First event of the year and it happens to be in my childhood hometown Camperdown (VIC) featuring two other poets who are also mad for this landscape that I love. What a luxury, poetry of the volcanic plains supported by the brilliant violinist Bert Pratt. The man is a genius with a heart as big as Mt Leura. I’ve been reading bits and pieces from Graeme Kinross-Smith for years but Barry Breen is the man who got me onto poetry. He taught me at school for the last few years. I still hear his voice resonating in my head with the poetry of Yeats and Owen and Eliot. He opened a world to me. I knew this reading would be the last my mother would attend. She who has been my best groupie, my most critical of proof-readers and faithful of readers sparkled on this day. I will be grateful to her forever.
All the years the children were little our shelves filled with picture book, as did the table, bedsides, extra cupboards. I was mad for picture books and used any occasion to indulge my passion by gifting one of my children with a book. This Christmas my 26 year old gifted me with Oliver Jeffers The Day The Crayons Quit. I have read it and read it and taken delight in the surprise and colour and the delight of it.
More than this though I took it as affirmation for the direction my writing was taking. After years of focussing on poetry and an occasional essay, review or speech, I am re-embracing the picture book. That most eloquent of forms with its tight use of words and its capacity for shifting the world just a little bit being given to me by my youngest child.