I had the pleasure of meeting poet John Foulcher for the first time last week, at the Canberra launch of his first collection in ten years, The Sunset Assumption, released through fresh NSW publisher Pitt Street Poetry.
I've admired John's economic, varied and memorable work since the early 90s. I'm not sure how I first came across his writing. Perhaps it was during my long years at the ACU in Strathfield, Sydney. The Learning Curve, a collection focussing on John's other life as a secondary school teacher, is a collection on my shelf I come back to time and again for its humour, truth and poignancy.
The Sunset Assumption (I love the ambiguous title) is an unexpected collection from John, centring mainly on the architecture, history, light, mystique, people and pigeons of Paris. It contains some of John's finest work. There are poems on death, torture, loss, anxiety, racism, miscommunication and our often shaky relationship with the divine.
About sixty people filled the back of Paperchain Bookstore in Manuka for the launch. Pitt Street Poetry's John Knight and poet Susan Hampton introduced John and the collection. Following the bash, several of us went for a lovely dinner at a nearby Korean BBQ spot with John, John, Susan, Geoff Page, Alan Gould and other ACT poets.
Congrats to John Knight for starting Pitt Street Poetry in this age where verse means so little to so many. His imprint is a beacon. The work he prints is faultless, timeless.
And thanks to John Foulcher for the writing, poetry/teaching anecdotes and laughter.
LJ, 16 August 2012.