Northam’s Bilya Kep Waagnkiny Poetry readings to tell stories of first Australians


Bilya Kep Waagnkiny poets at the York Festival. Picture: Natalija Brunovs
Bilya Kep Waagnkiny poets at the York Festival. Picture: Natalija Brunovs

POEMS telling of the Stolen Generation and Noongar soldiers will come alive in Northam this weekend.

The Bilya Kep Waagnkiny Noongar poetry readings will take place at the Northam Link Theatre on Sunday, November 5, at 2pm.

After performances in York and Quairading, the final poetry reading for the year will be accompanied by didgeridoo player Ian Wilkes and three members of the Perth Symphony Orchestra.

“It’s going to be an exciting collaboration for the group, complementing the poetry with traditional music fused with classical sounds from the orchestra,” music director Ian Wilkes said.

The event will include poems about the Stolen Generation, Noongar soldiers in the Vietnam War and trips through Country by new and established poets.

Bilya Kep Waagnkiny means ‘river water stories’ and the Northam event will include Janet Kickett, Yvonne Kickett, Deborah Moody, Alf Taylor, Rosalie Quartermaine, Merle Narkle-Goodwin, Julie Wynne, Daniel Hansen and Hayden Kickett.

“It’s been quite a journey” Northam Elder and poet Yvonne Kickett said.

“A group of us spent the winter writing poems in Community Arts Network workshops and have been touring our work to other towns, with new poets joining our shows along the way.”

Esteemed Australian poet Alf Taylor, who has grandchildren in Northam, has joined the ensemble and is looking forward to reading to family and friends.

“I’ve read my poetry around the world, but there’s nothing like reading alongside other Noongar poets and to our own community,” he said.

The event is free but seats are limited. Tickets can be booked online at Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/2ljkFD0 or by calling 9226 2422.

Bilya Kep Waagnkiny Noongar poetry readings
Where: Northam Link Theatre, 89 Duke Street East, Northam.
When: Sunday, November 5, at 2pm.
Phone: 9226 2422.

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