A POET from Frankston’s past has inspired poetry about the present with the compilation of several love poems about Frankston and its people.
Author and poet Avril Bradley compiled City of Stars: An anthology of love poems for Frankston after researching the life and times of 1920s poet and entrepreneur Annie May (Nan) McClelland.
Nan McClelland and her brother Harry McClelland moved to Long Island in 1912 and established a bohemian scene of creative artists in Frankston by the next decade. Ms McClelland also drove a Frankston Hospital ambulance and hosted the first children’s show on ABC radio during a varied life.
The McClelland Sculpture Park & Gallery in Langwarrin is named in their honour and it was the sculpture of Nan McClelland’s desk by David Murphy, part of the Frankston local arts trail, that prompted Bradley to compile and edit the City of Stars poems anthology.
“It began as a book of my own poetry and then I met a lot of talented poets in the Frankston area,” Bradley said.
Frankston resident Bradley, originally from Middlesbrough in northern England, notes “everyone in Frankston speaks to you and smiles and says ‘hello’ and people are generally very friendly” so she wanted to put together a “love letter” in the form of a poetry book to the city.
Dealing with other poets while working through submissions was not without its challenges.
“We all have big egos. Creative artists are the worst to work with. You have to be extremely careful,” she said.
“There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. I hate writing rejection letters but I wanted the poems not to be ‘happy’ adverts like ‘I love Frankston’ without substance so I had to disappoint a few poets.”
Although some of the rejected poems had merit in their own right Ms Bradley says ultimately some did not fit the book project’s brief.
“These poems have veracity about them and recognise it’s tough at times. I also wanted some of the poems to come to grips with the history of Frankston.”
Personal highlights in City of Stars for Bradley include a poem mentioning “a fellow who used to go around the beach selling blocks on the beach for $50” and areas of Frankston such as Heatherhill turning out to be poetic thanks to “a lovely poem about ladies playing tennis there”.
City of Stars: An anthology of love poems for Frankston, published by Ginninderra Press will be launched at McClelland Sculpture Park & Gallery, McClelland Drive, Langwarrin on Sunday 27 September, 2-4pm.
Entry $20 includes a copy of the book. Light refreshments provided.