5 September 2003

launch of Kathryn Lomer's collection 'Extraction of Arrows'

Thursday 4th Sept, at Hobart Bookshop

Kathryn responded to Sarah Day's generous launch speech by suggesting that if champagne is the ritual for launching ships, then she's just experienced the equivalent of Dom Perignon cast over the bows of her book. "Sarah is a wonderful example," Kathryn continued, "of someone who succeeds at teaching, mothering, at her poetry and editing and many many other things … it was in her role as editor of 'Island' when she asked for the poem 'everyday ophelia' for publication in 'Island' magazine that was pivotal in helping me to take my writing seriously. Sarah stood in for me at 'Island's' launch and read it for me … and I wish I'd been there!"

"With the evolving of this collection I need to pay tribute to many people ... to Deb Westbury who was the facilitator of a poetry manuscript workshop at Varuna in 2001 which gave me confidence to put my collection out there and to eventually send it to UQP."

"Others I'd like to thank include Louise Oxley - a constant friend and writing buddy and valuable critic and much more besides. And to Louise and Adrienne Eberhard, for their involvement in our small writing group of three - in fact, I don't know if I can call it a 'group', I did look up 'group' in the dictionary and it said it was anything over two so perhaps it's right to do so … a group that offers enthusiasm and enjoyment, not only for writing but way beyond. Liz Winfield who over the years has gently - and not so gently - pushed me to go 'outside my comfort zone'. I think it was at Liz's Republic Readings that I first read my poetry in public, and she helped with my collaboration with Christine Scott for National Poetry Day last year."

"My particular thanks go to Lyn Reeves for her encouragment through the Moorilla Readings, who helped me survive Sydney Writers' Festival last year … thank you."

"Lastly I'd like to thank my son Cormac. It's timely that this launch is being held on the fourth of September, because it's Cormac's birthday tomorrow, he turns five. Many of the poems in this collection have to do with him, and if I can quote from the title poem of the collection, 'Extraction of Arrows':

You see, I've been given a second chance
to pay attention to details.
I'm learning the names of whales,
seahorses, sharks and frogs,
parts of insects, leaves and fish,
all about waves and why there are rainbows;
everything is suddenly equally important.

… which is how I feel, as if I've been given a second chance, to pay attention to details, and to see them through a child's eyes. Thank you for coming."

(Editor's note: Kathryn thanked many others too, but I regret I couldn't keep up with her, didn't have my tape recorder with me.

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