Picture of Helen by Ardy Tibby
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
Amazon 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.
Long Breast Press was established by a radical feminist collective of lesbians in 2005 to publish books by, for and about lesbians.
Since that time LBP has published four books, Willing Up and Keeling Over: a Lesbian Handbook on Death Rights and Rituals (2007); Lesbians Write On: A Celebration of Contemporary Australian Lesbian Writing (2013); On For Young And Old (2017); Walking to the Edge, Lesbians Are Everywhere: An Australian Lesbian Travel Anthology’ (2020) and co-published two books Esther’s Nine Lives by Esther Olivares (2012); Jo Alexander’s Journey Into My Underworld: An autobiography of a lesbian journey (2015) and Helen Lee's tthemada lesbian poetry (2017)
Long Breast Press acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Woiwurrung language group of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land we write and publish on.
We would like to thank once again all those who have attended our book launches and especially those who have already bought one or more copies of our books. Your invaluable support has not only been encouraging for those of us on the LBP collective who have worked hard over these past many years to bring these books to fruition but it has gone a long way towards boosting the writing morale of the writers and contributors.
Not only that, but each purchase helps us to cover the considerable publishing costs and any surplus left over will go towards helping to publish LBP books in the future.
Ardy, Barbary, Claudia and Jean
Long Breast Press Collective
Postal Address: PO Box 168, Brunswick East, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3057