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Rachael Mead‘s first collection The Sixth Creek was launched on Wednesday at La Boheme and I was delighted to be invited along.

 

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Following an insightful introduction by Jill Jones, a widely published poet and university lecturer, Rachael read a few pieces from her book engaging the audience with her warmth, beautiful imagery and sense of place.

 

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One of Rachael’s poems that stood out for me was Hope is a Perennial.  It’s a powerful piece that highlights Rachael’s strong connection with her homeland, the Sixth Creek catchment area (hence the title), in which thoughts and emotions blend and intertwine with nature, where “Hope is not a strategy” is “cross-stitched” and “circled by forget-me-nots for the wall above the sideboard”.  Another vivid image is depicted in The Animal Within where Rachael describes walking “on legs ripe with indigo blooms from encounters with edges” as she tries to “remember how to live”.

The book leaves you with a real sense of ‘there’, of life and it’s balancing act, of relating to the familiar, a wonderful first collection by a very talented poet that makes you want more and look forward to the next.

On Wednesday after work I went to hear poets Rachael Mead and Jill Jones read at The Treasurer’s Wall in Adelaide’s State Library, one of many regular poetry events organised by Friendly Street Poets.

Treasures Wall State Library

Rachael’s work I am familiar with, and she recited a wonderful piece called Lake Eyre Cycle that was published in the Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2013, Now You Shall Know.  Split into eight sections, it describes Rachael’s round trip to the lake with her husband in beautifully absorbing imagery, giving you a real sense of ‘there’.  Rachael also read from her first collection The Sixth Creek published by Picaro Press in 2013, which is an insightful assortment of poems about the place she lives in, the surrounding area and the wildlife she shares it with.  Rachael reads with a warmth and passion that takes you in, making you feel like you’re old friends.

The poetry of Jill Jones, I must confess, I am not so familiar with and thus have added her to my list of ‘poets to research’ (although I do recall Jill also being one of the Adelaide-based poets published in Australian Love Poems 2013). Jill also read a lengthier piece comprising six sonnets that get you to think about the planet we inhabit and the way it is falling, followed by a number of short pieces delivered with a wonderful quiet strength.

And then I did the inevitable – brought more books!  So mental note to self: more shelf space required… 

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