I’m not sure why this event was called “Poetry to Pages“… It should have been called “Poetry to Ears, Heart-Strings and Tear Ducts”, cuz that’s where it was going.
Whatever it was called, last night at Readings in Carlton, some lovely poetry reading went down.
The readers in question: Jordie Albiston, Josephine Rowe and Jennifer Harrison.
All of these ladies are quite accomplished Melbourne poets, but up until last night I’d only heard Josephine Rowe’s poetry.
Jordie Albiston read five sonnets from her The Sonnet According To ‘M’. Her poetry on a page is a lovely thing, and she herself has identified many of her “works as works for the voice”. However, listening to Jordie’s reading, I had to wonder if perhaps they were a little too much for the voice? Her poems are lovely-sounding and rhythmic, but Jordie’s performance of her pieces focussed so heavily on rhythm that I was unable to hear any words after a while, and only rhythm. Whether this is what Jordie intends is a question I’d love answered.
Josephine Rowe shared some short pieces of prose from her forthcoming novel, which feels a little like verse but I imagine will work well as an extended piece. She also shared some of her “love poems”, which she told the audience she’s trying to steer clear of lately… I wish she wouldn’t though; she does them so well! Josephine uses simple language in highly condensed, precise and confessional type pieces. It’s tight. Really tight. And she reads magnificently – it feels like she’s telling secrets meant only for your ears.
Last up was Jennifer Harrison. This lady has an absolutely impeccable ear for language. Usually I don’t like writing that talks about the land and connecting with it. I can appreciate a connection with the Earth, but so much of the writing on this subject is dry and trope-y. Jennifer Harrison does it masterfully though. She’s written about Uluru, about New Zealand, about being with nature and the outback and becoming one with it. And she’s done it in a really immediate way that puts you there. I’d never realised the lyrical possibilities of Maori words until last night. Jennifer’s poems also look at motherhood; another kind of ancient and essential connection, and she does this lyrically but not in an overly-flowery way.
Readings managed to bring together a really fantastic lineup of poets last night. This “Poetry to Pages” event will be happening on the second Monday of every month.