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EA Gleeson

The joy of launching a book

By | Poetry | No Comments

I am thinking of how much I love launching books. The truth is, I love going to book launches, other peoples’ …hearing the story behind the book, discovering some of the significant people and then a new book with all its promise and possibilities.

I have just launched my third book, Small Acts of Purpose and have loved each of the launches it has had. There have been three launches in Victoria. Each of the three outstanding launchers has taken a completely different approach; Anne M Carson in Melbourne, Helen Durant in Terang and last week, Mary Kerr in Port Fairy. Each was the perfect choice, for the venue, the audience and me. I relish the way each highlighted different poems, different appreciations of the book and in each case, I treasure their creative friendships.

And so now my third book of poetry is making its way in the world. This year I will take Small Acts of Purpose further afield, first to Canberra, then Estonia and onto Belfast where the first section is set.

Of course I hope they like it but in the meantime, I’ll relish the comments that have come in by text and phone call and the occasional card. I am glad the readers are finding something in it for themselves, which I think highlights the universal power of the humanity we share which is far more important than the location of particular poems.

It has taken me four years to complete each of my three poetry books, The next one is due in 2020. Now that I am writing more, perhaps it will be finished sooner and where will I be then. Will I be?  A question for the third section in my book on mortality. Every thing changes.

Launching in Port Fairy

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What better way to spend the first weekend of the New Year, than, after a a leisurely day of lunching or swimming, coming along to our shared book launch at 4.00pm.

Ray Liversidge and I are launching our new books on Saturday at Blarney Books in Port Fairy. We’re hoping you’ll come along at 4.00 so there’s time to say hello and share a drink before the launches.   I’m also hoping to catch up with heaps of relations and friends. Don’t worry if poetry is not you thing, the wine, courtesy of Louise North Wine Merchant, will be excellent.

Ray’s book, stems from a travelling discovery some years ago at Oradour-sur-Glane, a French massacre site, and is sure to appeal to those of you with a respect and empathy for WW11 victims. Many of the  poems in my book, Small Acts of Purpose also begin from a moment of intrigue. The book begins with a section on Belfast, a city I love and ends with a blessing for my daughter-in-law.  In between are poems for those I admire and some who have died, a few funny ones and some celebrations of the beauty around us.

So come along and help us celebrate.

Saturday 6th January

4.00 for 4.30 Launch

Blarney Books, Port Fairy

Poetry by Committee

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There’s a lot to love about the communal aspects of doing Christmas in good company, which is how I feel about doing poetry in good company. The dearth of cricket bats did not prevent the family cricket match from being a main feature of the day.

I am a big fan of workshops that work and the honesty of critical friends. But this Christmas I discovered the value of a family workshopping a poem. The particular poem was Autumn in Tartu which I hope will eventually become part of my Estonian Collection. I was inspired by the photo essays of the Estonian photographer, Tonu Runnel. What a talent, but he captured in image what I had tried for with words but it was my adult children whose eyes and ears were working overtime on this poem. I know it’s better for their input. It interested me how each saw such different aspects in the poem. There wasn’t a lot of agreement in the editing process, in fact there was a lot more volume than agreement.

Next time I visit Estonia it will be springtime, hardly suitable for autumnal research. I guess I can write another poem…or I could take another trip.

Creativity in Camperdown

By | Inspiration, Poetry, World I love, Writing | No Comments

I first met Robyn Emerson at a dinner at the Snout in the Trough. I think we talked a lot. Such a joy to discover someone so into living an artistic life so fully. It was months later when I had the chance to attend the series of creativity workshops she was offering. So over a month a small group of us participated in a range of artistic activities, reading, meditation and most importantly sharing our own creative ideas. The most valuable thing of all for me (and I know others felt this too) were the other group members, some of whom were known to each other professionally, others not at all, but each of us driven by that insistent creative force. There are many things I loved about launching ‘Small Acts of Purpose’, but having that group of now friends there, as well as members of previous Creativity workshops was one of the highlights. There is so much of the creative act including the self doubt that occurs in solitude that makes the public response to the final creation so valuable to the artist. The Corangamite creative community is one of the most supportive and enabling I have encountered in all my years. May we treasure that.

