Rhyme attracts huge crowds

FOR more than a decade, September has heralded the annual but brief migration of poets towards the green hills of Kenilworth for the popular Kenilworth Poets' Breakfast and on Saturday 25 it's set to happen again.

Organised by the Conondale Range Committee as part of the Kenilworth Celebrates! Festival, the breakfast draws poets from a wide area and an audience from even further.

Committee president and local poet Ian Mackay says he's had people from as far afield as Tasmania who tell him they make a point of timing their northern travels to include the Breakfast at Kenilworth.

“For some, Kenilworth was their first introduction to a form of entertainment that is about as grass roots as you can get. We always invite some great poets but there's invariably others who just pop up on the day and never fail to delight,” Ian said.

Who could forget last years Breakfast where “Irish Joe Lynch” from Mt Mellum moved the audience to tears with his very special approach to “Danny Boy” only to be followed by the outrageously funny Shirley Friend and then capped by Wendy Green's real-life story of winning the Melbourne Cup with Rogan Josh (with the gold cup to prove it).

Making a welcome return to Kenilworth this year will be past Australian Champion John Best, a lanky and laconic poet who never fails to delight audiences.

“Maybe it's that “unknown” factor that has made Poets' Breakfasts become so popular since their accidental emergence at the National Folk Festival more than 20 years ago. Maybe it's the fact that none of us know where the day will go once we get started. You've got some really interesting people looking at the world from some rather different angles and capturing it all in rhyme,” Ian muses.

Shirley Friend, who doubles as the co-ordinator of Poetry for the Woodford festival, will again head the illustrious crew which will include resident ABC poet Harry Donnelly, past champion Mark Feldman and a host of others.

One new feature this year, is the introduction of a laid-back “Follow the Leader” session at 1pm. Poets here have the unenviable task of choosing a poem to follow the previous one and the results are even less predictable than those of the Breakfast.

The Breakfast begins at 8am, in the woodchop area beside the Kenilworth Hall in the town's showgrounds. Entry price is $5. The Conondale Range Committee will be selling real coffee and cake and the Kenilworth Community College will be cooking up breakfasts. Camping is available in the showgrounds. Enquiries to 5446 0131 or Ian 5446 0124

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