Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Night The Lights Went Out In George Street

I received in the mail recently, the poetry collection, ‘Underlife’ by January O’Neill by way of an overseas book exchange. (Her book for mine; my book for her’s). I read it on my recent trip away, and found it to be a warm companion. January’s voice is that of a person who engages fully with life. Her tenacity, bravery, sense of humour and of love, all come through strongly in this accomplished first collection.

The other book that also recently arrived in the mail was Leonie Wise’s ‘All of a Sudden’. A charming book full of beauty in both the words and the pictures it contains. Leonie’s sensitive nature shines through every page in this lovely book. It’s a little gem.


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Last night for Earth Hour, Dunedin held a public event in the Octagon. The Octagon is Dunedin’s 8-sided city ‘square’ that divides George Street from Princes Street, and has a statue of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns as one of its focal points.

At 8.30 the lights were turned off and entertainment was provided by musical bands, drummers and fire-eaters. There was also poetry by poets, Sue Wootton, David Karena Holmes and yours truly. As it turned out, us poets had to swiftly negotiate for microphone time, as original plans were for us to read without amplification behind Robbie Burns (and of course, in the dark).


It was decided we would read one poem each in between the bands. I read last. By that time, people had been well and truly hyped up by the fire-dancing displays and a Pacific Island Drums band, and weren’t really in the right frame of mind to listen to poetry.




However, I saw it as a bit of a challenge and armed with the aid of a powerful sound system, tried to read above - or through - the general babble and somehow force the poetry through. Maybe I partly succeeded. It was fun trying. (I decided that I like being a disembodied voice in the dark; I feel very courageous when no-one can see me).

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(All photos of the 'Earth Hour Event', were taken by photographer Kate Cooke).

7 comments:

rel said...

Kay,
Whether most or any heard matters but a little. To be part of such a community gathering is fulfilling.
A disembodied voice
in the dark...........

a beginning?
rel

leonie.wise said...

so glad that the book arrived okay and that you enjoyed it!

i am enjoying reading your poetry right now too :)

thanks for writing about January's book - i'm off to hunt out a copy

lmrb said...

The lights were on when the town planners chose the site for Robert Louis' statue – his back is to the Anglican Cathedral and he is facing the pub(s). My C of E Mother told me this story, and laughed while telling me. Undoubtedly, the planners were inspired by the Wedderburn, Pig Route, etc naming convention (thank you for your reminder post). Poetry and drumming – Robert Louis would be chuffed.

lmrb said...

Oops, Robert Louis? I was doing something very boring when I went blog visiting...oh dear! I can see my mother's smiles and shaking of head now.

Carole said...

I love the idea of a disembodied voice. Dunedin sounds like a cultural hot spot.

Claire Beynon said...

Hi Kay - I love that you've been doing book exchanges... and readings,,, this Octagon event sounded like lots of fun, but not easy for a poet trying make his/her voice heard over the bands and drummers! I can relate to your comment 'I feel courageous when no one can see me'! Ditto. xx

Kay McKenzie Cooke. said...

rel - All true!

Leonie - Glad you are enjoying my poetry too!

lmrb - I'm sure Robbie won't mind your slip of the tongue!

Carole - Dunedin is known for its culture (being a university city helps).

Claire - Thanks. Yes it's easy to be brave in the dark sometimes!

Harbour

Harbour
'how this all harbours light'