Northern poets are exercising their vocals chords and stocking up on pens in preparation for the Tasmanian Poetry Festival this weekend, October 5 – 7.
The festival will feature workshops on Friday from renowned poets Nicola Easthope and Gabrielle Journey Jones at the Launceston Library, before longtime event Words on Water.
Words on Water involves cruising down the Tamar River as the sun sets, listening to live readings of the poetry of Nicola Easthope and Marilyn Arnold.
Slamduggery on Friday night, and all events on Saturday and Sunday, will be staged at St Ailbe’s Hall. Highlights include the Launceston Poetry Cup at 7.30pm Saturday, open to all to enter, and all guest poets reading highlights of their work on Sunday from 1pm – 4.30pm, also to be broadcast on City Park Radio. There will also be soup, a bar, and a bookstall.
Festival director Cameron Hindrum said Launceston has long punched above its weight when it comes to nurturing a vibrant poetry scene.
“The festival has been held every year in Launceston since 1985, and every year it continues to take the pulse of contemporary poetry in this country – and I’m pleased to report that the art form is alive and thriving,” he said.
“This festival celebrates poetry, and I don’t think there’s many festivals nowadays that celebrate only poetry. We also focus on the work, so we don’t have any panels or talks or anything like that, it’s just poets sharing their work.
“We always try to have a diverse range of poets, in terms of age, gender, experience, cultural background, and so on. There’s all different voices and different styles in the mix and it makes for a really interesting weekend of verse.”
Local poet Marilyn Arnold said she had been attending the festival since 1985, and still gets excited every year.
“We seem to be getting more and more variety – young people, older people, slam poets, traditional – which is great,” she said.
Ms Arnold said those interested in poetry were also always welcome to the monthly open mic poetry night she organises, Poetry Peddlers, and to monthly poetry slam Slamduggery.
Tickets and program information at www.taspoetryfest.org.
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