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This year the popular Benchmarking Birchs Bay Sculpture Trail included readings by local writers and poets, Louise Oxley and Mal Robertson, and a performance by talented young musician/songwriter Prairie Nischler.

On Saturday 2nd May poet Mal Robertson read from site specific poems reflecting the mood of the place and his impressions of the artists' sculptures.

Mal Robertson writes poetry and essays on place, character and the passage of time. He reads at the Republic Bar in Hobart. He works in Southern Tasmania where he lives with his family. Mal is most recently published in amous reporter, Blue Giraffe, and The Poet’s Republic.

Louise Oxley performed at the Benchmarking Birchs Bay Awards celebration at Fleurtys Cafe. Read 'Sculpture Trail' by Louise Oxley.

Louise Oxley’s poetry collections include Buoyancy (Five Islands Press, 2008) and Compound Eye (Five Islands Press, 2003), which was commended in the Anne Elder Award. The manuscript for this collection, under the title open water, was shortlisted for the ArtsACT Alec Bolton Award. Individual poems have won the Melbourne Poets Union, Henry Kendall and Tom Collins Prizes, the King Island Literary Award and the Bruce Dawe Prize in 2004 and 2007. A selection of her poems appears in Moorilla Mosaic: Contemporary Tasmanian Writing (Bumble-bee Books, 2001) and in Wagtail 41: Sitting with Cezanne (Picaro Press, 2005). She is Tasmanian editor for the journal Blue Dog.

Benchmarking Birchs Bay (2008) by Sue Moss

Stick, stone, feather, wood and bone transmuted by fire, water, earth & air; elements telescoped in time, translated to still points, where we can rest in landscape & quietly breathe each story.

Follow the signs through flickering light.  Feel sun’s alternating warmth & chill, reach for the shadow caste by a Sun Dial.  While Time Marches On we reach The Picket Fence, where

a backlit scrim of web demarks the fragility of life & loss.  A currawong spies, yellow eye drawn to earth, shouldered  aside by a Balance of vital messages inscribed on  a di-cot pod.

Walking uphill we Dance Lightly as our boots shimmer with colour & discard earth’s accretions.  Following the fence line, we stumble on unfamiliar ground to find

a Sea Eagle’s Nest constructed from coastline detritus, washed by ocean.  The Channel sky hangs empty.  Imagine Lichen the artist says, draping each boulder with a numinous aura.

The Botanist holds Gaia’s Eucalyptus gift.  Diffused by sunlight, upright in stone, Reconciliation shifts in shade, hints a different knowing.  The woodpile amazes, reaching skyward from a barrow.

Wish it were Mine!  Walking Backwards in Time, releasing a fragrance of Macrocarpa pine, our thoughts balance on the edge.  Voices.  Splashes.  Water-chill & sun-warmth

of Summer; Brother and Sister on a lake high in the Canadian Rockies.  Float.  Decipher black & white messages of molecular models:  BOM 1, JOHNS 1, COOP 6, T4U.   The monitor registers fail pulse

from an encrusted heart.  A scribbly bark graph returns hope to the centre of Tree Beat – Life Support.  In a Vortex of salvaged metal, rust snares memory & secrets entwine.

Nearing home, a snorkelled emu watches my approach.  Legs weighted by metal, the bird sheens silver.  Unable to resist, I pluck & play his thumb-harp of body wire….


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Sponsored by Events Tasmania

Tasmanian writers website: www.tasmanianwriters.org

Last updated 6 February, 2011