It’s not often we guarantee a book launch years in advance, without really knowing what the content, cover or even the title is – we had to for Hera Lindsay Bird’s self-titled first collection of poetry, because we knew it was going to be phenomenally good.
And so on July 14th with the shop heaving with friends, family and fans, a group of people spoke to celebrate the occasion. Fergus Barrowman of Victoria University Press informed us that they now work for Hera and have already started their second print run. Friend and fellow poet Gregory Kan recounted a story from earlier days involving them both cutting up and burning poetry as well as reading a poem from his book This Paper Boat and Love Comes Back from Hera Lindsay Bird. Bernadette Hall, Hera’s teacher at the IIML gave a fabulous launch speech in which she spoke of giving a ‘composed and neat’ Hera permission to be ‘bold and dirty and silly’ – the result was unexpected, astonishing and Bernadette praised the ‘wonderful noise of the highly engaged social poem’.
Hera then strode up to the mic, welcomed friends and family (on condition of no fisticuffs), thanked those who had already spoken that night, re-iterated her undying enmity towards her nemesis Damien Wilkins, brought forth heart-touching and mind breaking quotes from the greatest bards, Shakespeare and Morrisette, and then read her glorious poem Lost Scrolls.
The applause was rapturous, the acclaim universal, the hugs and tears and celebrations completely un-ironic. It was a launch deeply felt by all Uniteers and VUP staffers, as well as hugely enjoyed by the public – all testified to by the signing queue that demanded ink for upwards of an hour and a half.
photographs © Matt Bialostocki