It was a warm last day of summer . Perfect for a garden party. And perfect to celebrate the launch of Sonia’s first poetry book. I felt privileged to say a few words and to be the one to launch this gorgeous poetry book into the ouvré of Sydney’s 2021 poetry scene. Below is the speech I read for the occassion.
The mathematics of love by Sonia Hunt. The garden party was held in the garden of Sonia and David’s daughter’s home in Killara. Lovely to gather with a group of interested friends for this celebration.
Speech for the Launch of The mathematics of love
Thank you David. And thank you Phillipa and Simon, Josh and Chloe for welcoming us to your home.
And Sonia today is your day. I am privilege to say a few words to welcome your poetry book, The mathematics of love, into the ouvré of Sydney’s 2021 poetry scene.
Firstly the covers very smart . .looks like a team effort !! and the feel of the book is gorgeous . You must be so proud. Even your name snuck in could be part of a mathematical solution.
Sonia has divided the book into 10 small sections with original Sonia pithy quotes to begin each section. My favourite was in the section called Gradient of Love a very mystical set of poems and Sonia heads it by the words
In the quiet creek the wattle grows wild in mystery
another one in the section headed Circumstantial
Grace was a veil on a tree
This leads to the last few chapters of deep mystical poetry.
Sonia also includes some notes on the poems on the last pages but the very last page in honourable placing is a photo of Cleopatra the cat strolling down the lane and this is inspired by Sonia’s daughter Sarah who is living in Geneva.. So Sarah you can feel very much included here with us today.
What is most interesting about Sonia’s poetry is the irony with its humorous sometimes called ‘tongue in cheek’ touch which has you reading and rereading with your inner being smiling to itself. This is especially so in the first section of five poems under the title Berry Love
eg after a mathematical treatise on the flesh of a humble berry where two voices are cleverly interwoven and there is irony in both voices . . that ‘controlled humour’ that plays thru these early poems. As I read the poem those of you who know David will hear the second voice and relate to the way Sonia has created his voice in the poem.
Let me read Berry love to you pg 14
Some of you will hear the inspiration of other poets the touch of William Carlos Williams and in others TS Eliot’s flight of fancy with the cats that feature as characters in her poetry. As you enjoy reading you will find Sonia’s poetry is quite eclectic but that ironic sense is never far from the surface. And the sensual as in –
An Orange for you pg 19
Then I told you
to close your eyes
as I slipped a sliver of orange
from my mouth into yours
and you moaned slightly.
in To my Coy Mistress where she writes,
in the persona of Cleopatra the cat she has the philosophical-challenged Cleopatra lazing back in the sun as only cats can do, saying:‘I like to practice the quietest techniques espoused by Lao-Tau/ when relaxing on the garden bench. They enable me to doze in an aura of unconditional acceptance.
and can you see Cleopatra saying:
“A box is a perfect place to meditate on the infinite absurdity of life: its awkward symmetry, its compactness and its sober predictability creates a feeling of the hollowness of existence”
What humour and satire is in play here.
This poem gives honour to the 17th century metaphysical poets and to Andrew Marvelle’s poem of the same name and Sonia has a detailed explanation on page 88.
So you have a very interesting read ahead of you. and with the fresh images and wonderful turn of phrase and sensuality of words it will be a treat for you to savour.
I’d like to share a quirky tongue in cheek poem with you
Read Package pg 49
And a poem dear to our hearts Man of Flowers dedicated to one of our great poets who has passed..
Read Man of Flowers pg 47
Just to finish a stanza from one of the Leura series that Phillipa will share and which shows a beautiful joyful side of Sonia is Swinging in the rain . The notes at the back of the book note this as a take on Gene Kelly’s song Singing in the Rain as he tap-danced across our screens in the 1952 movie.
And Sonia writes pg 33
slowly i begin to dance
with a song in my throat
and a leopard
just dancing and swinging
in the rain.
I have come to know Sonia over the past 10 years in our evening poetry meetings with our convenor Norm Neill at the NSW Writers Centre, Rozelle and over coffee and her favourite Kettle chips where we read our poetry and critique each others writings. This takes a sense of trust and courage and binds us in friendship.
And today thanks to Stephen Matthews AOM at Ginninderra Press the publication of a new book is born
Sonia graduated through three careers. Firstly as a English/History teacher in schools both in England and Sydney, then moved to Teacher-librarian and finally becoming a School Counsellor and Psychologist. She proudly related to me that thru the three professions she is proud of the fact that she worked with young people at all stages Kindy to Year 12. as both teacher and school counsellor.
Well I feel she can now add a fourth sting to her bow . . that of poet
with her first book of poetry mathematics of Love which iis my perfect segway to say
The mathematics of love by the poet Sonia Hunt is well and truly launched..
It is time to celebrate the hard journey of writing . Phillipa will share her thoughts and we can enjoy our friendship and the yummy spread Sonia and David have presented for us to share with a glass of bubbly .