A bloke in regional Australia who liked poetry used to be considered “suspect”. But hip and hop and slam poetry have helped masculinise the art form, and times are a-changing.
That’s the view of Nathanael O’Reilly, the Texas-based Australian author and poet who headlined last week’s Griffith City Library poetry performance.
Mr O’Reilly was born in Warrnambool in 1973. He grew up in a Christian cult, which he left in his early twenties.
He was raised in Ballarat, Brisbane and Shepparton, not exactly poetry friendly places for a man.
“People would ask me what I was doing writing poetry, I was supposed to be playing footy,” he said.
But the big gender-balanced crowd out in force at Griffith City Library on Thursday showed just how much times had changed.
Before Mr O’Reilly took the stage, the audience were enthralled by Mary Catanzariti, whose poetry career surges ahead now that she’s conquered her stage fright.
“I did live poetry at a National Disability Scheme event last year, and that gave me the confidence I could do anything,” she said.
Derek Motion and Sharni Montgomery made it an awsome foursome line-up, with Sharni also a live event novice.
Ms Catanzariti, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has been smashing goals at regular intervals. Last year The Area News reported on her getting her license at her first attempt.
Simone Murphy, a ‘linker’ with Ability Links, was by Mary’s side along with her mother.
Mr Reilly is in residence at Booranga Writers’ Centre from 17 May to 30 May. The Centre presented Thursday’s event in partnership with Western Riverina Arts.
A world renowned poet, Mr Reilly teaches Australian, British, Irish and Postcolonial literature at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.
While in Wagga Wagga, Nathanael’s latest collection of poetry, Preparations for Departure, was launched by Wagga Wagga poet, and Senior Lecturer in English at Charles Sturt University, Dr Lachlan Brown.
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