Nellie Plummer~ Terang cellist

By | Inspiration, Music | No Comments

Nellie Plummer’s cello playing is a highlight of funerals, book launches and some Sunday artistic events. The cello is one of my favourite instruments, so to discover that one of our employees is a fine cellist was a true joy. Nellie’s performances are always pleasurable but her willingness to play at my launch recently was a true highlight. Have Loure and Ave Maria ever been played so poignantly?

Launching Small Acts of Purpose

By | Poetry | No Comments

It’s a week till my newest poetry collection goes out into the world. My daughter Siobhan will start proceedings after Kris’s welcome and then Anne M Carson will send it on its way. I’ll have something to say and I’ll read you some poems.

The venue is Collected Works. I think about all the places I’ve travelled from to end up there. It’s a poetic home for me and, hundred of others.

There’s been a bit of on-line discussion lately about the value of launches. Economic value is not as important to me (luckily 😉 as the gathering of friends families and others interested. I’ve worked on this creation for four years. I’m happy to celebrate its arrival and I’d love it if lots joined with me in the celebration.

Small Acts of Purpose

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A poetry book seems to take about four years to create….well that’s how long it takes me. First there’s the years of creating poems. Then the leap of faith when one compiles a manuscript and sends it off. I learnt this year what a thrill that acceptance email was. Though I had published two books previously, had had several shortlisted in international competitions and had workshopped most of the poems with critical peers, I think we are always seeing the flaws.

But acceptance came and after the months of editing and re-editing, the next email has come. The manuscript is ‘in press’.

And now I am living in that brief interlude when what’s done is done but the work of putting it before the world has not quite begun.

The Tenderness of Carrots

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And you ask me from where do I get my ideas? I’ll tell you. I planted these carrots with my sister. We watered and tended them throughout the summer. A few weeks ago I wanted some for a special dinner, so out I went to harvest. As always I pulled gently and out came this pair, one wrapped around the other so tenderly I thought I might cry, or perhaps, place it in a poem.

Reading with Robyn Rowland ~ Poetry that matters

By | Poetry | No Comments

I really like poetry to be interesting. Audibly, it has to be beautiful or striking, but if I can listen to poetry that is thought provoking or challenging or tells a good story, I am in. That’s why I was particularly pleased to read with Robyn Rowland at the first 2017 event at Poeticas.

What a project the creation of This Intimate War Gallipoli/Çanakkale 1915 has been. But what an important project.  I found the poems and the perspective moving.

My travels last year initiated me into an understanding of the impact of war in eastern Europe. For most of my life I’ve been reading or hearing of WW1 & 11 from the perspective of the allies. I hope my poem Post War Recovery ~ Warsaw-Warracknabeal conveys something of what I’ve learnt.

Artist’s Dates

By | Inspiration, Poetry | No Comments

IMG_0772I’ve been  a fan of the Artists’ Date long before I read anything by Julia Cameron. Whether I head to a gallery or a beach for an hour or wander up into Central Victoria or along the coast for a day, I feel it invigorating my soul. An added dimension is when I share the day with a creative friend. Catherine Brennan and I  have been sharing our creative passions for 30 years, so I was particularly pleased when she opened a second Salt & Pepper Gallery just outside Jan Juc.  It’s a wonderful gallery, first of all because it’s a working gallery, secondly because Catherine is such a talented, passionate artist and thirdly cause she is such a genuine and beautiful person.

IMG_0945Catherine has embraced her seaside lifestyle to create beautiful work from the oceanic world where she now lives. I’m happy to come home from a day urgently wanting my pen to be working as well as her paintbrush.  Occasionally we come home with something more tangible. Her scarves brighten my winters. her cycle of life sculpture adds harmony and beauty to our funeral home. One of her paintings graces my hallway. It’s bright and vibrant, full of movement and colour. Every day I love it.

All images: Catherine M Brennan Salt & Pepper Gallery