Two poems from Kate Camp’s sumptuous new collection

 

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Photo credit Grant Maiden

 

 

Woman at breakfast

for Alice

This yellow orange egg
full of goodness and
instructions.

Round end of the knife
against the yolk, the joy
which can only be known

as a kind of relief
for disappointed hopes and poached eggs
go hand in hand.

Clouds puff past the window
it takes a while to realise
they’re home made

our house is powered by steam
like the ferry that waits
by the rain-soaked wharf

I think I see the young Katherine Mansfield
boarding with her grandmother,
her duck-handled umbrella.

I am surprised to find
I am someone who cares
for the bygone days of the harbour.

The very best bread
is mostly holes
networks, archways and chambers

as most of us is empty space
around which our elements move
in their microscopic orbits.

Accepting all the sacrifices of the meal
the unmade feathers and the wild yeast
I think of you. Happy birthday.

 

©Kate Camp, The Internet of Things, Victoria University Press, 2017

 

Detail

Mr Tumnus, the neighbours’ guinea pig
out in his triangle run. Beside him
the daphne: it’s almost embarrassing
to fall for its charms in yet another winter.

This garage was the stable of the taxi horses
when they pulled their way, steaming,
up from the coast. There was a racetrack there
but they weren’t those kind of animals.

From here I’m looking down on our roof
its grey, regular valleys like a well behaved ocean
and the stairs, their cracks
luminous with pine pollen.

And I’m looking down on buses—
methodical yellow envelopes—
and on the lights changing from red to green,
the black shadows of the pines.

You are not to tell me to be careful but I am,
with all my bags in one hand.

 

©Kate Camp, The Internet of Things, Victoria University Press, 2017

 

The Internet of Things.jpg

 

A sumptuous cover for a sumptuous read that is full of nooks and crannies, things in plain view, just off the edge of the page to track, or exquisitely placed on the shelf of the line. There is a sense of slow contemplation, of lingering and then releasing. For the first time ever, as I perused my list of poems that stuck to me, I couldn’t decide, so cheekily asked permission to post two. ‘Woman at breakfast’ takes the simplicity of an egg to mark the value of life, connections, friendship, memory. Inside and beyond the pulsing image, there are rich layers to dawdle over. It is dedicated to Alice Leila Chidgey. ‘Detail’ borrows the title  from Ursula Bethell’s poem about a garage. Again the aromatic detail, the movement that is andante rather than allegro, and the layers that are brought into life by the terrific ending.

Kate Camp has published five collections of poetry. She won NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry in 1999 and NZ Post Book Award for Best Book of Poetry in 2011 for The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls. You can hear her discuss classic literature with Kim Hill on Radio NZ with Kate’s Klassics. She is the 2017 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow.

Chris Price shares a New Zealand poem on World Poetry Day 2017

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Great choice!
Published on Mar 20, 2017

Victoria International Institute of Modern Letters senior lecturer and New Zealand poet Chris Price shares one of her favourite New Zealand poems for World Poetry Day 2017, written by Sonia Yelich and published in Clung (Auckland University Press, 2004).

The news of Teresia Teaiwa is a sad loss for family, friends, teaching colleagues and students … and poetry

 

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Mother by Teresia Teaiwa

The sky that
Makes possible
A lightening storm

The earth that
Makes possible
A volcano

The ocean that
Makes possible
A tidal wave

The parent
Who endures…outlives…
The child

(Searching for Nei Nim’anoa)

 

Poet, academic, and the director of Va’aomanu Pasifika at Victoria University in Wellington, Teresia Teaiwa, has died following a short illness.

 

Some links:

Victoria University page

A poem tribute from Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, contributor at Huffington Post

 

 

An E-Tangata interview in full  here:

‘Teresia Teaiwa is a poet and award-winning teacher at Victoria University, where she lectures in Pacific Studies — a field she’s described as “literally oceanic in proportions”, covering a region with 1,200 indigenous languages and 20,000 islands spread over a third of the earth’s surface. Here, she talks to Dale, about the complexities of the Pacific, why Pacific Studies matters, and her own complicated cultural heritage — as the child of an African American mother and a Banaban and I-Kiribati father whose community was relocated to Fiji because of British phosphate mining.

Teresia — a nice place to start, often, is names. So could you tell us about your whanau, your aiga, your mum and dad and where you were when you grew up?

