The online Australian Poetry Library, supported by Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and hosted by Sydney University, was launched on 25 May.
Last night, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales joined Australian poets, educators, policy makers and supporters of the literary community to celebrate the launch of the Australian Poetry Library website.
The soiree event, held at Government House, was a night to honour and pay tribute to many of Australia’s poets, both past and present and was enjoyed by all who braved the wild and woolly weather in Sydney.
Poetry has had such an impact on shaping Australia’s identity with the sharing of uniquely Australian stories over the years and more than 20 of the poets featured on the website were in attendance last night to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Government House staff.
Her Excellency, Marie Bashir AC, CVO began the formal proceedings of the evening with the official launch and shared tributes to our poets, reminding all in attendance of the importance of continuing to record and share our unique stories for future generations.
Brian Johns AO, Chair of the Cultural Fund Committee also made some impassioned comments about the value of supporting our creators through the Australian Poetry Library website saying, ‘This is an imaginative way of supporting our poets, and linking their work to the educational sector to the benefit of all’.
Dr Kate Lilley, daughter of well-known poet, Dorothy Hewitt read one of her mother’s most well-loved poems, This Version of Love and Meredith McKinney, daughter of Judith Wright read Eve to Her Daughters, one of her personal favourites from her mother’s collection.
John Tranter, the originator of this concept and one of the driving forces behind this project delivered a rousing reading from one of his great friends, John Forbes entitled Monkey’s Pride. Many were amused to discover last night this poem was actually named after a horse on which he won a few dollars that day!
In addition, Elizabeth Webby who is Professor Emeritus of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney, but also performed the role of chief investigator and project manager of the Australian Poetry Library said, ‘It provides a wonderful opportunity for Australians to discover the richness of Australian poetry from some of the first poems created here by Charles Harpur and others, to those by contemporary poets such as Judith Beveridge and Les Murray’.
Photography by Nick Cubbin, Blackbox Photos.