Sydney’s Poetry Trucks build excitment ahead of 2013 Writer’s Festival

by |May 6, 2013

The Sydney Writer’s Festival remains one of the most anticipated events on the calender of book lovers everywhere. With new hands on deck and fresh new ideas, the 2013 installment has created a huge buzz and looks like one of the best yet.

In keeping with new ideas, The City of Sydney’s cleansing trucks (formally known as garbage trucks) are being transformed into literary treasures this month, bringing poetry to life in unexpected locations thanks to a project curated by the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Eleven trucks decorated with verses by famous poets, including Irishman W.B. Yeats and Australian activist Judith Wright, will hit the streets today.

Each truck features two giant poems, measuring more than two metres wide and one metre high, with a total of 19 poems appearing in the series.

“This month, we’re celebrating one of Sydney’s most iconic cultural events, the Sydney Writers’ Festival, by displaying much-loved poetry in a distinctly different way,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“From Shakespeare and Wordsworth to ancient Greek epics and celebrated Australian writers, poetry has delighted and inspired people for thousands of years.

“I encourage Sydneysiders to look out for the poems as they roam the city streets this month – they might even be inspired to find their own favourite sonnet.”

Jemma Birrell, the artistic director of the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival, said: “In creating this project with the City of Sydney, we want to inspire people with unexpected literary experiences in everyday situations and
showcase poems that make people think and consider the world or themselves differently.”

The poems featured on the trucks have been selected by Luke Davies, the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Award-winning poet and 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival guest.

This year’s program, which focuses on the importance of storytelling in contemporary life, features more than 500 guests at over 50 venues – including two of the City’s most stunning venues, Sydney Town Hall and the City Recital Hall in Angel Place.

The 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival runs from 20-26 May.

Poets and their selected works featured on the trucks are:
• Rainer Maria Rilke (from “Archaic Torso of Apollo”) (tr: Stephen Mitchell)
• Gig Ryan (from “When I Consider”)
• Peter Porter (from “The Unicorn in Love”)
• Jessy Randall (“Why I had Children”)
• Martin Harrison (from “Walking Back from the Dam”)
• David Campbell (“Mothers and Daughters”)
• John Berryman (from “Eleven Addresses to the Lord”)
• W. B. Yeats (from “Vacillation”)
• Kevin Hart (from “Dark Bird”)
• Judith Wright (from “Sonnet”)
• Kay Ryan (“Fool’s Errands”)
• John Berryman (from “Op. posth. no. 13”)
• Laurie Duggan (from “Letter to John Forbes”)
• joanne burns (“revisionism”)
• John Berryman (from “Overseas Prayer”)
• Marilyn Hacker (“Villanelle for D.G.B.”)
• L. K. Holt (from “From Inside the MRI Scanner”)
• Judith Wright (from “Woman to Child”)
• S. K. Kelen (from “Reality Check”)


The 2013 Sydney Writers Festival has a galaxy of stars, including……

Michelle de Kretser
Nick Earls
Hugh Mackay
Anne Summers
Cate Kennedy
Joe Rospars
Edward Rutherfurd
Kate Forsyth
Ruby Wax
Maxine McKew
William Dalrymple
William McInnes
Rachael Treasure
Carrie Tiffany
Tara Moss
Andrew Upton
Naomi Wolf
Robert Drewe
Bob Brown
Kate Atkinson
Molly Ringwald
Hannah Kent
Gillian Mears
Waleed Aly
Archie Roach
David Malouf
Sarah Turnbull


Check out the full program and more at The Sydney Writer’s Festival website

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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