Getting poetry out in the open

Letter to the editor, The Age (Published 5 Jan 2013)

Christopher Bantick (Comment & Debate, 3/1) is right that Australia, and Melbourne in particular, should give poetry more exposure. Churches like St Paul’s and St Patrick’s Cathedrals would make excellent sites. St Pat’s, where in fact James McAuley is quoted in the cathedral’s water feature, would be further enhanced if the sterile orange glass in the windows down each side of the nave were replaced with poetry in stained glass.

But the idea should be not to box poetry in a corner but to get it out in the open. Given Australia’s multi-cultural makeup, the public should not have to go to church to read poetry. Poetry also belongs in pubs (the Chloe room in Young and Jackson’s would be appropriate), airports (like Dublin in Ireland), footpaths (like Circular Quay in Sydney) and other places where people gather and would benefit from verse.

By the way Christopher, PM Gillard recently instituted a poetry prize and quoted Dylan Thomas in Parliament following the death of her father a few months ago.

Pat Walsh, Northcote