Today’s adventure/artist date was going to the Dan O’Connell weekly poetry reading session. I have only ever been once before, some time ago, and I haven’t made it back since. True Saturday afternoons are often filled with other social engagements but really I was just wussing out. I asked my friend Jonathan to come with me, he lives just around the corner, because I knew if I was meeting someone there my sense of meeting social obligations would stop me from wussing out again. So I rode my bike over there, it is about a 50 min ride from my house which is pretty decent; I arrived early, ordered a chicken parma and sat myself down.
The open mike section has some stuff I really liked and some stuff I didn’t, as you might expect in addition some of the readers spoke very softly, some didn’t read as expressively or eloquently as others. But everyone was applauded with genuine, friendly, appreciative applause. One woman read for the first time and the MC was sure to make her feel very welcome. The organisers try to make it feel like you’re reading to friends rather than an audience and I think they achieve that very well. I hope that one day I will have something I am willing to read there.
The featured poet was Bronwyn Lovell; a beautiful poet originally from Sydney, but who made the (wise) decision to relocate to Melbourne in 2009. Her work is very rich, full of gorgeous imagery and from what I heard from her very soft and gentle on the ear. She read a lot of stuff about her family and it struck me just how different her family life was to mine. Jonathan and I joked that if we wrote anything with the same subject matter the outcome would be markedly different.
I think it’s very easy to pass judgement on what you like and don’t like about another person’s work but to really appreciate their own unique contribution to the world of art is something else entirely. I did my best to listen today with an open mind and an open heart; ready to be touched by something I didn’t expect. I didn’t come across much that really spoke to me, but I know that that’s ok. Art will never be loved by everyone and if it is can it really be called art? Taste and preference are so varied from each human to the next that one can never be universally appealing. This is a lesson I need to learn in regards to my own work; not everyone will like it, and that’s ok.
Some of the poems I felt like I didn’t ‘get it’ – I tried very hard not to pigeonhole these works in with ‘things I don’t like’, I feel like if you know the author, if you understand their journey better, you can appreciate their work all the more.
After the readings I went on a bit of an adventure around Carlton with the camera; the Melbourne General Cemetery is close by and the area is quite historic and beautiful. I will be posting the photos in the next update.