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I was guest poet at Poets’ Corner Monday evening, a bi-monthly event held at the Effective Living Centre in Wayville, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Having been recommended by Jules Leigh Koch, fellow poet, friend and a member of the group, Mary Taylor who runs the event invited me to read, which I managed to do for an hour! The centre is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and the evening drew a small, but attentive audience.

Preparing for it, a few themes emerged – family, health and travel – so I structured my reading around them. I started by talking about my background, how I got into poetry, shared my first published poem (a whole nine lines!), and then my thoughts on the purpose of poetry and my creative process. I read 22 poems in all; some from my chapbooks and a few from the collection I’m currently working on. Questions followed.

Louise Nicholas, another fellow poet and friend, wanted to know how I can be so disciplined with my writing routine. Being fortunate enough to work part time, Fridays are my writing day, plus I love to do lists and so make one for what I want to achieve that week. And if I do something not on the list, I add it on and strike it through! (does wonders for the sense of achievement). I was also asked how I find out about submission opportunities. I’ve signed up to a weekly email, Submishmash, which lists upcoming deadlines for both national and overseas publications seeking work, and also hear about them through my poetry groups, with Facebook being a valuable source too. However, I plan to cut back on the number of submissions I make this year to focus on my next (and first full length!) collection.

It was a wonderful evening and I was surprised how quickly the time went. There was a short break followed by an open mic session in which others shared their own work. I sold a few chapbooks and had some interesting, and insightful, conversations. And that’s one of the many beautiful things about poetry – its power to bring people together, which sometimes, in itself, is enough.

I planned to go along to Poet’s Corner Monday evening to hear fellow poet and friend Cary Hamlyn read, but unfortunately couldn’t make it.

Attending this event would have been a first for me, which runs six times a year at the Effective Living Centre in Wayville.  A guest poet is invited to read, share their poetic journey and any particular creative process they follow.

Cary is a wonderful poet, who I got to know through the Lee Marvin Readings, and after chatting to her a few times found out she was relieved to now know who the girl in the green coat is!

I heard Cary captivated the audience and the event was well attended, more so than when Cary read at Lee Marvin.  And I’ve no doubt Cary shared some poems from her debut collection Scraping the Night published by Ginninderra Press in their Picaro Poets series, and what a fine first collection it is.

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Cary’s poems explore pertinent themes – psychology, humour, loss, love – and in the title poem ‘Scraping the Night’ there is much to admire.  Essentially about a couple making out, ‘moonlight leers through the car window etching the valley of your cheek’ while ‘outside the stars open and shut like clams’; such vivid images.

So I’ll be keeping my eye out for who the next guest poet is, as it sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening.

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