On a rainy Monday 8 August 2016, KSP members and guests took their seats in the warmth of the conference room in anticipation for the launch of Glen Phillips’s latest book, Over and Under. Glen is the Director of the International Centre for Landscape and Language at Edith Cowan University, a life-member and the official Patron for the KSP Writers’ Centre, and author of over 50 books.
Over and Under is a collection of poems about the contrast between the world’s hemispheres. The poems are mostly about countries and landscapes all over the world, with a strong focus on Australia. It consists of ten segments written in different languages including an English translation.
The launch began with Glen welcoming guests to KSP and introducing members of the launching panel: Dr Trisha Kotai-Ewers, former president of the Fellowship of Australian Authors WA; Dr Catalina Ribas Segura, Adjunct Professor at the University College Alberta Gimenez in Majorca, Spain, and editor of Over and Under; and Glen’s wife, Rita Phillips, who is also a poet.
Trisha began proceedings to launch the book with an interpretation of works from Over and Under. People nodded their heads in agreement as Trisha read aloud the lines from the various poems which resonated with her the most. She often spoke about the juxtaposition of images, scenery, and locales in Europe compared to Australia. What she admired most about the poetry in Over and Under was how thought-provoking it was and the questions that arose from reading the texts.
Trisha referred to an Italian poem from Over and Under; particularly her fondness for the expression “ben fatto!” (which is Italian for “well done”). She amused the audience with her critique on how “unadventurous” the English translation of other texts was compared to the Italian wording.
The sound of a pencil sketching on a notepad complemented the rainy backdrop when Trisha read Dancer’s Tree, a WA based poem from Over and Under. She read two more verses before announcing her delight that the book is launched.
Glen then introduced Catalina (whom he called Katie) to the podium. As the rain pelted on the tin roof, KSP members and guests leaned forward in their chairs, straining to hear Catalina read Las Cantantes in her native tongue. Luckily, the weather eased during her English reading of Seagulls.
The last reading was You Don’t Hear Singing in the Darkness Anymore, which Rita first read in fluent Italian then in English.
With the outdoor showers making their presence known once again, Glen announced his regret of not bringing his aptly titled poem, Rain on the Roof, for the occasion.
The book launch concluded with Glen signing copies of Over and Under in the living room of KSP. He added, with a smile, that this would significantly increase the value of the book.