Triage launch

“Poetry has always been part of the commentary on war” said Louise Douglas, former Assistant Director, Audience, Programs and Partnerships Division, National Museum of Australia, launching the In Response to Triage booklet on Friday 21st February 2pm at Chats Cafe School of Art ANU.

In Response to Triage is the fourth publication of the School of Music Poets, a group convened by Hazel Hall under the Cafe Poets project of Australian Poetry.

Five poets from the School of Music Poets wrote in response to the paintings of artist Karen Bailey depicting work and life in a Canadian Military hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Poets Hazel Hall, Janne Graham, Sandra Renew, Moya Pacey and Tony Williams took on the challenge of poets to explore the complexities and possibilities of the human condition and to give expression to the social conscience of the community, both of these purposes being made urgent by war.

In the forward of the booklet artist Karen Bailey says:

Poets and painters share a similar history in documenting war. Without the efforts of artists the human story of war would never be memorialised; for generations poets have written about the effects of conflict, history books are filled with images depicting war.

Louise Douglas launched the publication saying:

In reflecting on the significance of the Afghanistan war and the poems the SOM poets have created, I think we need to see this contemporary war as an historical event of the future – when historians will be looking for ways to tell the story of this time in our history and looking for all kinds of creative interpretations as well as the standard documentary records. Your ekphrastic poetry will be great material for future historians and I can see paintings such as Karen’s and poems such as yours in displays in museum exhibitions where they will be very effective in helping visitors of the future gain some understanding of this significant event.

Contact: Hazel Hall and Sandra Renew, School of Music Poets, February 2014