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On the Line: Notes from a factory by Joseph Ponthus

The launch of my translation of Joseph Ponthus's extraordinary work was coloured by sadness. Only weeks before this edition was due to be published in Australia, we heard the tragic news of Joseph's death. Too young, too soon. It has been a tremendous honour to work with his words. Set in the food processing plants of Brittany, the prose poem charts the never-ending challenges of working on the production line, the rhythms of rage and exhaustion, and the attempt, in writing, to preserve one's humanity in such an environment. It is one of the most powerful works I have read, urgent and necessary. And it is horribly sad that the literary world will be deprived of any future works.

We celebrated the launch, as we mourned his passing, with an event that matched readings from the work with musical accompaniment by Laura McDonald (piano) and Beatrice Colombis (violin). The musical pairings - Khatchaturian's Toccata, Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel and an extract from Bach's St Matthew Passion, arranged for piano and violin - were evocative and inspired. Thank you to all our guests who joined us in supporting the Australian Chamber Orchestra's "Foundations" music education program. Together we raised almost $13,500 for primary school children to be supported in their strings music education in one of Sydney's more disadvantaged areas. It is an important and inspiring program, facilitated by dedicated teachers, and it is making a significant difference to these children's lives. Thank you to Caroline Zilinsky of Nanda\Hobbs Gallery and David Collins of Defiance Gallery for your stunning artworks which we were able to raffle in support of this program.


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