I was born in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, but I was raised in Fiji.

Teaiwa is my grandfather’s first name. In Kiribati (pronounced Kiri-bas) it wasn’t customary to have last names. That was a colonial introduction. So my father took his father’s first name as his last name. My father is John Teaiwa. John wasn’t his birth name — that was the name the priest gave to him when he went to school.

Teaiwa is a name from the island of Tabiteuea in Kiribati, which is the largest island in the Gilbert Islands group. Teaiwa is composed of te meaning “the”, ai meaning “fire”, and wa meaning “canoe”. I like to interpret it as the fiery canoe. But when you look for the word aiwa in the dictionary, it has a less poetic rendering — agitation is one of the interpretations that comes to mind.’

An idea for NZ Poetry Day anyone?

PAY WITH A POEM 2017

AWAKEN YOUR INNER POET!

paywithapoem2017

We’re all different. We have different jobs and different habits. We live in different parts of the world. But even if we speak different languages, there’s a powerful voice inside us that never gets lost in translation. It’s the voice of our feelings.

Because we are all poets at heart.

On World Poetry Day, come to Julius Meinl participating locations across the globe and write to brighten your day!  Let’s make today better. Let’s change every day for the better. Write down your feelings over a cup of coffee or a tea and pay it with your own poem for the 4th global edition of Pay with a Poem!

Join us on March 21st. Get a coffee. Get inspired. Pay with a Poem.

See here

My SST review of the refreshed Poetry NZ Yearbook

Book review: Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017 edited by Dr Jack Ross

Dr Jack Ross.

Supplied

Dr Jack Ross.

Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017

edited by Dr Jack Ross

Massey University Press, $35

Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017 
edited by  Dr Jack Ross

Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017 edited by Dr Jack Ross

Wellington poet Louis Johnson established the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook in 1951. It has just received a well-deserved makeover by Massey University Press. The new design is eye-catching, the writing has room to breathe and the content is eclectic. With Victoria and Otago University Presses publishing Sport and Landfall, it is good to see a literary magazine finding a home in Auckland. It is the only magazine that devotes sole attention to poetry and poetics, with an abundant measure of poems, reviews and essays.

Editor Dr Jack Ross aims to spotlight emerging and established poets and include “sound, well-considered reviews”. There are just under 100 poets in the issue, including Nick Ascroft, Riemke Ensing, Elizabeth Smither, Anna Jackson, Michele Leggott and Kiri Piahana-Wong. When I pick up a poetry journal, I am after the surprise of a fresh voice, the taste of new work by a well-loved poet, the revelatory contours of poetry that both behaves and misbehaves when it comes to questionable rule books. The annual delivers such treats.

A welcome find for me is the featured poet: Elizabeth Morton. Morton’s debut collection will be out this year with Makaro Press, so this sampler is perfect with its lush detail, lilting lines and surreal edges. My favourite poem, Celestial Bodies is by Rata Gordon (‘When you put Saturn in the bath/ it floats./ It’s true.’). Fingers-crossed we get to see a debut collection soon.

Mohamed Hassan’s breath-catching poem, the cyst, is another favourite: “In the small of my back/ at the edge of where my fingertips reach/ when I stretch them over my shoulder/ it is a dream of one day going home for good.”

You also get the sweet economy of Alice Hooton and Richard Jordan; the shifted hues of Jackson and Leggott (‘She is my rebel soul, my other self, the one who draws me out and folds me away’); the humour of Smither.

To have three essays – provocative and fascinating in equal degrees – by Janet Charman, Lisa Samuels and Bryan Walpert is a bonus.

Ross makes great claims for the generous review section suggesting “shouting from the rooftops doesn’t really work in the long-term”. A good poetry review opens a book for the reader as opposed to snapping it shut through the critic’s prejudices. However on several occasions I felt irritated by the male reviewers filtering poetry by women through conservative and reductive notions of what the poems are doing.

Ross’ review of Cilla McQueen’s memoir In a Slant Light highlighted a book that puzzled him to the point he did not not know exactly what she wanted “to share”. In contrast I found a poignant book, ripe with possibility and the portrait of a woman poet emerging from the shadows of men.

Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, in its revitalised form, and as a hub for poetry conversations, is now an essential destination for poetry fans. Not all the poems held my attention, but the delights are myriad.

 – Stuff