I’ve had a long held dream to promote some means for teachers to get hold of contemporary Australian poetry, for classroom use, and this week I learned that the Australian Poetry Library was attempting to do just that.
Funded by the Australian Copyright Agency, there’s none of my poetry there, but there is a pretty good range of poets with extensive range of poems: 1600 from Les Murray, over 700 from Peter Porter, nearly 500 p oems from Diane Fahey. Downloading is a little clunky (PDF by PayPal) and maybe they might have been better going for a broader spread of poets (they’ve closed the site to new poems I see) and spent a little more time on better searching, but it’s a pretty impressive start.
I was pleased this week to be able to get to the launch of Diane Fahey’s new and selected poems, The Wing Collection, published by Puncher and Wattmann at the venerable Collected Works Bookshop.
I’ve known Diane for a long time (I met her originally at residency in Varuna in the 1980s) and have admired her poetry, especially her poems of place and the natural world. And, with nine collections already out, a selected poems was about due.
It’s a nice looking book, and it was good to see some of her best poems all together in one place. She read some of them, including a series from the Hummingbird series, which I enjoyed.
Below: Diane, reading from the new collection at the launch.
Went along tonight to the launch of Diane Fahey’s latest book, The Mystery of Rosa Morland, a book of crime fiction/poetry or poem/novella published by Clouds of Magellan.
I’ve admired Diane’s work for a long time and we met a long time ago, when we both had residencies at Varuna near Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Tonight, Diane read from various sections of the book which is set on New Year’s Eve in 1900 on a train travelling from London to Edinburgh. Part Agatha Christie, part ‘fin de siecle fantasy’, I can’t wait to read it.
Attended the launch of two new Five Island Press poetry publications yesterday: Robyn Rowlands’ ‘Fiery Waters’ and Diane Fahey’s ‘The Sixth Swan’ and enjoyed hearing two very different poets reading from their work, launched by Jennifer Harrison.
Robyn had just returned from Ireland and said she was bit jetlagged, but she didn’t sound. She talked about how the book moved from the carnal to the spiritual, with some powerful stuff in between. There are sexual poems, poems of breast cancer, activist poems and poems of spirituality and peace. Some beautiful personal sounding lyrical poems.
I met Diane a few years ago at Varuna and have always enjoyed her writing, with its calm meditative absolutely powerful insights into fairy tales, insects, Jungian stereotypes and feminism. And funny too, and smart and wryly observed. She read from her new book which is a poetic revisiting of some of the Grimm fairy tales and they were powerful self-contained narratives. This just might be my poetry book of the year!
Varuna – The Writers House