Tea & Poetry

Today I began an exciting new project.  Through the Australian Poetry Centre’s “Cafe Poets” program, I had my first session as poet in residence at Chado: The Way Of Tea.

Chado is a beautiful, serene teahouse stocking teas from all over the world, run by Brian Ritchie (of Violent Femmes fame) and his wife Varuni Kulasekera.  I first saw Brian when he performed alongside the Southern Gospel Choir in Sing Salamanca.  I got to know him when he emailed me not long after, having found my work blogs.  Recently, through his Facebook page, I saw that Chado was looking for a new Cafe Poet.  I investigated the program and decided to apply.

The Cafe Poets program is a collaborative venture between a poet and a venue such as Chado.  The poet has a stimulating, relaxing, welcoming environment to come to a few times a week, to write.  In return they hold events such as readings, workshops, etc, and bring clientele in to the cafe – perhaps the kind of clientele that would not be coming in otherwise.

Chado’s previous poet in residence was Anne Collins.  On Sunday I attended her final reading & celebration of her 6 months in residence there.  Chado has a beautiful gallery upstairs, and for the next two weeks you can come in to see paintings inspired by Anne’s poetry, displayed alongside excerpts of the poems.

I am very excited about this residency.  I will be visiting Chado a few times a week to write, and will have regular readings & other events.  I will be posting on my Twitter to let you know when I am going in, so keep an eye out!  I would love people to come in and say hello while I am writing, questions are welcome, so is sharing thoughts & stories with me for inspiration. Brian, Varuni & I also have some ideas brewing about how we can share & display my poetry at Chado, and I’ll be updating here to let you know what’s happening.  And of course, I will be posting here the poetry which I write at Chado.

Chado is a wonderful place and I hope to see you there soon!


Relevant Links:

The Australian Poetry Centre Website
The Australian Poetry Centre Facebook Page
The Australian Poetry Centre on Twitter

Cafe Poets Program info
Cafe Poets on Facebook

Chado: The Way Of Tea

Follow this link to read the application letter I wrote to Paul Kooperman, director of the Australian Poetry Centre, when applying for the program:

Dear Paul,

My name is Rebecca Tilley, I’m a twenty-year-old student, currently in the second year of my Bachelor of Music in contemporary voice at the UTAS Conservatorium of Music.

I’m also a photographer, model, visual artist, and many other things beside, as well as – of course – a writer.

I am very interested in becoming part of the Cafe Poets program, specifically at Chado in Hobart.  I have always been interested in programs such as this, whether it be participating in them as an artist, or helping in the running of them.  Connecting the local community with its beautiful venues & talented artists is something I consider vital.  It is easy in today’s world to become disconnected from other people & the world around you, so any venture that involves connection & collaboration becomes incredibly important & life-bringing to the community as a whole, as well as to the individual.

For me, becoming a Cafe Poet would be a beautiful opportunity to get to know people involved in many worlds – the world of running a cafe, the world of writing, and of course the myriad of paths that each person in a writing audience, or a cafe clientele, comes from.  To have a place to go, a warm & welcoming environment in which to watch the world go by, be at peace and let the inspiration just come, would be wonderful in and of itself.  On top of that is meeting or seeing people from every walk of life who come in to the cafe – to relax, to eat, to meet, to talk.  What could be more inspiring than a hub & meeting point for all these different people?  People are above all what I find fascinating & inspiring.  A cafe, especially a wonderful one like Chado, would be the perfect place.  It would also help me build my public profile as a writer, and in my experience, each new opportunity I get involved with opens up at least one more door of opportunity again.

For the venue I hope the outcomes would be similarly fruitful.  First of all, they would be supporting & encouraging a young Tasmanian artist – one who is not just a writer, but contributes actively to the community in many different artistic endeavours.  Not only is this of course an important and generous thing for anyone to do, it will definitely place the venue in admirable light in the eyes of their clientele and the writing community.

Secondly, they would receive extra publicity – I have a writing blog which can be viewed at the following URL:


This the place to go to if you want to view my poetry & prose.  It is also a very handy advertising tool.  This blog has received as many as 328 views in a single day, 3,623 in a month, and usually receives anywhere from 5 to 30 views a week, depending.  The more poems I post, the more views I get.  If I was in residence at Chado, writing a few poems each time I was there, those poems would go on my writing blog that day – with of course a mention of my residency at Chado, with a link to Chado’s website.  I would also write about my experience at my main work blog and my work Twitter:



which would attract more views again.  Spreading the word through my various websites, not only about how wonderful a place Chado is, but the Cafe Poets program as well, would attract a lot of interest, potentially from people who had not previously heard of either.

Whether you choose me or not, I want to commend you & everyone who works on this program for the wonderful idea.  Tasmania is the perfect place for ventures like this, and can only ever want more.  As I said, I think you are doing incredibly important work, and I’m so excited to hear about it.

Hoping to hear from you soon,

Rebecca Tilley


5 Responses to “Tea & Poetry”

  1. 1 Rohan Rajapakse December 14, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Varuni is a Researcher, execellent cook and a proud Sri Lankan whom I know very well

  2. 2 Bec December 14, 2009 at 9:22 am

    🙂 Any friend of Varuni’s is a friend of mine!

  3. 3 Rohan Rajapakse January 8, 2010 at 5:23 am

    Varuni is a proud product of Sri Lanka

  4. 4 Bec January 9, 2010 at 2:49 am

    And Sri Lanka should be proud of her!

  1. 1 News! « Got Pizazz? Trackback on November 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm

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This blog is the collection of my poetry and prose, in chronological order from most recent to oldest.

Constructive critique is actively encouraged!

I am usually singing words as well as writing them, and make lots of other art. You can find me & my other art at any of the below links. x

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