May 12th 2018
On a cold and wet Saturday morning, fellow poet Emma Burgess-Gilchrist joined me on a drive to Woodend for our first Chamber Poets’ event. Cate Kennedy, an accomplished writer and poet who also teaches the writing craft, was the guest judge and poet. I love Cate’s work and was looking forward to an afternoon of poetry.
Myron Lysenko is the convener of the Chamber Poets, who aren’t a group, Myron stresses, but a gathering of poets who come together for these poetry events. Myron MCd and local band, Black Forest Smoke opened the afternoon.
We were lucky enough for the rain to hold off until we were inside the hall. Sitting close to one of the heaters, we introduced ourselves to people closest to us. Some we learnt had driven from Melbourne and even further away.
We enjoyed a relaxed afternoon filled with a lovely, eclectic mix of poetry from a group of talented poets, as well as a songwriter, a saxophonist (with a nod to Glenn Miller) and Jade Pisani and children singing a song about prep school.
Em registered in the open mic section and recited her Blue Balloon without any help from notes or saved docs on her mobile, which awed the audience. This was my first poetry event so I didn’t read but will consider reading next time.
My highlights from the first readings:
Maja Chodorowski, Ian Gostelow, Em Burgess-Gilchrist.
It was great to hear some haiku poets reading as well.
Following the open mic and reluctant poetry sections, guest reader and poetry judge Cate Kennedy delighted us with a selection of poems from her 2011 collection, The Taste of River Water.
Listening to her poems was the highlight of the day. A self-confessed fan of Cate’s work, my eyes were bright with unshed tears throughout most of her reading and I wasn’t the only one. Such simplicity; the seemingly effortless writing flowing through direct, everyday language was both a joy and an inspirational lesson.
The event wrapped up at 4pm when the RSL opened the bar. We couldn’t stay to enjoy a drink and chat but both Em and I agreed that we would be back for the next event.
Thank you everyone for a lovely day.
Woodend is a pretty regional Victorian town, 1 hour north of Melbourne and 1 hour south of Bendigo. Established in 1862 on the route to the Central Victorian Goldfields, it was bypassed by the Calder Freeway upgrade. However, a short drive off the freeway and you’re in a charming town full Victorian cottages, other fine buildings and glorious tree-lined roads.
We arrived grabbed a quick lunch at Bourkies Bakehouse. The staff are friendly and I recommend the lamb and veg pie.
Myron Lysenko, organises the events. You can follow them on their FB page: Chamber Poets