The River Road Poetry Series
The River Road Poetry Series was an innovative Australian venture into sound publishing with the creation of an audio collection of Australian poets reading their own work.
Content is from the site's 2007-2011 archived pages.
Sorry, but you can no longer buy the CDs directly from this iteration of the site.
An aside: I have to admit I was bummed when I realized I couldn't purchase any of the River Road Poetry Series cds on the site. I remember the first time I heard the cd’s title poem “The Domestic Sublime” (a suite of five poems). Thanks Mom for sending me a copy of your cd. You might laugh, but I was helping a friend who was in the midst of opening her own restaurant. I volunteered to do research on finding a good resource for janitorial supplies such as the paper products (tissues, toilet paper, paper towels) and the requisite dispensers. In addition she wanted me to find the best value trash bags / garbage can liners. I had to make sure I bought the proper colored and clear trash bags for the town's recycling program. Fortunately, I found the perfect e-commerce store, CleanItSupplies, that not only carried janitorial supplies, but also restaurant supplies. Anyway, I started listening to the poems on the cd as I worked. I thought it was perfect to be listening to the poems that make up “The Domestic Sublime” since each poem has a focus on one small domestic occurrence such as: changing the sheets, a saucer, thinking of those gone while hanging out the clothes. And there I was also looking for very simple, basic items. Double bonanza time!
Jump ahead to the present: in my online search to buy the River Road Poetry Series on cd, I discovered Katy Abbott, an Australian composer based in Melbourne, who has a solo song-cycle disc which is made up of 6 short songs set to text of Chris Wallace-Crabbe's 'The Domestic Sublime'. You can listen at www.katyabbott.com/catalogue/#solo-voice. This work won the Boston Metro Opera Gold Medal for Art-Song Prize (2013) and was finalist in the 2013 Australian Art Music Awards in the Best Vocal/Choral Work of the year category. Another great find.
Come On In The River’s Mighty Fine
Welcome to The River Road Poetry Series. This innovative venture into sound publishing creates an audio collection of Australian poets reading their own work. You can buy the CDs directly from this website or visit good bookshops that stock the series.
The series is also migrating to Itunes and Amazon so you can download individual tracks or albums directly – so far Judith Beveridge’s CD Cut By Stars and Stephen Edgar’s Photography for Beginners are available right now.
The River Road Poetry Series was launched on the 1st December 2007 and since then has published 21 CDs, produced two CDs for Australian Poetry Centre Anthologies and recorded hundreds of poems for dozens of poets for magazines, webpages, podcasts and posterity. River Road Press has also embarked on great collobarations with the UK’s prestigious Poetry Archive and the USA’s fantastic website the Poetry Foundation.
Forthcoming titles in the River Road Poetry Series will include collections by Diane Fahey, Emily Ballou, MTC Cronin and Kerry Leves, plus a bumper anthology The Best of River Road Press!
Hope you enjoy the trip, best wishes
Why Audio Poetry ?
It is too easy to forget that the poetry we read is meant to be heard, meant to be read aloud, a spoken, as well as a written art. The pact the writer and reader have in a book is so wonderfully efficient that we can race through without listening to the voice inside us saying the poem. Hearing the poem read aloud adds another dimension to the experience – the subtleties of rhythm, intonation, pause and pitch are there in the poet’s own voice. Last year I became hooked on the immediacy of poems being whispered in my ear from my MP3 player and thought the combination a pleasure that beckoned a wider audience. The River Road Poetry Series also recognizes the need to record and preserve the richness and diversity of contemporary Australian poetry and, over time, it will grow into an important cultural record. Keep listening.
River Road Press was established by Carol Jenkins in 2007. The technology, the poets and the poems were all there, waiting. There was some cassette recordings in the National Library of Australian from the 60′ & 70’s, a few good things recorded by Geoff Page, with his CD at ‘Chats’, but nothing on a national scale.
River Road Press sets out to document the best of Australian poetry and deliver it to the listening world.
At the moment the River Road Poetry Series is by invitation only but there will be a call for submissions of poems on specific subjects, anthologies on Food and Art at Agnes are on the horizon, maybe even a collection on dogs or gods. If you are interested in knowing about call outs for poems or the next launch event send your Name & Email to cjenkins[at]riverroadpress [dot]net and I will keep you posted.
As part of the work to promote Australian poetry internationally, River Road Press has ongoing collaborations with the UK’s prestigious The Poetry Archive audio poetry website and the US Poetry Foundation. You can join millions of poetry sleuths who visit these sites to read and listen into poems, including many River Road Press poets. You can check out audio and poems via links on the CD pages in this website.
