Yesterday was a special day as Mark Tredinnick and I officially launched Waterlines into the world.
Photo credits: Maria Sava and Michael Witts.
With a crowd of around 60 attendees we filled out the lounge area of the Robertson Hotel for an evening of poetry and Highlands warmth and hospitality. It was a lovely evening between 4pm and 6pm that saw many family and friends gather from around the state for the formal release of my book.
There are many people I'd like to thank for coming along: firstly, my family for all of their support, not just on the night but for all of the years that led to this. My parents, John and Mary, and sister Esther—it's hard to fathom the true impact that parents have in the lives of their children, but I know mine has been rich in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, language, and the love of the outdoors, which began so early in my life. Thank you for always supporting me and inspiring me to reach as high as I could. Many of the poems in the book are memories of times we've shared and I hope that you read the love in many of the lines that is meant for you! To my wife Ash, who is ever present and patient! What a joy to dedicate the book to you and read to a room of all that you have meant in the development of the book, and more in the shape of our lives these last two decades. Any love in the book and all that I have is for you; and of course, our boys.
To my friends and colleagues from Cedars, I owe a lot of thanks. Especially to Tam, Cath, and Ben who heard early versions of some of the poems in the book and continued to be an unending encouragement through all of the ups and downs of the writing life—to think you would come all the way to Robbo to hear them again, was such a blessing. And, the Encore! Thanks Jess! It was nice to also say to some people that a few people in attendance from Cedars had also been at Ash and my wedding 12.5 years ago, thank you Carol and Michael for your friendship and warmth for all this time.
It was wonderful also to have some amazing poets and writers in the room. I have really felt blessed by the friendships I have made in the last few years in the writing community. Thank you to Ali Whitelock (and Thomas), Daragh Byrne, Judi Morrison, Linda Godfrey, Michael Witts, Kimberly Williams, and Kate Lines. It means so much to have your support, praise, and advice! If you are reading this and don't know those names—go and check them out! I've hyperlinked them, so you have no excuse.
Thank you also to many local friends who came along as well; Carol, Shu and Adam, Simon and Carol, Ben and Kylie, Dan and Raven, Craig and Zoe, Raffy, Michelle [who's as much to blame for the full room, having penned the Guardian article] and Josephine, and everyone else who I met on the night. I hope you had a pleasant evening in poetry and maybe the familiarity of the landscapes in the readings.
Lastly, a very special thank you to Mark Tredinnick who launched the book. This collection is a product of our time together over the last four years, and the hours of mentoring and inspiration I've received under his teaching. I am thankful for all of Mark's expertise and the care in which he imparts his vast wisdom and knowledge of writing. It has been a great honour to learn from him and to now share this special event. Mark read from a letter of support he penned last year when we were seeking its publication. These are some of his kind and generous words from then, and last night:
Poetry alone, Seamus Heaney wrote when he won the Nobel, “satisfies the contradictory needs which consciousness experiences at times of extreme crisis, the need on the one hand for a truth-telling that will be hard and retributive, and on the other hand the need not to harden the mind …” Few manuscripts I’ve read—few finished collections for that matter—demonstrate poetry’s unique capacity to keep us sane and honest, forgiven and accompanied and inspired as well as Peter Ramm’s Waterlines.
His is a dedication to poetry and to the causes his own poetry lyrically serves: care for country, commitment to social justice (the telling of hard and retributive truths and the concomitant work of kindness), the stewardship of beauty, the conservation integrity of human and more-than-merely human systems, care for language.
Whatever love is for, poetry does that: Peter Ramm’s book is an instance.
The collection Peter has crafted is shapely and wise and beautiful. Here is a voice we need to hear; here is a book that will be widely read and quietly but deeply influential. Here, also, is the first book of many.
Thank you all for joining me last night, to see Waterlines sent into the world.
A couple of quick thank yous as well, to the Robertson Hotel for their lovely venue, amazing food, and thoughtful menu options with the launch. I hear there were 14 cocktails of "The Last Word" sold on the night :) And to Maria Sava at the Book Nook for her passion and enthusiasm for a bookstore in Robertson. It was a special event to share with you! Thank you for bringing all your wonderful skills to the night—I couldn't have done it without you.
And to Michael Brennan at Vagabond Press who saw something in my work and backed it in publication. I am forever indebted to you. Thank you for all of your patience with a new writer, who was new to publishing, for your care in shaping the cover and the contents of this lovely book, and for the generosity in all the dealings with bringing a book to print. If you weren't able to attend the launch and would like to grab a copy you can purchase one here: https://vagabondpress.net/products/peter-ramm-waterlines
Here are a few more snaps from the evening. Credit: Maria Sava and Mark Tredinnick