Friday, 8 July 2011
To start a new press these days, particularly one that produces substantial volumes, is a brave venture. Grand Parade Poets, based in Wollongong and run by Alan Wearne is such a venture. It could hardly have bettered its first two productions however. These are both books by poets who ought to be better known. Pete Spence, the author of Perrier Fever, is well enough known in vispo circles but he deserves wider recognition than this. He is a wonderfully comic writer who makes it all look easy. It isn’t of course, but it’s a testament to his skill that this is the case. These poems are colloquial yet not verbose. There’s nary a foot placed wrongly here. Benjamin Frater’s 6am in the Universe was preceded by a chapbook, Bughouse Meat. It will, alas, be his last book. He died in his late twenties through complications in his medication. A few years back Alan Wearne suggested to Ben that he write to me. He was interested in doing so but reticence overcame him and we didn’t correspond. These poems feel right. Even as a student it seems he knew well what he was doing. Jaya Savige’s blurb describes his work as equal parts ‘Blakean and Australian Gothic'. It is a well-read poetry that doesn’t parade its erudition (and the book includes a DVD of Frater reading). These books (both beautifully designed by Chris Edwards) deserve a wide readership and I hope their publication bodes well for Grand Parade’s future prospects.