|by Mark Roberts|
Michael Sharkey to launch of What the Afternoon Knows by Ron Pretty. Pitt Street Poetry. 9pm Friday 12 July Gibraltar Hotel (Centennial Rd and Boronia St Bowral NSW). Part of the Southern Highlands Writers Festival
I first came across Ron Pretty in the mid eighties. I had sent some poems to SCARP magazine which he accepted. We started corresponding and he started sending me poetry books to review and, for a while, I had reviews in every second issue (some of these reviews have been republished on Printed Shadows). While it was exciting to be published regularly, I was also being paid as SCARP was a subsidised journal and the novelty of a semi regular writing cheque was something I remember fondly!. SCARP ran from 1982 to 1999 and published 23 issues in all..
Ron Pretty was also instrumental in setting up and running Five Island Press from 1986 to 2007. During that period he published the work of many emerging and established poets. All up Pretty published over 230 poetry titles through Five Island Press during his time at the helm and it is a tribute to the strength of the 'brand' (to borrow a term from contemporary media-speak) that Five Island Press has continued to flourish under a new team since Pretty passed the baton to them in July 2007.
In addition Pretty has also spent many years teaching creative writing at both the University of Wollongong and the University of Melbourne
Like many who devote themselves to the unique pleasures of running a small literary press and/or journal, Pretty was better known for many years as an editor and advocate for poetry rather than a poet himself. Such a view is a little unfair as Pretty has actually published seven collections to date. His latest collection, What the Afternoon Knows, was written during a six months residency at the Whiting Studio in Rome.
Pitt Street Poetry is rapidly building up an eclectic and interesting list. If you are planning to attend the Southern Highlands Writers' Festival the launch of their latest book should definitely be on your list.
- Mark Roberts
Further information on What the Afternoon Thinks, together with information on how to order it, can be found at http://pittstreetpoetry.com/
Information on the Southern Highlands Writers' Festival can be found at http://www.shwf.com.au/