Well, the PERVERSE VERSE reading yesterday (7 Feb) went well. It seemed like a full house at the Writers' Centre, albeit very hot. But most people stayed till the end, 2pm until almost 5pm with just the one break. That's pretty dedicated. In the end there were 12 poets: Tricia Dearborn, Gary Dunne, Tim Denoon, Dash Grey, Jill Jones, Kerry Leves, Kerrie McGrath, Jenni Nixon, Andy Quan, John Rule, Neale Stewart and Helena Wong. The Feminist Bookshop set up a small book stall which seemed to do some business. Well, I sold a book or two.
A great variety of readings and poetries but all were well worth listening to, otherwise folks wouldn't have stayed, they'd have headed for the nearest cool place. 'Community' poetry readings have the potential to be average or less than (I'm being kind), but this was tops. Some poets were more performance focused or flamboyant, could we say? I had to go last. I was supposed to have 'nerves of steel' and be able to wait until the end. I don't think so! But we got there.
I often get myself in a tangle when I contemplate such 'branded' readings (remember, it was an official New Mardi Gras event). I don't want to be caught up in the identity bind. I write because I write, but to say that sometimes seems evasive, unsatisfactory. My writing is part of my life and to pretend it has nothing to do with my history and what I do every day is just silly as well as a kind of bad faith. In introducing the event, Gail emphasised its 'queer' nature. There's a lot of history there regarding Sydney's feminist, lesbian gay bi transgender communities (Sydney loves a stoush, and then gets over it), and there's absolutely nothing new in queer. But, recently, I've got to like the idea when it comes to how I write, taking it through and beyond questions of sexuality. Poetry is queer.
I wish I had more time and head space. I've over-committed myself as the moment and am trying to do the usual juggling act but watch this space. I will try and develop this more over the coming ... weeks? months?
Off to Perth early this week.