Helen Lee

Picture of Helen by Ardy Tibby

(Gallery of Photos from the day are here)

About thirty lesbians gathered at the East Reservoir Senior Citizens Centre at 7A Strathmerton Street at 2 pm on Sunday 27 May 2018 to enjoy the sumptuous High Tea prepared by Claudia and Liz, thanks to a generous donation from Helen. Partway through this splendid occasion of much chatting and eating and drinking Long Breast Press launched Helen Lee’s book of poetry tthemada. 

Anneke from the Matrix Guild did the acknowledgement of Wunrundjeri country followed by a brief overview of the significant work of the Matrix Guild before the Savoury High Tea was served by Claudia and Liz and we could all help ourselves to the feast on offer with drinks including sparkling wine.

Ardy as the emcee, gave a brief overview of the books Long Breast Press has published and  the reasons we published Helen’s book, partly because she asked us 

tthemada was beautifully launched with a heart-felt speech by Helen’s surviving partner Rachel who read excerpts from Helen’s poetry to illustrate just how brilliant her work is. 

Anneke talked about the drawings of grasses she was asked to do by Helen before she died and which give the book another artistic dimension.

Coleen, Barbary and Jean read several of Helen’s poems to give the audience a taste of the depth and breadth of Helen’s poems and as an encouragement to buy the book.

The Dyke Divas took to the stage and sang several songs as a tribute to Helen and to round out the launch proceedings in an uplifting manner.   

Claudia and Liz then served the Sweet High Tea with the scones, bush tucker jam, carrot cake, custard and other sweet delights.    

And this very delightful afternoon of tribute and celebration was wrapped up with sales of Helen’s book, a bargain at $15, as well as the selling of the other five LBP books by Barbary and Ardy, and much mingling of participants.

Thanks to everyone who attended and helped make this celebration a tribute to Helen’s life and poetry and especially to those who bought books to keep Helen’s poetry and lesbian writing alive and well read.

Ardy, Barbary, Claudia and Jean

Sand Hall: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Amazon Acres: You BeautyAmazon Acres, You Beauty: Stories of Women’s Lands, Australia curated by Sand Hall, Shall Publishing, 2016

Evolving from the enthusiasm of the Women's Liberation Movement of the early 1970s, Amazon Acres are Women's Lands of the Mid-North Coast of NSW, Australia. 

Sand Hall, activist from the 1970s, calls on her radical feminism and bush-cred to curate and publish this collection.

You can contact us in the following ways:

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PO Box 168

Brunswick East

Melbourne

Victoria 3057

Australia

About a week before she died of cancer on 13 September 2017, Helen Lee surprised the Long Breast Press Collective by requesting us to publish a book of her poetry. In several conversations with Claudia and Jean, Helen gave clear instructions about which poems she wanted included - and the shape of some of them on the page. This book is a result of these conversations and we are proud that we have been able to bring one of Helen’s dreams to fruition - even if posthumously. The book was launched at a small gathering at Helen’s place.

(You can see a gallery of images from the launch on 27th May, 2018: "tthemada" - Helen Lee)

The Long Breast Press launch of the late Helen Lee’s book tthemada lesbian poetry at Helen’s place in Fawkner in on 10 December 2017 was a relaxed and intimate gathering of Rachel and Helen’s friends.

We acknowledged we were gathered on Wurundjeri country.

Rachel talked about her relationship with Helen and her poetry and sang a moving and loving song in remembrance of her beloved who died on 13 September 2017.

Anneke talked about how Helen had asked her to do drawings of particular Australian grasses to illustrate the book which has enhanced the poetry no end.

The LBP collective members, Barbary, Claudia and Jean read several of Helen’s poems to give everyone an idea of just how talented Helen was as a poet and how well these poems gave a broad impression of Helen’s political and personal life. Helen’s ability to incorporate and overcome the many challenges she’d faced over the years as well as how much love and friendship played a large part in Helen’s way of being in the world was also featured in the poems.

You will find that some of the poems in this collection reflect joyful, mischievous, reflective and loving moments in Helen Lee’s life. Others are darker and may not be as easy to read, yet they, too, portray the reality of Helen’s life and struggle. We hope that readers will choose to read this poetry collection as a whole – in order to remember and gain a rounded impression of, Helen Lee. 

Ardy, who emceed the event, spoke about the photo of Helen she’d taken at a friend’s 70th birthday party and we all agreed how well it fitted in with the kangaroo grass and the blue sky on the back cover.

The LBP collective then said a few words about the process of publishing this beautiful book, thanked everyone who had contributed and declared it launched.

 

Ardy, Barbary, Claudia and Jean

Long Breast Press Collective

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