Friday 16th August was National Poetry Day and a large and varied number of events were organised to celebrate it in Auckland and around the country.
The Divine Muses, the brainchild of Siobhan Harvey, was the event I went to. Siobhan (and friends) has been organising and running this event for the last ten years. I think I've managed to get to eight out of the ten events and every one has been an interesting and worthwhile evening of free poetry readings by established, emerging and new poets.
This year it was held in the Gus Fisher Gallery on Shortland Street and had an exceptional line up of stellar poets, including Riemke Ensing, Albert Wendt, C K Stead, Kiri Piahana Wong and Siobhan herself.
The theme of the evening was memory and loss and what struck me as each of the poets mentioned above read their work was the very deep integrity and clarity of their observations, thoughts and feelings written in language that sparked and sparkled, even when reflecting on grief and death.
It was a privilege to be able to listen to some of our most respected and well known poets, to hear the fire and ice still encapsulated in their words and to join with others to celebrate them and their work.
Well done Siobhan for another excellent evening. And I can't resist adding the last section of a poem by Riemke Ensing - After Matisse (for Jean Horsley, painter) - that I have on the wall above my desk that seems to sum up some of the feeling of event:
... We may imagine
but are swept away
by the dark. The canvas
is still white. The artist
for that fierce impulse.