Catlins pioneering women theme of poem

Last updated 05:00 13/05/2014
lynley dear
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/ Fairfax NZ
GAELIC THEME: Poet Lynley Dear at the Invercargill Club ahead of the Dan Davin Literary Foundation Robbie Burns Poetry Night at the club on May 14, 2014.

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Southland poet and author Lynley Dear was left searching through her immense body of work last year after the Dan Davin Literary Foundation approached her to read a poem at their Robbie Burns Poetry evening.

And now she's looking through her files again ahead of its second annual poetry evening on Wednesday night, part of the Southland Festival of the Arts.

The 2013 event was wonderful, she said, but she found herself at a loss to find any poems with a proper Gaelic flavour to share.

"Of all these poems I've written I realised I didn't have one with a suitable Scottish theme - and my own mother was born in Glasgow."

In the end she found a "rather depressing" poem about her first unhappy years in Dunedin as a student.

"At least it mentioned a bagpiper and Robbie Burns."

This year she is much happier with her selection for the evening.

"It's called Bottled Up about pioneering women in the Catlins - a lot of them would have been Scottish."

Anyone can come along and read a poem on the night, and it doesn't have to be a Scottish poem, it doesn't even have to be your own, Dan Davin Literary Foundation administrator Rebecca Amundsen said.

"Just let us know when you come in if you want to read something. We had such a great turnout last year with people reading poems in front of a roaring fire at the beautiful old Invercargill Club - people raved about the night and we were more than happy to put it on again for Arts Fest."

The evening will this year have a bit of an Irish flavour, with some traditional Irish music, Amundsen said.

Poetry evenings and the like are so important for a writer, Dear said.

"Writing is a very lonely activity so if you can share it then it's all for the good," she said.

"It's wonderful to be asked to share."

The Dan Davin Literary Foundation follows the Davin tradition of supporting and promoting New Zealand writers and writing. Dan Davin Literary Foundation presents Robbie Burns Poetry Night, Wednesday, May 14, 7pm, at Invercargill Club, Don St. Tickets $5.

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