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2022 – so far

Towards the end of 2021 and the early weeks of 2022, we were slammed by the Omicron variant as it spread rapidly through our community. Many of us spent periods of time in quarantine as close contacts, or sick ourselves. Slowly the wave subsided, and we began once more to tentatively engage with the world outside our homes.

On the 12th of March I got to attend the launch at the State Library of NSW of a Romanian Australian anthology of contemporary prose and poetry, Stay A While, edited by Mihaela Cristescu and Sue Crawford. It was such an exciting and joyous occasion. Music, readings in Romanian (such a beautiful language) and English and just the pure pleasure of getting together to celebrate poetry and story. I was thrilled to have my poem ‘Last Breath’ republished in the anthology.

Mounted ARI’s ‘Dissonance through poetry and art’ exhibition opened on the 19th of March, also with live readings by the poets and our guest reader, Lukas Radovich. Once again, it was just a engaging and enriching experience of poetry and art. A week later we ran a community engagement poetry workshop, Recycle, Remix, Reimagine: Experimentation with Form, as part of our Sundays @Mounted program, and had a productive afternoon composing blackout, erasure and remix poetry, even managing to draft some ekphrastic poems generated by the diverse array of art in the gallery.

Several times a year, the fabulous Rosey Ravelston’s Bookshop in Lawson runs a Mid- Mountains Poetry Night. After joining in on Zoom during lockdown, it was great to finally attend in person in April and read five of my poems. The added dimension of hearing poetry read out loud—the rhythm and beat of sound and syntax—the music of the human voice that lifts poetry off the page making it fully immersive. If you haven’t already visited, either online or in person, check out this social enterprise bookshop. Not only do they have a wonderful range of books, they also run book group evenings and an innovative initiative called, 'A bookshop of one's own' where you not only get to have the bookshop to yourself for two hours, they also provide a delicious platter of food from local food co-op, Lyttleton Stores.

April saw the launch of Spineless Wonders’ Travel Anthology, 45 microlits (under 200 words) selected from the entries to the 2022 joanne burns microlit Award. With all of us being locked-in to Australia for so long, it was a theme that editor Cassandra Atherton said generated ‘an unprecedented’ response so I felt very lucky to have my entry, ‘This is your captain’ included. In May, an online event was also held with videos of the authors reading their work.

It seems that we are slowly returning to ‘normal’ activities, although the uncertainty of new COVID variants and a resurgence of the flu still makes the planning of exhibitions and events a tricky proposition. Fingers crossed some of the long-postponed events from the past two years will finally get to have their day :)

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