For Valentine's Day, I have unlocked the polished Jarrah display cabinet that stands next to the fireplace in the sitting room of the KSP Writers' Centre, and with soft, slow hands, pulled out Katharine Susannah Prichard's 1932 book of poetry, The Earth Lover and Other Verses (The Sunnybrook Press, Sydney). It is dedicated simply:
which refers to her husband, Hugo Vivien Hope Throssell. This is a moving gesture made even more poignant given that 1932 was the year before his death.
The book is signed by Katharine. I stop, in awe. The front page claims this book was printed by hand and limited to just 75 copies (we have number 5). Where are the others, I wonder?
The writing throughout speaks of her love of Hugo, and perhaps of others past; there is also loss and aching and a profound bond with flora and fauna.
I think to myself, These poems need to shared! I walk outside and find Fern, our amazing volunteer gardener and a member of the Poets @ KSP. She is equally enamoured by the book.
'Oooh,' she says. 'This is the kind of thing you'd want to read a bit at a time, to savour each one properly. Perhaps you could print these in the newsletter? One each month?'
I am enthusiastic and a new idea is born, as so often happens here at KSP. There is inspiration around every corner, or, in this case, inside the covers of an old, out-of-print Katharine Susannah Prichard book of poetry.
Do you agree? Are you interested in reading these poems?
In anticipation of 'yes', and to therefore kick off this new series, please enjoy 'The Earth Lover'. (picture of poem taken amongst the fern fronds of the KSP garden).
Happy Valentine's Day.