THE Majura Café Poets, who have been meeting for years in different cafés and hostelries around the north, were busy spreading the word about their own words last week.
On hand to launch their 2020 anthology “Toast To Poetry” was veteran versifier Laurie McDonald, who read from five of his favourite poems, then pulled no punches in suggesting that the anthology’s designer would have done the poetry a greater service by using the serif typeface, the one, like Times New Roman, with those squiggles around the letters that allow people to read the text more easily.
Edited by Clint Wright with a forward from Fiona McIlroy, the selection was themed “Infectious Offerings”, with a clear reference to the pandemic. Its subsections were “Covid Melancholy”, “Relief” and “Life Goes On”.
At worst, as in Judy Smith’s poem “Waving and Drowning”, it had been necessary to “Wave hello/ to Easter in seclusion/ end of driveway/ dawn service/ to home base to versions, all to avoid the inundation/ of the viral wave/ threatening to drown us all”.
But then again, in another “Wave” poem, Wright advises, “just ride the tide and sideways zoom/ across wave’s face”.
The poets, who have been meeting regularly since 2009 in the shadow of Mount Majura, were almost thwarted during the enforced lockdown, which meant restrictions on cafés and bars and “papercup purgatory”, but they managed to keep a virtual virus-free poetry exchange going with weekly email prompts.
Since lockdown ended, some of the group have started meeting again at Gang Gang Café, the Dickson Tradies and the Old Canberra Inn.
While the anthology reflects the isolation and challenges of 2020, it suggests that good can come out of it. McIlroy writes, “Take our poetry in your hands/ savour the unique local flavours/ soak up the creative juices/ of our minds/ from this climactic year”.
“Toast To Poetry” can be purchased at My Rainbow-Dreams café in Dickson, or at Watson post office. Alternatively, text 0427 088149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can be trusted?
In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.
If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.
Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep citynews.com.au strong and free.
Ian Meikle, editor