16th July, 2015 marked the launch of Some of Us Eat the Seeds by Morgan Bach, a debut collection of poetry published by Victoria University Press. A storm raged outside and we were packed out anyway, proving once again that poets, readers and booksellers are afraid of neither water nor wind.
Ashleigh Young, who launched her own debut collection of poetry at Unity Books back in 2012 (Magnificent Moon, also VUP) gave us some insight to the process of editing a collection of poetry, and in particular one from a such a long-time friend. Speaking in equal capacity as an editor at VUP and as someone who has closely watched the writer work through the years, she noted that when an author gets their hands on the first copy of their own book, “most people are pleased in a proper sort of way,” but that when Morgan was handed her own book for the first time the reaction was one of bewilderment, disbelief and glee.
Morgan has been such a great supporter of other people’s creative work that launching her own work created a tangible, electric excitement. Seeds, phobias, and a penchant for watching things the author is afraid of make Some of Us Eat the Seeds a collection that “shows that fear of other people is totally justified,” Ashleigh told us.
Morgan, after insisting that she’s terrible at public speaking, told us that “[the launch] probably is the closest thing I’ll have to a wedding – I don’t know what that means I’ll be marrying – maybe poetry, in which case it’s too late to back out now!”. With the way that people hung on her words and the amount of love in the room it felt as much like a family occasion as a literary event.
Thank-yous included Fergus and Kirsten at VUP for keeping her going (and making her do radio interviews), Chris Price, those she studied poetry with at the IIML, and Morgan’s “sisters in poetry” Hannah Mettner and Sugar Magnolia Wilson. The biggest thanks went to Ashleigh for support that cannot be summed up in one role.
I note these thank-yous because the passionate people that attended the launch, combined with Morgan’s notes of appreciation, paint a clear picture of the significance of this collection of poetry. Morgan may have just published her first book, but the content and maturity of this collection is seasoned in a way we rarely see from a “first-time” writer – showing that “first-time” means nothing, and taking one’s time can yield breathtaking results. Some of Us Eat the Seeds takes the threads of a full and considered life and weaves them into accessible and energetic poetry. Congratulations, Morgan. We’ll look forward to your second launch.