St Barts glass windowA conga line of poets who have seen the light at Norwood’s St Bart’s Church will share their inspiration in a public poetry reading on Saturday November 10.

Lit by St. Bart’s renowned stained glass windows, this poetic project provides an opportunity to hear some of Adelaide’s finest poets read poems inspired by the church’s wonderful windows.

Built in 1856, St. Bart’s is one of Adelaide’s oldest churches, containing some of the city’s best stained glass windows. This includes the impressive altar window, which was originally installed in St. Peter’s Cathedral in North Adelaide, and two Art Deco windows, which were designed by Melbourne artist Napier Waller. One appeared on a Christmas stamp in the 1980s.

The poetic project began with The Red Room Company’s Clubs and Societies program, for which Adelaide poet Aidan Coleman wrote about the windows and spoke about his work at a discussion panel at Adelaide Writers’ Week in February 2012.

As the project progressed, Coleman – together with poet, Thom Sullivan – thought it worthwhile inviting other poets to write about the windows and to organise an event to give them an opportunity to read their poems alongside the windows.

Although there’s a long history of poets writing about visual art, the last well-known poem about stained glass was published by English poet George Herbert in the 1630s. A phrase from that poem, “Light & Glorie”, has provided the evening’s title.

Coleman says, “When I was first commissioned by the Red Room Company to write poems about the stained glass I invited Thom, who is also a photographer, to come in and also write poems about the windows. We spent a lot of time in the church writing and reading and swapping ideas and thought it would be great to invite other Adelaide poets in to do the same.”

Sullivan says, “We loved the idea of people coming together and writing. The stained glass windows are very striking and we were keen for poets to use them as a starting point for a poem or poems. We have been delighted by the range of poems that have been written, whether devotional, sceptical, aesthetic, historical or personal …”

Johanna Featherstone, Artistic Director of The Red Room Company says: "It's incredibly inspiring that from being part of our Clubs and Societies project, Aidan decided to start a poetry society within his own community. This is exactly what The Red Room Company hopes to achieve with its public poetry programs. I can't wait to hear the new work from the St. Bart's collaboration."

St. Bart’s was opened on five occasions and poets were invited in to view and write about the windows. Twenty-nine poets took up the challenge.

This is not the first collaboration between St. Bart’s and local poets: in late 2009, a series of poetry readings were hosted at the church and this latest event is a follow up to those readings.

The reading will be held at St. Bart’s church at 77 Beulah Road, Norwood, on  Saturday, 10 November 2012, starting at 6:30 pm. Entry is $5.00. A chapbook featuring a selection of the poems will be available for purchase on the night. All proceeds from the event will go towards the work of the Magdalene Centre.

For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Aidan Coleman 0422 874 991 e: cheapgravel@yahoo.com">cheapgravel@yahoo.com

Thom Sullivan 0403 515 093 e: dust_company@hotmail.com">dust_company@hotmail.com

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