds going to Beyond Blue.

Jill McKeowen works full-time at the University of Newcastle, where she teaches academic writing to students across all disciplines. She has only recently begun to present her poetry in public, so hopes to have a more literary bio note by this time next year.

Gillian Swain has been writing and performing poetry around Newcastle and the East Coast for quite a while now. Gillian’s poetry has texture and taste, has energy and touch. Gillian has been published in various anthologies and has a chap book published by Picaro Press called Sang Up. Gillian and her husband run a Coffee Roastery in the Maitland area and an Espresso Bar where they also hold poetry events.

David Graham’s poetry spirals from the dizzying heights of surrealism to the mired depths of drunkenness, with the inevitable following hangover. Graham is also a guiding force in the Word Hurl Antislam, a no rules spoken word and poetry night, held monthly in Newcastle and publishes a fort-monthly poetry, prose and anything journal called The Word Hurl Times.

Looking forward to the next one!

About Debbie Robson

Author, booklover, bookcrosser and firm believer in synchronicity. There is no such thing as coincidence! I am currently working on a trilogy set in Sydney and Paris during the 1920s, along with poems, flash and short stories.
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