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Tuesday saw the last Lee Marvin reading from this series in the Dark Horsey Bookshop, where Ken Bolton introduced Gay Lynch, Cath Kenneally and Louise Nicholas. And an entertaining evening it was.

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I first met Gay at Rachael Mead’s poetry launch of The Sixth Creek roughly this time last year, where she told me about Transnational Literature and encouraged me to submit. Gay writes prose, and shared a short story with us set in a country town told through the eyes of Cecilia, the central protagonist. Listening to Gay, with her dulcet tones and eloquent language was not unlike falling into chocolate – a certain smooth fluid texture leaving you wanting more. And so I have ordered a copy of Cleanskin published by Wakefield Press, Gay’s first novel.

Cath read poems about her recently departed dog, who was either the focus or hovered around the perimeter, and they were touching pieces any pet-lover could relate to, delivered in a poignant, compassionate way. Cath also read a piece inspired by Joni Mitchell, the haunting Canadian singer-songwriter, who I remember most from Love Actually where Emma Thompson’s character is fascinated with her music…I digress.

Louise began with poems about her mother who died with dementia a few years ago. These were brave, emotive pieces, both poignant and humorous, that blurred the boundary between mother and daughter. Louise’s performances never fail to entertain. She provides context, shares with feeling, makes connections, and it’s this raw real intimacy that I find so appealing – she leaves you feeling like you’re old friends. Louise also read a poem inspired by Sharon Olds, which only served to demonstrate her unique encompassing talent. Louise’s most recent collection Large from Garron Publishing is an entertaining read.

I asked Ken, host of Lee Marvin, how he selects his readers. He replied by recommendation usually, but added there’s nothing to stop me from recommending myself. So I did! And he invited me to read at a slot in September!! I am thrilled because these events are ‘a must see’ in the Adelaide poetry scene and to share the stage (i.e. desk and lamp) with some of Adelaide’s finest writers is quite an honor. No pressure

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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.

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