I attended the Sydney Poetry Bookers’ Paddington Poetry Palaver at the invitation of Sydney Poet Norm Neill after I‘d survived the Poetry Workshop led by Professor Peter Minter the previous weekend and had been invited to join Norm’s Poetry Critique Group. Peter convenes a group of poets and aspiring poets who meet each Wednesday night at the NSW Writers’ Centre at Rozelle to read and workshop their poems.
Angela Stretch was the MC for the Sydney Poetry Bookers’ afternoon and her poetry and dulcet tones mesmerized everyone as attendees picnicked and enjoyed the beginning of summer. Angela convenes a similar monthly group to Norm’s: it meets at the Brett Whiteley Studios.
Norm said that the event is the one time of the year when Sydney Poetry Bookers (the organizers of poetry events in Sydney) have the opportunity to shine by reading and/or performing their own work. Supported by Sydney Council and Australian Poetry (http://www.australianpoetry.org), Sydney turned on a sparkling day and I made some new friends. The acoustic gypsy-style music of the John Maddox Duo entertained everyone mid-afternoon. They’re regulars at the Sydney poet’s meeting place – Sappho’s Bookshop and Wine Bar.
What I didn’t tell everyone was that my husband’s previous building company (Brisland Pty Ltd) ‘restored, converted and built’ the Reservoir Gardens to the design of architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and landscape architects JMD Design and that I was the company’s quality manager at the time.
Originally part of the Botany Swamps water scheme in 1859, the reservoir offered a new source of water to elevated suburbs of Sydney which up until then had only been serviced by wells and a water-cart service. It was decommissioned in 1899 when the Centennial Park Reservoir began operating and became a Water Board Storage Facility, a garage and then after the roof’s collapse in 1990 a derelict waste of land.
My husband came with me to the poetry afternoon and together we strolled and discussed our many visits to the space when it was a construction site, our former employees who worked so hard on this project made difficult because it was a serious safety hazard when we established on site.
The gardens have won numerous awards including the Australian Award for Urban Design in 2009 and it was a pleasure to be in such a beautiful space on a glorious afternoon amidst such creative, talented poets. Maybe there’s a poem there somewhere ...