When I was interviewed by Cameron Hindrum on City Park Radio on 28th March this year, as part of the final session of the Tasmanian Poetry Festival, he asked me two questions which had me a little stumped. “Who are your three favourite poets?” and “If you could sit down for a cup of tea and a chat with any poet in the world, living or dead, who would you like it to be?”
It was at this point that I realised that my two favourite poets, Gina Mercer and Jane Williams, were both Tasmanian, and both easy to catch up with. Who else would make my favourite poet lists? Afterwards I thought about Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Ada Limon and Hollie McNish. Not to mention Maya Angelou – wouldn’t it be amazing to sit down with her?
While I tend to read a fair bit of poetry from here, there and everywhere, I mostly collect books from Tasmanian authors who I know, or whose launches I attend. When I came home I looked through my poetry collection to see how weighted it was towards Tasmanian writers. It turns out I own books (sometimes several different titles) written by thirty-five Tasmanian poets as well as seven collected anthologies of Tasmanian poetry. Books by twenty-eight poets from other parts of Australia were sitting in my bookcase, thirteen were from other countries and there were twenty-seven miscellaneous anthologies occupying space on my shelf.
We have such a rich community of poets here in Tasmania that I often feel like I don’t need to look too much further afield. But I am relishing snatches of time I have to focus on poetry this year and maybe by the end of the year I will be better able to answer Cameron’s questions. Narrowing the list of poets down to three is going to be very hard though.
Who are your favourite poets?