Review of Launch
Hildegard of Bingen – A poetic journey
by Colleen Keating
More than 80 friends , colleagues and fellow poets attended the launch of this “superb and elaborate work” in the Patrick White Room at the Writers Centre NSW Rozelle on Sunday 13th October 2019.
A simple decor focused the attendees on the 12th Century and Rhineland setting for this amazing woman – abbess, artist, musician, herbalist, leader and activist. The room allowed everyone to hear and experience the importance of Hildegard.
Before and after formal proceedings, Colleen’s very good friend Nigel Parry played cello music, that Hildegard would have enjoyed as much as this days participants.
Sue Good – Chair of the Women Writers Group settled the convivial chatter, began proceedings
and introduced Dr Gisela Nittel (Chair of Eastwood U3A group) to launch Colleen’s work.
Dr Nittel’s launch presentation was listened to with great interest and generated ongoing later discussion. Having been born on the Rhine, not far from Bingen, and having her academic study around German literature, her insights were of special importance to the story of Hildegard and Colleen’s poetic approach. Dr Nittel was an excellent choice as launcher, and Colleen was excited that she had been able to accept. During her talk Dr Nittel dipped into Colleen’s poetry and indicated how the poetry and the story really drew us all, into a very real experience.
Colleen responded by thanking Sue and Gisela. Colleen then told the story of her own journey of discovery about this fascinating woman. Colleen segued from PNG experience of the moon landing, through amazing space age photography of our fragile blue planet to a twenty year plus intimate journey in the steps of Hildegard. Colleen’s story was full of enthusiasm and excitement. A title that Hildegard gave to herself was ‘ a feather on the breath of God’ and Colleen read her poem that incorporates this feature into Hildegard’s story. (p57)
Formalities came to a close with two short readings from the work by two of Colleen’s daughters.
Jessica Hay read “A Hum of Learning” (p170). and Bernadine Van Eyk read an extract from “Unearthing Heaven” (p123)
Colleen was kept busy signing copies of her work and answering questions, while Nigel continued to play to a captivated audience. Food and drink had been brought along by various friends and there was a real swirl of conversation.
Colleen made a special mention of thanks to Ginninderra Press for their dedication to publishing poetry and thanked the Medieval Calligrapher Tania Crossingham for her artististy, and the Writers Centre for the use of the venue and quality setting that The Patrick White Room provided.