Persian Garden Poets (Festival page)
Paul Durcan, John Kinsella, Dorothy Porter, Luke Wright @ Persian Garden
7:00pm, Thu 6 Mar 2008
After last years’ successful foray into poetry (with wordfire and Sean M. Whelan and The Mime Set), I was eager to do more of the same in 2008 – but couldn’t really afford the time to sit in Writer’s Week gigs. So this seemed like the perfect event to feed my written-word desires.
Mike Ladd from the ABC emcees the evening, and – apart from some cheerfully lame rhymes – has minimal input. First up was Irish poet Paul Durcan, who started his spot with a massive pause… something like three breaths, which was either a mood setter for his generally morose readings or a measure of respect/contempt for the audience. It’s kind of hard to tell. His downbeat poems were very elaborate and lyrical in nature, but rest assured I’m not dashing out to track down his anthologies.
John Kinsella was up next, and was almost a polar opposite from Durcan’s quiet, dull delivery. He’s an angry and passionate man, imparting huge amounts of energy and dynamism into his readings. He dwells mainly on rural West Australian themes – the silo story was fantastic – and really warrants further investigation.
When Dorothy Porter’s name was announced, there was a large number of “woots” and other associated cheering from the assembled throng. But though she was an expressive reader (of snippets from her works El Dorado and Akhenaten), her words utterly failed to spark my imagination or conjure much of anything. The “woots” from her introduction were notable by their absence as she walked off.
After a short break, the “star” of the night appears: Luke Wright from the UK performed his Luke Wright, Poet & Man routine. And, quite frankly, this was the funniest thing I’ve seen so far this year – it’s more of a standup routine that utilises poetry, rather than the other way around. But that’s not to marginalise the quality of his verse – for it is sublime, often coarse, but always passionate. Company of Men speaks of the need for blokiness, Camping Dad paints a detailed (and highly amusing) picture of a dying breed, and Sex Butler was lewd absurdism at its best. There’s more serious themes – death, his exposure to the class divide through his first girlfriend – but there’s always something pants-wettingly funny around the corner, always a turn of phrase that sticks in your mind: “face of bumming” is one that springs to mind nearly a week later.
In short, Persian Garden Poets was utterly worthwhile. The only bummer for the evening was that I couldn’t hang around to snaffle one of Wright’s CDs…