12 August 2004

The Poets Union presents
NGARA: THE 4TH AUSTRALIAN POETRY FESTIVAL

With the assistance of the Australian Government through the Australia Council its arts funding and advisory body; and the NSW Ministry for the Arts.

Over fifty events across Australia, September 4-11 including:
Ngara Balmain
Living in this Place Now: Responses to Indigenous Experience
Balmain Town Hall 370 Darling Street Balmain NSW September 3-5, 2004.


Why haven’t Indigenous perspectives entered the mainstream Australian imagination? At this time of taking stock, isn’t it about time we gave them due consideration? Ngara is an Eora (Sydney) word meaning listening. Ngara: The Fourth Australian Poetry Festival will attempt to create a space in which to listen to Indigenous experience.

An outstanding list of speakers, poets and performers will address some of the hard questions of our time:
•How might the non-Indigenous Australian be at home here?
•What might non-Indigenous cultures learn from Indigenous cultures about ways of living in this place?
•What, if anything, might Aboriginal people wish to take from the various settler cultures?
• What might they wish to keep and define as their own?

GUESTS INCLUDE:

NOEL PEARSON, Chairman of the Cape York Land Council,
who will give the Judith Wright Memorial Lecture.

HENRY REYNOLDS, historian and author, who has been as responsible as anyone for the changes in the way we view our past behaviour; BARRY HILL, poet and recent biographer of TGH Strehlow, the anthropologist in whom, perhaps more starkly than in anyone else, western traditions came face to face with traditional Indigenous life; PAUL CARTER, writer, historian and dramatist, whose books have meditated on the way we have constructed space, seeing and land in Australia; PETER READ, author of Belonging; ALEX MILLER, author of the Miles Franklin-winning Journey to the Stone Country.

And, of course, the poets - from JOHN MUK MUK BURKE, LEE CATALDI, MARTIN HARRISON and MORGAN LEWIS to JENNIFER MARTINIELLO, WIRE MC, DENNIS MCDERMOTT, MILES MERRILL, GEOFF PAGE, ROBYN ROWLAND and SAM WAGAN WATSON ... and many many more!

Other Features of
Ngara: The Fourth Australian Poetry Festival

* The Announcement of the Poem of the Millennium Six well-known readers have nominated their selections for the best Australian poem of the Third Millennium. From now until 31 August, members of the public are invited to choose their favourite poem. The winner will be announced at the Festival. Check out the Poets Union website www.poetsunion.com , the Poets Union journal, Five Bells, Sunday Afternoon Arts on ABC TV, or listen to Counterpoint, 4.30 pm Mondays on Radio National and make your own selection.
* The Announcement of the $6,000 Broadway Prize One of the richest poetry prizes in Australia; supported by the Broadway Shopping Centre.
* Gala opening on Friday night - a showcase of the variety and quality of contemporary Australian poetry. Newly commissioned works. Collaborations between poets, dancers and musicians.
* The Finals of the Leichhardt Poetry Slam: Saturday night 8pm -the winners from no less than six Sydney and regional heats will hurl their words for $700 in prizes. For a full list of heats, contact Miles Merrill on 9387 5006 or email ozslam@yahoo.com.au. The “Last Chance Heat” will take place on Saturday at 4pm at the Festival itself.
* Finalists screened and winner announced of the Leichhardt New Media Prize - a new prize for poetry on disc - $700 in prizes.
* The announcement of the winner of the $1,000 Brencorp Prize for a book of poetry by an Indigenous author.
* Readings by the winners of the Australian Young Poets Fellowships.
* Workshops, a forum on poetry and education, book launches, and open mike opportunities; food, drink and friends.
* Parallel events in more than thirty locations throughout Australia: not all sharing the same Indigenous theme but all part of Ngara: The Fourth Australian Poetry Festival, and all held during National Poetry Week (September 4 –11) See below or contact the Poets Union on 02 9818 5366, for a full list of activities.

‘The Australian Poetry Festival is an outstanding event on the literary calendar,’ says Martin Langford, Director, Ngara: The Fourth Australian Poetry Festival, ‘and for many people, the quality and depth of contemporary Australian verse will be an absolute eye-opener.’

Tickets for Balmain Ngara: Whole Festival: $35 ($27 Poets Union members and concession); single day: $20 ($15 Poets Union members and concession); Friday or Saturday night $10 ($8 Poets Union members and concession); no single sessions. Tickets at the door or from 02 9818 5366.

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