The Power, Politics and Passion of Poets
John Foulcher, Melinda Smith & Lesley Lebkowicz moderated by Geoff Page
At the moment, there are arguably at least fifty poets living in Canberra who publish nationally and, occasionally, internationally. This reading will feature just three of these poets, all addressing the festival’s theme of Power, Passion and Politics. Poetry has always had the ability to remind us of the depths (and/or the heights) of all three. Though these poets are rarely explicitly “political” in their work, Lesley Lebkowicz, Melinda Smith and John Foulcher have all published poems which illuminate and remind us what these three alliterating phenomena can do to us.
John Foulcher has written 11 books of poetry, most recently 101 Poems a selection from his previous books, and A Casual Penance. His work has appeared in Australian magazines and anthologies for over 30 years and has been set for study in Australian schools. In 2010-11 he was the Literature Board of the Australia Council’s resident at the Keesing Studio in Paris. He lives in the national capital, Canberra.
Melinda Smith is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Goodbye, Cruel. She won the 2014 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call. Her work has been widely anthologised and translated into multiple languages and she has appeared at Sydney Writer's Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, The National Folk Festival, Voci Lontane Voci Sorelle Festival in Florence and has recently toured Japan with an international group of English language poets. She is based in the ACT and is a former poetry editor of The Canberra Times.
Lesley Lebkowicz has been publishing poetry and prose, both critical and creative, since the early 80s. She reviewed literary fiction for The Canberra Times for several years and won the ACT Reviewer’s Award. Her short fiction was collected in Washing My Mother’s Hair. Together with two Pali scholars (Pali is the language of the original Buddhist texts), she translated the oldest Buddhist verse cycle. Her poetry has been published widely and won many awards. Her last book, The Petrov Poems, won a Canberra Critics’ Circle award, was shortlisted for the 2014 ACT Book of the Year and won the 2014 ACT Writing and Publishing Award (Poetry). She was recently featured in ABR’s States of Poetry for the ACT.
Geoff Page is based in Canberra and has published twenty-three collections of poetry as well as two novels and five verse novels. His recent books include 1953, Improving the News, New Selected Poems, Aficionado: A Jazz Memoir, Gods and Uncles, Hard Horizons and PLEVNA: A Verse Biography. He also edited The Best Australian Poems 2014 and The Best Australian Poems 2015.