Sweet River; a new poetry collection by Jack Hibberd

La Mama Theatre

Event Date: 
11 December 2021

The reopening of La Mama would hardly be complete without a contribution from esteemed playwright, novelist and poet, Jack Hibberd, whose first play, Three Old Friends, opened this theatre in 1968.   Jack recently completed his fourth volume of poetry, Sweet River which has an introduction by Barry Oakley. It will be launched at 6 pm on Saturday, December 11th at La Mama by Max Gillies who will read selections from the book, a Wakefield Press production, which will be on sale outside the auditorium after the reading. Copies of Sweet River will be available for $20

Max will intersperse readings with excerpts from a documentary screening that shows the formation of the Australian Performing Group from its beginnings at La Mama to the Pram Factory. 

The previous volumes of Jack’s poetry, Madrigals For A MisanthropeThe Genius of Human Imperfection and Vin des Amants, demonstrated Jack’s unique take on language which is of course also seen in his drama where A Stretch of the Imagination remains a classic of the Australian theatre.  Max played Monk O’Neill at both the Pram Factory and the Melbourne Theatre Co.

In this new collection, the common touch again vies with the classical as the poet explores Australian landscape through Drought, Floods and Lake and on to Artaud, Mozart and Brahms, then to the moving exploration in the Dandenong Psychiatric Hospital of a sometime fellow pool player, Herr Walter Wahl.

The poem, Senescence is really worth reading closely even if the reality of aging for some of us, including this writer, is nowadays, as they say, challenging.  Jack inquires with great insight into our moods, our despairs and our joys through Grandiosities, Setbacks, Sadness and Anticipations while closing with An Ode To Joy.

It’s a terrific collection and Max will give splendid voice to the words on page.