Got a good dose of poetry at the double book launch at La Mama yesterday of two new Five Islands Press Books. First, Susan Kruss’s new collection ‘The Meaning of Wood’ which was launched by Philip Salom and then the launch of Garth Madsen’s ‘Portraits of Rust’ by Ian McBryde.
It was a good launch; Philip used to be Susan’s mentor through a mentor program so he knew her work very well and spoke strongly for it. He read some of the work and then Susan read some poems; I liked the ones about her husband’s heart attack most.
Then Ian McBryde spoke about Garth’s work and commented on just how important it is to see the work in total, not just in individual poems. He didn’t read any complete poems, but quoted from indidivual lines and images. Then Garth read some of his work, in his usual convincing and unique style. He read them well too, and though I’ve heard some of these poems before, they still sound good.
It was nice to catch up with some other Melbourne poets too. Besides Ron Pretty from Five Islands, there was also Jordie Albiston, John West, Alex Skovron, Lauren Williams, Robyn Rowlands as well as plenty of red wine and cheese. It was good to be in a group again where poetry is central, and not peripheral, and like always, seemed to re-fuel me somehow.