Judith Beveridge comments on the launch of ‘A Patch of Sun’

A section of the crowd at the launch of the A Patch of Sun anthology

We know that often in times of need we reach for poetry – it seems that the music of poetry helps to mark an occasion – to acknowledge its importance, even help set it apart. Poetry powerfully explores and addresses deep questions about experience and the human spirit. Because poetry is so intimately connected with the breath, it can act as an interpreting spirit, something which will help move, uplift and carry lived experience into rhythms and tones which allow both writer and reader to feel as if they are in communion and intense dialogue with the world around them. The poet gives us a language for our experiences that is perhaps more intense, more concrete and imagistic, and more musical than any other utterance or articulation about the human condition. Poetry is a great tool through which human relations can be called to account, as well as exalted.

In the past, poetry was more community-centred. It functioned to draw people together. Poetry was a vehicle for transmitting the stories, beliefs and values of a people. While the communal function of poetry may have diminished in modern times, poetry has never lost its role, which Wallace Stevens has described as, ‘a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right’.

Poetry uses language as a form of revelation, in a poem language is substance, a means of generating realities and of extending and shaping consciousness.” The poem quickens our sense of language to the point where we participate most fully in meaning-making. The poetic imagination makes the world sensible, both literally and figuratively.

Poetry does not necessarily offer solutions. A great deal of poetry does not directly engage with political issues, but what it does deal with is inwardness, or the inner life. And this ability of poetry to go inwards and to touch the psyche both at an individual and a communal level is one of poetry’s most potent and insistent forces.

I’d like to thank Philip Porter for his wonderful contribution to poetry, especially at the communal level, through the readings that he has organized over the years here at Robinos and previously at Kalay’s Kitchen. Because of Philip, a strong and committed group has come into existence to share and to promote poetry – Philip’s sense and vision of poetry as a communal activity has given us something worthwhile and extremely valuable. And now it has resulted in this delightful anthology which is a tribute to all the poets who have read and shared their love of poetry over the past few years. Both Philip and Luke have produced a book to be treasured – and I’d like to thank them for their efforts and commitment in bringing this anthology and event together – and to acknowledge Philip for his enormous generosity and tireless work in making this wonderful venture of the monthly readings happen. 

 – Judith Beveridge

Judith Beveridge is the author of The Domesticity of Giraffes, Accidental Grace, Wolf Notes and Storm and Honey all of which have won major prizes. Her latest collection, Devadatta’s Poems, was published by Giramondo Publishing in 2014 and Hook and Eye, a selected of her poems, was published by Brazilier Publishers in the USA. Judith currently teaches poetry writing at postgraduate level at the University of Sydney.

A Patch of Sun is available from Gleebooks  http://www.gleebooks.com.au/CatalogueRetrieve.aspx?ProductID=10598434&A=SearchResult&SearchID=78468407&ObjectID=10598434&ObjectType=27 or by emailing Philip Porter philippi@optusnet.com.au

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