On a balmy autumn day, after a magical journey through the Wombat Forest to Woodend, I met up with Christopher Race in an odd little cafe, ‘The Chamber Art & Coffee House‘. He and Myron Lysenko were doing something obscure with microphones, in readiness for the first half of the afternoon: the gathering of the Chamber Poets, live music from Black Forest Smoke and an open mic segment. Greetings, hugs, introductions, cheek kissing…
We were off to a racing start for the launch of Pomonal Publishing’s second volume of poetry: Christopher’s ‘Still Life With Grandmother‘. By 3pm the rooms of ‘The Chamber’ had filled with a heart-warming crowd. Myron MC-ed proceedings with an inimitable flair. He also launched the collection of poems into ‘the universal world of books’ with just the right touch of theatre.
I then gave account of Pomonal Publishing; the whys and wherefores that readers of this blog are already familiar with – not wanting us to be taken for something we are not and probably never can be. Not a business venture, rather a collective adventure. (Appreciative nodding.)
Christopher read from his book, including an extract from the long title poem, was duly applauded, and we were on to the champagne and nibbles. Both author and publisher relieved it had all gone off without mishap or disappointment. Such a grand turn out and more than 50 copies sold (should just about cover the cost of the champagne and nibbles. Author’s expense!) And Christopher had read very well, even (as I heard afterwards) drawing tears. So that was it: Pomonal Publishing’s first ‘event’.
I want to thank Myron Lysenko, convener of Chamber Poets for enabling and hosting the day. (His review of the book is posted here already – see below.) Also present was Michael Foster, who compiled and edited this collection. It was good to be able to publicly acknowledge his excellent work. Thanks are due to the Chamber Art & Coffee House owners and staff for their part in making this a splendid gathering. How they managed to prepare food and serve customers in the midst of all this is a mystery. A special thank you also to my driver – friend of many decades, Carole Wilson – who enabled me to get there without undue stress to the body of form.
An finally, to readers and publishers everywhere: I introduce you to the work of Christopher Race.