The art of reflecting on region just write

By Shepparton News

Former Shepparton Art Gallery director Joe Pascoe has reflected on his time in the region by writing a book.

The new book titled Gum Tree Burning consists of a large series of poems that have been strongly influenced by Mr Pascoe’s time in regional towns.

Mr Pascoe said his time living in Shepparton was reflected in many of the poems.

‘‘I lived in rooms of old pubs in Shepparton and I stayed in little spots around the countryside, including a farm house in Tatura,’’ Mr Pascoe said.

The book is divided into three sections, which incorporates a range of different topics including rural life experiences, museum culture and a memorial chapter to his mother.

The book took more than a year to write and Mr Pascoe said he travelled to Shepparton numerous times to write sections of the book.

‘‘Coming back to Shepparton really connected me with past feelings and also memories which help shape my writing,’’ he said.

Melbourne publishing house Reading Sideways Press produced the book and Mr Pascoe said the book’s language was easily accessible and tapped into life experiences that were relatable within a community.

‘‘There is a crossover between my love of art and the language I use,’’ he said.

The author began working as the gallery director in 1998 and continued his work in Shepparton for eight years before moving to Sydney and later to Melbourne.

Mr Pascoe said he felt that during his time as the director, he established the gallery as an open community space.

‘‘For me as a young city boy I felt I had a lot of support and permission to run a lively gallery and we ran basket weaving workshops and even film nights,’’ he said.

Planning for a second book has already begun which reflects a more coastal vibe and is expected to be published in next year.

The Age art critic Robert Nelson will launch the book on Saturday, July 27, at Readings St Kilda.

For more information or to buy Gum Tree Burnings, contact