Sail Into the Night this Winter!

Sailing high after the success of Ships in the Grr at FRINGE WORLD 2016, Ships in the Night will host their next gig on Thursday 19 May from 7pm at Paper Mountain in Northbridge.

The line-up includes Tristan Fidler from RTRFM 92.1, Laurie Steed well published author and editor, Axel Carrington, Elizabeth Lewis, Hugh Manning and Ciocia Ola.
Bringing the tunes will be New Nausea, the exciting new solo project of Albert Pritchard (Shit Narnia, Pool Boy) and Golden String, weavers of a dream pop tapestry laden with layers of soft beats and keys.

Ships in the Night is a quarterly gig showcasing Perth’s finest local wordsmiths, who bring their words to life on stage alongside talented musicians in a fresh, intimate context.

We caught up with Elizabeth Lewis ahead of her reading on Thursday, to get into her head about the project. Lewis works in a library, and knows how to rock a cardigan. Her poems have been published in Indigo, Quadrant, Cottonmouth and Zadok. She is a collector of moments and loves listening to people’s stories. She is also an accomplished car karaoke diva.

The Australia Times (TAT):  How did you get involved in the Ships in the Night project?

Elizabeth Lewis (EL): A friend wrote to me trying to track down a poem of mine she’d read at another friend’s house a few years ago. I was touched it had stayed with her for so long. It turned out she’s one of the Ships in the Night team and suggested I read at the event some time. I love it when things line up unexpectedly.

TAT: How important is spoken word to you?

EL: Marcella Polain once said to me, ‘A poem when read aloud, is a completely different experience to the poem read on the page’. In spoken word you get a bit of the poet’s visual and aural personality, the bodily experience of this poet at this time in this space; the unique banter, breath, pause and atmosphere of this particular reading. It’s an exchange between the poet as a person or character and their audience. As a reader, sometimes all you can see are blank faces but sometimes you see a grin or a tear or a collective intake of breath or you feel the vibe that something is beating beneath the surface of skin and stance.

TAT: There’s something warm and inviting about doing something like this in winter, does environment lend itself to your choice of works to read?

EL: Well, as long as mulled wine is involved… Just kidding (but can we arrange that?). I’m a fan of sunshine so living in Perth works well for me. To be honest, not really. It can depend on the set-up of a space, or if a specific theme is named, or if everyone is wearing coats and shaking umbrellas I guess, but I’d hope that if the right words are there a poem can transport a listener to any season, place, street, moment, so long as it hits them in the heart.

TAT: You are surrounded by books and people’s stolen moments working in a library, how does that influence your work?

EL: Library work is not always as romantic as imagined. However, Libraries are a space where people tend to make a home away from home or work away from home and where some people find a special nook where 2 days a week or in some cases every day, they slip into the world inside their mind, in a welcoming, cosy, safe, free space. It’s a good place for people watching (as long as you’re not creepy about it).

I hear and see people’s stories every day. I don’t write about them specifically but all those stories, floating around in my head, bumping into each other, sometimes spark their way into a poem, even years later.

I feel like I understand people better because the library attracts such a diverse crowd. The humanity of all this, of all of us, makes itself known in my writing. Having said that, one of my favourite poems by Andrew Lansdown is about a man falling asleep in a library.

TAT:  Are you nervous about the performance?

EL:  Yep!! It’s been a while since I’ve read out loud. Must practice.

TAT: What’s the one theme you feel you explore the most?

EL: How the little things are really the big things in life.

TAT: What can poetry offer to people that prose can’t?

EL:  It can be good for people with a short attention span! I don’t compare the value of each form, I notice if the language makes me say ‘Yes!’ in my head or if it pulls me in and keeps me. I do enjoy poetry because it’s often a snapshot that points to something bigger going on. The trick is to point to that big thing using only and exactly the right words. I could go on but that would require us to sit down with tea, or wine.

TAT:  What’s next for you?

EL:  I’d like to put my poetry somewhere people can find it and read it. I haven’t decided if that’s in a book, on a blog or on people’s fridges in their homes. Could be all three.


When: Thursday 19th May, 2016 (Doors open 7pm for a 7:30pm start)

Where: Paper Mountain, 267 William Street, Northbridge PERTH

Tickets: $10 each, $50 for a group of 6

Info: Intimate space, even if you have a ticket, get in early!