Majura Café Poets – Toast to Poetry

Edited by Clint Wright
Foreword by Fiona McIlroy
Cover design by Karen May; layout by Clint Wright
Self-published, Canberra 2021

The Majura Café Poets have been meeting weekly in various venues around Canberra since its inception in 2009, a practice that was interrupted by the restrictions of COVID-19.

Rather than this presaging poetry’s ‘being toast’, however, the situation  simply threw up a challenge to the poets to keep in touch via other means.

Barbie spoke to Marilyn Hutchinson and Fiona McIlroy from the Majura Café Poets

They have produced a volume of poetry responding to the phases and their experiences of COVID-19. It is a so-called chapbook, an insubstantial object containing, however, very substantial work.

 Some of the poets have cast a humorous eye over life’s current vicissitudes, as for example in Clint Wright’s A Think at the Sink. Others like Christopher Dorman’s Newton’s Measure may be wry but are also a strongly evocative memory. Marilyn Hutchinson’s heartfelt lament for the willow Why Weeping?  becomes a metaphor for the current malaise and melancholia in a COVID world.

The first part devotes itself to melancholy. Parts Two and Three address Relief and Life Goes On, all with remarkably individual takes on the given themes. It’s been the modus operandi of the group to work each week from prompt words supplied by Fiona McIlroy, words both simple and complex enough to allow freedom of interpretation and meandering of ideas in the making of poetry. This is reflected in the breadth of ideas and approaches in each of these sections.

In a collection of more than 50 poems, each reader will find something here that touches, amuses or strongly resonates. These are practised poets whose love of word and rhythm is regularly tested, critiqued and supported by the group.

The final piece entitled Fruit by Fiona McIlroy invites the read to enjoy the poems whether they be ripe, bruised or not quite ready. It’s a welcome suggestion and a delight to see so many active poets in our midst in Canberra.

The Majura Poets group welcomes new members. Enquire about this and how to buy the book with Fiona at [email protected]