They come from various backgrounds, geographies and lifestyles but seven creative souls have one thing in common: a love of poetry.
Sandra Taylor, Leigh Crowe, Glenda Mai-Morgan, Peter Storey, Kate Taylor, Kai Jensen and Linda Albertson are members of the Well Thumbed Poetry Group, based at the secondhand bookshop of the same name at Cobargo.
Later this month, the group will launch its first book Chasing The Line: An Anthology from the Back Room .
The back room refers to the place in the Well Thumbed Bookshop where, for the past few years, the poets have been meeting to discuss their work and that of others, workshop ideas and provide a sounding board when needed.
Before that, they’d met in a hall but when the choice came up to move into the back room of a secondhand bookshop, where inspiration was housed all around them, there was little debate.
“It’s inspiring and fitting to write in a bookshop,” group member Linda Albertson said.
“It’s been a collaborative effort from start to finish,” she said. “We recognise that we’re all different, that all our poetry is different.
“A while ago someone had this idea for an anthology, but it hasn’t been an easy process because few of us have been involved in publishing a book before.
“We’ve had a few false starts, then we had the lockdown which was hard because we were all in different places, but it’s all come together.”
Linda said all the writers involved had different strengths. Many were retired so they had a lifetime of experience to use in their work while others, like herself, still worked.
Linda is a librarian. Other members are visual artists, another a journalist, while another describes herself as a “grandmother wordsmith”.
All the poets write about the worlds around them in the anthology, particularly the natural environment on the South Coast of NSW where many of them live. They describe their work as poems of “transitions, survival and joy”.
The anthology also features illustrations by Peter Storey and Glenda-Mai Morgan throughout, who are both poets and artists.
“As visual artists, we were drawn to the interplay between words on the page and visual stimulation through colour,” Glenda said. “I think people will enjoy the overall aesthetic of the book.”
Linda said all the poets had come to the group from different backgrounds and life experiences.
“We hope that sharing our poems through Chasing The Line will encourage others to connect with poetry and those quieter moments to discover the resilience and beauty that language holds for us,” she said.
The self-published anthology has been made possible through the Cobargo Community Association funding.
Chasing The Line: An Anthology from the Back Room will be launched on Saturday 23 April at 10:30 am at Well Thumbed Books, Cobargo.