What happens when you set up in a popular cafe, with books of poetry scattered around and a little sign that says 'Cafe Poet'?
Wonderful things. Like catching a man's keen glance at the books as he passed with his wife. "Do you like poetry?" Sue Fielding asked. He soon let her know how much by reciting in Welsh many stanzas from the work of Dafydd ap Gwilym – "the Shakespeare of Wales".
On another occasion residents of Flynn Lodge, an aged care home, had been for a walk in the cafe gardens with their carer. Sue asked if they'd like to hear a poem. "Yes, yes," they said. She chose "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Benitta Robertson (left) shares a poem with Cafe Poet Sue Fielding at the Bean Tree cafe in the Olive Pink Botanic Garden.
Three friends – two visual artists, one poet – open themselves to the country around them and to one another. What happens there, like life, is partly elusive, but also partly traced in the work on show at Watch This Space, under the title Beyond Conversation.
Through the work, they take us into the country with them.
Here are Pamela Lofts’ small windows (in oil pastel) onto, mostly, great big spaces, evoking their grand rhythms, their many moods under changing skies, the multiplicity of form and colour that gives the lie to the un-nuanced branding of this place as the Red Centre or the Outback, or even those friendlier common namings – the desert, the bush.
Here are Jenny Taylor’s penetrating studies (in oil on board) that build an architecture between land and sky, where sky and cloud give shape to the land beneath, where hills lose their mass and hang like veils one in front of the other, receding into light-filled space, where smoke fills the air and makes us see another country – poignant in its dimness like a remembered place (or perhaps a remembered way of seeing a place).
And here are Sue Fielding’s affecting poems (as wall texts and in a beautifully produced chapbook). While Lofts and Taylor are well-known, for most this is a first encounter with Fielding as poet. She finds with seeming ease the word-pictures that situate us on a quartz hill, on the edge of a chasm, in a car driving back in from the west to town.
Pictured, top: Undoolya, looking west by Jenny Taylor. • Above right, Oil pastel by Pamela Lofts.
This is a version of the talk by KIERAN FINNANE given at the show's opening on March 30.