Newcastle Launch of Kit Kelen’s ‘Poor Man’s Coat’
The Press Book House
462 Hunter Street, Newcastle, NSW, 2300
Please join us at The Press on Saturday 8th December for the Newcastle launch of Kit Kelen’s new collection, ‘Poor Man’s Coat: Hardanger Poems’ (UWA Publishing). We are utterly delighted to host this launch, featuring one of Newcastle’s best-loved poets. Drinks and nibbles will be provided. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Please note this is a 3.30pm for 4pm start.
This collection marks another level of attentiveness in Kelen’s work. His poems have always delighted with their
wordplay, cryptic lyricism and wry wisdoms. Now he moves closer still to the natural world that so absorbs him,
close enough to smell its breath, to comprehend its agency.
– Judy Johnson
Christopher Kelen has the rare gift of a voice that feels effortlessly, mesmerizingly, unique. In a freezing
landscape where birds are ‘scribbles’ over a ‘fjord like laid paper’ and ‘the heart is cloud adrift’, his phrases
sprout like new leaves in the warmth of spring. Poor Man’s Coat is a delight: a fresh and haunting mix of deep
meditation, witty intelligence and the abundant wonder of poetry’s ‘wise surprise’.
– Jean Kent
Ålvik – setting for the poems in this book – is a sleepy little industrial town, set between the Hardanger Fjord and
its own little mountain for climbing. Behind Ålvik the serious mountains go on forever, all the length of Norway,
till there’s almost no more north. The town is brightly painted and decorated with laughter – a children’s town,
if you remember. The artists and the poets, the singers, the musicians – they live in a fairytale house, where
winter is always coming, even when it has arrived. But spring is pressing too, and summer is an open book,
where the blue goes up forever and a day will never end. The forest is the poor man’s coat. Step in – let other
worlds elapse. Read the leaves as they lie fallen. Follow the trail of light.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christopher (Kit) Kelen is a poet, painter and recovering academic, resident in the Myall Lakes of NSW. Published
widely since the seventies, he has a dozen full length collections in English as well as translated books of poetry
in Chinese, Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish, Indonesian, Swedish and Filipino. In 2017, Kit was shortlisted
twice for the Montreal Poetry Prize and won the Local Award in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. Emeritus Professor at
the University of Macau, where he taught for many years, in 2017, Kit Kelen was awarded an honorary doctorate
by the University of Malmö, in Sweden.