Cuplet is Newcastle's newest monthly poetry night, focusing on touring interstate and international acts. The project was launched at its gorgeous venue The Beaumont (Hamilton) on August 15 to a packed crowd, with seven feature poets - three international, two Sydney based, one Melbourne based and one Newcastle based poet - taking over the stage for an evening of world-class poetry.
I decided to develop Cuplet after a trip to Sydney, to read at the 'Avant Gaga' poetry night at Sappho Books in Glebe. The Sappho poetry nights have been running for over 15 years, most recently under the stewardship of Toby Fitch - poetry editor of Overland Literary Journal. I realised that Newcastle was missing this kind of event, and I wanted to fill the void.
While Newcastle has a robust scene of open mic nights and local poetry readings, Cuplet offers an opportunity to have touring poets come to us - outside of our two major writers festival periods (Newcastle Writers Festival and the National Young Writers Festival). Newcastle's arts and cultural scene is strong and deserving of a regular, high class event with a wide range of local, interstate and international artists.
The support for the launch was extremely heartening - we had a full house, six poet sponsors (individuals who sponsored the reading fee for a poet), and most audience members donated to cover the remaining costs. The venue was happy to host, and supplied mic and PA as well as offering drinks for the poets.
Newcastle Live, the Newcastle Herald and HunterHunter all covered the launch.
Responses to an audience survey showed that the majority of respondents were more likely to come to a poetry reading if there were an interstate or international artist.
"A wonderful generosity and buzz of excitement. A terrific addition to the burgeoning Newcastle poetry scene." - Dr Trisha Pender, University of Newcastle
"Cuplet is the poetry event I wanted to find when I first moved here." Anupama Pilbrow
Funded by Newcastle (May 2019)