Leanne Barrett: Book Launch: Ten Cities Ten Poets

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Book Launch: Ten Cities Ten Poets

Cities: Ten Cities Ten Poets anthology was launched at the National Library of Australia Bookshop last night. We gathered in the intimate space between the shelves and when you closed your eyes and listened to the poets read, you were transported to another location, another time and another city.

Cities: Ten Cities Ten Poets is 'not just a collection of poetry is has been produced out of practice or a response to a topic or event' says, Shane Strange. Shane described the book as a creation of poems about 'ten cities, by ten poets, with ten different points of view.'. 

This new anthology from Recent Work Press (other titles from this publisher can also be purchased though the NLA Bookshop) was born from of a discussion between two of the book's poets, Paul Hetherington and Shane Strange, during a car journey to Bungendore, NSW. 

Shane Strange
 
Paul Hetherington
Melinda Smith

Melinda Smith describes this book as a 'fascinating journey' that allows the readers to 'Capture a glimpse of a city through tiny moments in time.' She explored the idea that when we visit cities we have a view about the city from our own viewpoint and then when we revisit a city many years later the city has changed and so have we, Melinda says, 'cities mark us.' 

And I think that our experience of these cities can change over time and be vastly different to another person's experience. Recently I began to research my book about my family's experience of Canberra since 1949. But that Canberra is so different to the one of my childhood in the 1980s and different again to Canberra of today. While some of the buildings still remain their purpose and their surroundings have changed mark-ably but the locations and stories can still connect one generation to another or even connect strangers.

Paul Hetherington feels that pose poetry in the anthology Cities: Ten Cities Ten Poets is a demonstration of how 'writing can connect different places,' and it can connect people.

Subhash
Our first poet reader at the launch was Subhash Jaireth, who has a voice that is deep and hypnotic. With your eyes closed his voice envelops you and vibrates though your chest connecting your soul to the words, the city and the poem. He read the poems;
  • Robben Island by Jen Webb (p. 88)
  • St. Charles Streetcar line, St. Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA. by Cassandra Atherton (p114)
  • Plus one by himself that was not included in this anthology. 
His poem took me away to another place and time where I was the person who had a 'warm apple in my pocket...walking in the mist,' recited Subhash. He transported me, wow.  

Niloofar
Our second reader was Niloofar Fanaiyan. Her voice was melodic and calm, yearning and echoing on the air. She read the poems;
  • Flight SQ 42 Singapore to Mumnai listening to Nusrat Fateh Alis Kahn upon landing by Pooja Nansi (p54)
  • Der Herr ist Nahe 1 by Niloofar Fanaiyan (p 75)
  • Ice caps weep into the sea by Paul Munden (p134) 
Candice
At the conclusion of the poetry reading I felt reminded that while we often read poetry to ourselves in our head, that poems deserve to read aloud and Candice Cappe agreed (NLA, Manager of Sales and Promotion).

You can find out more about the authors of Cities: Ten Cities Ten Poets on the writers page of Recent Work Press.

Or below you can find out more about each speaker from the book launch;
Paul Hetherington here and here.
                                            Subhash Jaireth
                                            Niloofar Fanaiyan

Subhash, Shane, Niloofar, Paul and Melind

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