JAAM 2013: my taster of treats (so far)


Harvey Molloy (poet and teacher) joined with Clare Needham (JAAM‘s co-managing editor) to edit ‘The 2013 Issue.’ While not enforcing a particular theme, the editors did present several questions that contributing poets could bear in mind: What are you thinking about now? What is your 2013 issue?

This bumper issue is a mix of prose and poetry from established and emerging writers, and reflects the way New Zealand writing absorbs an eclectic range of thought and issues (stunning cover BTW!).

Here is taster of my poem treats so far:

Emma Barne’s ‘I am in bed with you’ is a lushly detailed, astonishing roller-coaster of a poem. It’s hypnotic pattern of decreasing lines and increasing ellipsis takes you back to 1994 and to the white-hot core at the poem’s end.

Helen Yong’s ‘The Tea Ceremony’ is refined in focus. The sweetly crafted detail of the teapot ceremony offers cues to a relationship (he and she, then we).

Vaughan Rapatahana’s ‘it’s 3 a.m. in papatoetoe,’ exudes visual playfulness that makes music chime in your ear.

The melodic narrative is both strange and compelling in Joanna Preston’s ‘Fare.’

There’s the terrific discovery of Natasha Dinnerstein; from the sheer elegance of ‘Articulated’ to the hot beat and pulsing detail of ‘Grecian Urn Dance Remix.’

And Helen Heath’s short poem broken into two parallel blocks (a shudder of silence or synchopation down the middle) like two frontal lobes.

Or David Howard’s dynamic ‘Venture My Word’ that also used parallel blocks of verse to play with breath and movement.

The surprise and vitality of Rachel Fenton’s ‘The Scientist’ (I loved the structure). Loved this poem!

I haven’t started the prose yet, and there still poems to read. I don’t know why, but I always dip in and out of journals, landing wherever a page falls open. This doesn’t provide a view of the editors’ crafted arc, but it is a perfect way to slip poetic treats into a day. In response to the editors’ questions, regardless of whether the contributors addressed them directly, NZ poets have all manner of things on their mind—and like a prism, the poems catch myriad traces of time and place in their light.

Guest editor for 2014 is Sue Wootton.

JAAM link.

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