FRINGE '04 REVIEW: Harry the Dead Poet
Harry the Dead Poet
18-21 Feb, 8pm
Carter Observatory Planetarium
Tickets; Full $8, student/unwaged $7, addict$6, group $6 (4+) door sales only
Reviewed by Nathan Green
Star rating: 3: fun
The Carter Observatory Planetarium was a paradoxical venue for a poet who saves his most ascerbic verse for the hash human kind is making of life here on earth.
Just as we are killing the planet, we are also killing ourselves, Harry Cording tells his audience. He rages against the injustice he sees everywhere, humorously playing around his central theme: Human beings are bad for the planet, and for each other too.
With a staple of poems such as The Sky has Cancer “and it wants to die” and Poet of the Day, in which “. . .the world owes me an apology / for getting itself so fucked up”, Harry delivers poetry with a strong social and environmental conscious. He may be dead, but the world we live in is not far behind because, as Harry says, “my species thinks science is the answer but it has forgotten the question”.
Harry professes to do The Alienation Shuffle along the margins of a society that he has little use for. However, in a show of self deprecating humour he recognises that society also has little use for him, asking a tree whether it minds dying so he can write down a poem that nobody will read.
Harry’s poetry suits performance and Harry is a natural performer, putting on an entertaining and thought-provoking show, despite a woefully small attendance. And although he isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, he doesn’t get too carried away with the importance of it all, using laughter rather than lecture to get his message across.
His poems also read well, which is just as well because I was so impressed I bought his latest book of poetry, The Invisible Parade. That is the strongest compliment to an entertaining evening because at the end of the day, the critic rarely pays.
Harry has declared himself dead because dead poets get all the kudos. He’s not dead, but one day he will be so Wellington’s poetry fans owe it to themselves to check him out while they still can.