Poems read at the Dead Poets’ Dinner in Canberra, July 22, 2014

Colin Campbell / Thomas Blackburn ‘A Smell of Burning’ and ‘Hospital for Defectives’
Marion Halligan / Yeats ‘Sailing to Byzantium’
Joyce Freedman / Siegfriend Sassoon ‘Everyone Sang’
Hazel Hall / Hilaire Belloc ‘Tarantella’
Chris Dorman / William Baine ‘The Archery of William Tell’
Kathy Kituai / Muso Susaki ‘Sun in Midnight’
Nicola Bowery / Sarah Broom ‘About Me’ and ‘That Moon’
Wendy McMahon Bell / Seamus Heaney ‘Digging’
P.S. Cottier / Catherine Martin ‘The Mouse Tower’
Geoff Page / Seamus Heaney ‘From the Republic of Conscience’
Laurie McDonald / David Meyers ‘Fencing in the Dark’
Carmel Summers / Janice Bostok ‘Amongst the Graffiti’
Moya Pacey / Elizabeth Bishop ‘One Art’ and Louis MacNeice ‘Wolves’
Rosa O’Kae / Seamus Heaney ‘Skunk’
Sue Edgar / J.L. Borges ‘Mirror’ and Sylvia Plath ‘Mirror’
Adrienne Johns / Hugh McDiarmid ‘Vanitas’ and ‘Balmorality’
John Stokes / R.F. Brissenden ‘The Whale in Darkness’
Mary Besemeres / Wizlawa Szymborska ‘View With a Grain of Sand’
Sarah Rice / T.S. Eliot excerpts from ‘Little Gidding’
Emily Rice / Ted Hughes ‘Tractor’
Annie Didcott / Keats ‘Ode to a Nightingale’
Tony Williams / Neruda ‘The Dead Woman’
Arlene Williams / J.J. Bray ‘Address to Pigeons in Hurtle Square’ and William Carlos Williams ‘This is just to say’
John Van de Graaff / Seamus Heaney ‘Follower’ and D.H. Lawrence ‘Piano’
Adrian Caesar / R.S. Thomas ‘The Owl’
Michael Thorley / Thomas Hardy ‘Channel Firing’ and ‘They’
Andrew McDonald / poems by two Scottish poets (Norman McCaig?)
Lesley Lebkowicz / poems by Soseki
Alan Gould / a song by Hamish Henderson
Alinta Leaver / Kenneth Koch ‘Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams’
Richard Scutter / Auden ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ and Hopkins ‘Inversnaid’
Martin Dolan / Dylan Thomas ‘Prologue’
Marlene Hall / Thomas Wyatt ‘Whoso list upon the slipper top’
Melinda Smith / Francis Webb ‘Cap and Bells’ and ‘The Bells of St Peter Mancroft’
Ruth Pieloor / C.J. Dennis ‘The Austra—laise’
Janette Pieloor /Gwen Harwood ‘The Secret Life of Frogs’

37 readers chose poems to read by dead poets. 7 women’s poems were chosen. Please check and see if I got that right, as numbers and I rarely speak. I can’t work out the percentage, not being at all like the remarkable Ada Lovelace pictured below.

We continue to shape the world with the words of men only.

Poetry is an art form where many women work, and have done so for centuries. There are lots of works by ‘dead women poets’.

Are our aesthetic judgements so very narrow? Does thought spoil poetry?

I did get a giggle out of ‘The Dead Woman’ by Pablo Neruda. In one sense women are more dead than men, in that their/our poetry seems more easily buried. In another, it seems that they are not dead enough to qualify as Dead Poets, that is, those who are part of the pantheon.

I just don’t understand.

Apart from the retrospective silencing of women, it was a very enjoyable night.

Bias in the sciences and bias in the arts

Bias in the sciences and bias in the arts