The release of an anthology of poems, birthed by the Macedon Ranges’ Chamber Poets movement, will share billing with internationally renowned musical performers and literary talents as part of this weekend’s Woodend Winter Arts festival.
Barista turned poet and editor Ben Oost (pictured) will bring a local flavour to the annual event, taking part in the launch of Shots From The Chamber at The Chamber Art and Coffee House, from 2pm Saturday.
The anthology features some of Australia’s best poets but, like the monthly Chamber Poets open mic events, it’s far from elitist.
‘‘It really reflects what Chamber Poets is,’’ Oost says. ‘‘You’ve got all these fabulous poets, and their work sits right alongside a piece from a nine year-old.
‘‘It’s an opportunity to explore poetry in an exciting way, the way it should be, rather than being the stuffy thing people think it is.’’
Also at the festival, political commentator Laurie Oakes will reflect on five decades reporting on the machinations of governments in a conversation with Sally Warhaft, while former premier John Brumby, who has turned his experiences into a book, will be joined by writer and poet Joel Deane and Michael Bachelard, head of the investigative unit at The Age.
Festival director and celebrated pianist Jacqueline Ogeil will perform 30 Scarlatti sonatas on a copy of the first-ever piano, invented by Cristofori, while Italian accordionist Pietro Roffi and Singaporean pianist Clarence Lee will also fly in for performances.
Author Kate Grenville will speak at Woodend Community Centre, while composer, pianist and scholar Professor Robert Constable will accompany two classic movies in a mini Buster Keaton festival.
Oost says the festival, in its 12th year, continues to be a jewel in Woodend’s crown.
‘The kind of events on offer and all the people it brings in, it’s just great for the town,’’ he says.
This year’s festival program also includes a long list of workshops, exhibitions and sales.
A fireworks show will be held at Buffalo Stadium from 5.30pm Friday.
The Woodend Winter Arts Festival runs June 10-13. For tickets and festival program, visit www.woodendwinterartsfestival.org.au