Richard Scutter reflects upon verse and vision in the ACT.
Four years ago on 30 January, Poets’ Corner at Garema Place was officially opened by the then ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope as part of an ACT Government public art initiative. The three poets selected for recognition in the Corner were A. D. Hope, Judith Wright and David Campbell. Figurative sculptures created by Cathy Weiszmann with signage by Richard Tipping were unveiled. A poem from each of these poets is included at the base of the statue.
A.D. Hope’s poem is ‘Spatlese’, which he wrote when he was nearing 70. In this poem he advocates,
Old men should be adventurous.
On the whole I think that’s what old age is really for…
It’s a message that all of us should heed because when it comes to public art, Canberra is ageing in a most unadventurous manner. What are the ACT Government’s major public art, poetry and creative industry initiatives? For example, should the new suburb of Wright acknowledge Judith Wright in ways other than just by name?
Perhaps the Garema Place Poets’ Corner could be used as a venue for public poetry including school readings? This Corner could become a public speaking platform allowing Canberrans to render their distinctive voice and identity in contrast to that which emanates from the Hill. There may of course be other appropriate places where poetry readings could occur. Judith Wright used to read at Westbourne Woods, Yarralumla.
What’s your favourite piece of Canberra public art and poetry? In this regard, what would you like to see and hear more of and where?
Richard Scutter is a local poet who blogs, writes and analyses at ‘My Word in Your Ear’. His collection of poems goes by the same name. This article was posted by Kim Huynh who is involved in an exciting new poetry initiative with Richard.
Pictured at top, the statues in Garema as they stand today.