Mr Gums and I spent last weekend in the lovely historic town of Beechworth staying with two other couples in the gorgeous 1890s Indigo Cottage (owned by one of the couples). Quite coincidentally, we discovered that this weekend was Beechworth’s WRAP Festival. That’s Writers, Readers and Poets, an annual event that has been sponsored by the Beechworth Arts Council since 2011.
Of course, some of us wanted to check it out. I didn’t manage to get to sessions with Tony Birch, author of the Miles Franklin short-listed novel Blood. However, Eric, of Canberra Jazz blog, and I did get along to Poetry at the Post Office where, under umbrellas protecting us from the welcome drizzle, we heard several, mostly local poets read from their work.
They were a varied bunch, some more experienced readers than others, but they all gave us something to think about, from Geoff Galbraith’s political pleas to Lisa Ride’s satires on modern living, from Jean Memery’s tribute to janitors to Amy Brown’s moving poem in the voice of the infant saint Rumwold from her epic poem, The odour of sanctity (published by New Zealand’s Victoria University Press). The odour of sanctity sounds intriguing. She explores “six candidates for sainthood” from the 300s to the 1990s. What a fascinating topic! Anyhow, the session was relaxed, nicely em-ceed by Estelle Paterson, and showed what a local Arts Council can do to support and encourage literature in country towns.
Eric, who juggled note-taking in the rain better than I, has written up the event in more detail on his blog – with photos. Do check it out. Thanks Eric for doing the write up and for standing in the rain with me!