Subscription or trade supply enquires to PO Box 241 Spit Junction 2088 NSW Australia or Email cjenkins[at]riverroadpress[dot]net
The Listening Club
If you’re too busy to read, try the Listening Club.
‘Oh no, I haven’t finished reading my Book Club book.’ I’ve heard this lament more than once from friends who love reading but are pressed for time, juggling work and family. They spend more time driving children to sport or music lessons than they do sitting down with a book.
“It’s classic busy life syndrome; you are in a book club to keep up your reading and literary horizons, and you can’t find the time to finish the book.’ says Carol Jenkins. She is the founder of River Road Press which publishes audio CDs of contemporary Australian poetry. ‘I became addicted to audio poetry, but most of what I found was from the US. There was a real need to record Australian poets reading their own work.’
“I’ve always read vociferously, the year after I finished my B.Sc. I read 300 novels, you can do that if you don’t work long hours, don’t have children and don’t have a TV. But over the next decade I got a serious career, post-grad study, a house to renovated and a baby. My reading mix moved more to include much more poetry and short stories.
It was poetry that had the hook. It’s the ristretto of the literary world, a great potency and swift effect, in good poetry everything is heightened, language, meaning, even narrative. Then about three years ago I started listening to poetry on my Ipod, to get more out my time spent walking or driving. Really listening to the spoken word is a much underrated aspect of literacy.
‘So, I went looking for audio of Australian poetry, and there was a bit recorded in the 70’s hidden in the National Library but nothing available.
Morgan Smith from Gleebooks put it like this “
Carol Jenkins is a poetry lover who wanted to be able to listen to poetry on her iPod, so she just got out there and made these recordings.
‘One of my aims in producing the River Road Poetry Series was to provide a user friendly media for literature. The CDs each have somewhere around 35 to 40 minutes of poems, except for Susan Hampton’s fabulous verse novel The Kindly Ones which runs for 80 minutes
Though people might initially balk at the idea of analysing a collection of poems, they needn’t worry, whatever you can say about a novel, there is an equivalent in a poem. Poems have a storyline and an emotional message -the emotional content is usually the first thing that arrives -Often I find I’ve got the emotional impact way before I’ve even understood analytically what I’ve read. A good poem thrives on repetitive reading, it’s carried by the natural music of the poem.
Luke Davies told me he had been playing the same CD of someone reading John Donne in his car for months. Now imagine if you could hear John Donne reading John Donne. A buzz? That’s what I want, for people in the year 2308 to hear Luke Davies read Totem Poem and Judith Beveridge read “How to Love Bats”.
You can just listen to the poem and say how it make you think, what it inspires in you, how it makes you reflect on your own history . Or you can talk about the formal elements. In every poem there is a narrator, a form, like a sonnet, you might get a rhyme pattern, figurative language and, most importantly, a point. You can pick recurrent themes, references and layers of meanings.
The poet’s reading gives a lot more interpretative information, their intonation, accents and pitch, this all works to help the listener understand the poem.’
Australian poetry is thriving and the River Road Poetry Series is a great introduction to the best of it. Load them into your MP3 player and talk a walk, or listen to the CD while you’re in the car on the way to Book Club.
River Road Press launches
Fay Zwicky and Caroline Caddy CDs
at the Perth Writers Festival
Bringing the world home
Join two of Australia’s most important poets Fay Zwicky and Caroline Caddy to explore their new audio collections The Witnesses and The Tibetan Cabinet. Aficionados of the most exacting of literary genres these two writers deliver luminous insights, ranging over culture and humanity from Zurich to Antarctica, while mining deep into our own backyards.
“Poetry is to prose what freestyle aerial skiing is to cricket.”
Join Dennis Haskell in the Dolphin Theatre, University of Western Australia, on 27 February 2010 to see the launch of these two landmark audio collections.
If you can’t make it to the Festival – both titles are now available on line.
Kris Hemensley’s My Life In Theatre
Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s The Domestic Sublime
Join River Road Press for their first big Melbourne launch of two brilliant new CDs from two of Melbourne’s best loved poets.
