A Byron Bay Hug

August 4, 2010  |  Uncategorized

Laura Jan Shore

Community is one of my favourite words.  As precious as family.  It can be communing with strangers at dawn on the beach.  It might just be a nod and a smile.  The shared jubilation of a perfect winter morning.  It’s greeting a neighbour at the local farmers’ market.  In our region, we’re likely to share a deep and meaningful in the post office queue or have an esoteric discussion with our dentist. And who hasn’t heard of the five minute, full-body Byron Bay hug?

Last Sunday, I experienced the warm buzz of creative community.  We asked eight actors, writers and poetry lovers to read their favourite poems and three musicians to share their talents. With toastmaster, Carl Taylor as MC to stitch it all together, the afternoon flowed.  From rousing South African, Irish and Welsh poems that stirred our hearts to the more meditative nature poems of Mary Oliver, David Whyte and Gary Snyder, the program was eclectic and rich. It offered a multi-cultural mix including poems read in French and Italian. We got advice from a dog and heard a ballad of a cat — a riveting performance of a T.S. Eliot poem put to music by Andrew Lloyd Weber in Cats and sung by Elyjah Mcleod  ( remember, Jesus Christ Superstar?) He was accompanied on keyboard by Jai Kirtan.

With an encouraging audience, it feels safe to take risks. Karl Farren honoured us by debuting a piece using the keyboard and he is a guitarist, but the performance was professional and the song touched our hearts.

Behind the scenes, to pull off an event like Poetry Day requires the dedicated commitment of all seven of our Dangerously Poetic steering committee and months of planning.  This is community in action, everyone, a volunteer.

We officially launched this website/blog with champagne and gorged on the treats from Luscious Café.

So when my energy flags, and I wonder if it is all worth the doing, someone in that post office queue gives me a Byron Bay hug, eagerly shares how much the poetry events mean to them  and I am renewed.

Who needs big city professional performances?  We entertain each other and for me that is more satisfying than front row seats on Broadway.

P.S.

Our next reading will be in Bangalow on Sunday, the 19th of Sept.  Visiting poets, Harry Laing & Nicola Bowery from the Central Coast will be reading their work and judging our poetry lamb.  That’s your chance to entertain us with an original poem of 40 lines or less.  More to follow on events page…

Check out our new workshops …..


1 Comment


  1. Dear Laura,

    “Who needs big city professional performances? We entertain each other and for me that is more satisfying than front row seats on Broadway.”

    Why a shocking statement line that could put a humble critic out of business entirely! (Just joking!)
    Nice website you have there. Have Niles show you what we are up to in rebuilding my website currently. Should be ready for a “grand opening” soon.
    Love, DOW