This really kicks off River Road Press’s Victorian showcase with two exemplary Melbourne poets. Chris Wallace-Crabbe has had an illustrious academic life whilst being as urbane as they come; Kris Hemensley is not a university product but mixes it with the best of them, a vernacular & esoteric hybrid. They met at Betti Burstall’s La Mama cafe-theatre in the late 60s, read together at least once before the counter culture interfered! Different generations to begin with but now the truly plural melbourne scene claims them both as young-at-heart veterans!
You can check out the details of The Domestic Sublime and My Life in Theatre
on their pages here. (And Buy them while you’re at it if you can’t make it to the launch.
This is also the send off gig for Glen Fern, so it’s a moment in literary history not to be missed.
For those of you who might not know Ellen Koshland -
Ellen Koshland has created a major annual poetry event for the Melbourne Writers Festival for 3 years, in 2007 Survival in the Valley of its Making, focusing on W.H. Auden; in 2008 An Innocent Russia Writhed, focusing on Anna Akhmatova; and in 2009 Pleasure and Pain, with a focus on poems centred on the lived life of the body, including Whitman.
Ellen has acted as a judge for Victorian Premier Literary Awards: the Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-Fiction (2006) and the CJ Dennis Prize (2007).
Launch of The Road South by Mark Tredinnick’s
Saturday 27th September, at the 3pm
Book Barn, on the Old Hume Highway in Berrima
Mark Tredinnick’s first collection of poetry The Road South will be launched at the Book Barnon, on the Old Hume Highway in Berrima, on Saturday 27th September, at the 3pm for 3.30pm. The Road South will be very entertainingly launched by Geraldine Turner. Come down for the afternoon or the weekend. Late September is the perfect time to visit the Southern Highlands and take in the air and the country side that inspired this collection.
This is Tredinnick’s debut collection of poetry – an audio collection published by River Road Press. Mark has fairly recently turned his talent to poetry, and is gaining attention in all the right places. Over the last year he has collected the Newcastle Poetry Prize and the inaugural Blake Poetry Prize, an additional commendation in the Blake Prize and the Calibre Essay Prize. The Road South includes the Newcastle Prize winning poem Eclogues and Paradise which was highly commended in the Blake Poetry Prize.
“Mark Tredinnick’s poetry is remarkable for the way in which it bears astute witness to the beauty and vulnerability of both landscape and our place within it. Over and again his poems, through their keen observations and careful clarifications, deepen our understanding of the integral relationship between place and the human spirit. These poems are full of vision and affirming wisdom.”
Judith Beveridge, August, 2008
For More Information Contact: Carol Jenkins – (m) 0418216 480 or cjenkins[at]riverroadpress[dot]net
More Past Events
Voice Workshop for Poets with Bill Pepper,
Head of Voice Studies, NIDA
presented by River Road Press as part of the 6th Australian Poetry Festival
Venue: Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
Time: Saturday, 6 Sept. 2008. A three hour workshop, in 2 x 1 hour 30 min sessions.
A workshop by Australia’s leading lpractitioner in Voice Studies to improve the way you read your poems in front of an audience.
“TO FREE THE VOICE IS TO FREE THE PERSON” – Bill Pepper
1st Session 10:00 am-11:30 am
In the first half of the workshop we will explore ways to open up and free the passageways in the body through which breath and sound travel.
We look at ways to reduce restrictive tensions which inhibit the natural rich vibrations of sound in the body
We will work to open up the ribs to achieve greater capacity and greater body in the voice.
We will free and strengthen the diaphragm and explore the connection of muscle, thought, breath and sound deep in the body
2nd Session 1:00pm-2:30 pm
In the second half of the workshop we will explore ways to energise words an make them more potent and meaningful. We will explore vowels – the emotional parts of words – and consonants – the intellectual parts – to make speech more varied and felt.
Cost $70. Bring a yoga mat or towel and wear loose comfortable clothes (no skirts). Lunch is not included.
One scholarship place (for tuition only) is available for a full or part-time student under 25 years of age. Apply to Julie Chevalier by e-mail to jchevalier[at]swiftdsl.[dot]com[dot]au , include contact details, a half page statement of interest and two of your poems by 8 August 2008.
To book a place email Carol Jenkins, cjenkins[at]riverroadpress[dot]net Places are limited and payment must be made to confirm your booking.
Bill Pepper has been Head of Voice Studies at NIDA since 1995. He has been dialogue coach on numerous theatre, television and film productions (including Moulin Rouge) and has coached many of Australia’s leading performers, including four Oscar winners.
This workshop is organised by River Road Press Pty Ltd under the auspices of the Poets Union as part of the Australian Poetry Festival 5,6, 7 September 2008.