Mais pourquoi entre parenthèses? Four Highly Mentionable Items from the Poetry Year
A long poem, a magazine, a collected poems and a set of translations.
I had the pleasure of giving the champagne-cracking speech to launch Roger Horrocks’ Song of the Ghost in the Machine (Victoria UP, 2015) in the first half of 2015. This is a single poem of nearly 70 pages. Lovely to read a long philosophical, meditative poem, which pays homage to Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (first century BC).
The third issue of Ika from the Manukau Institute of Technology Faculty of Creative Arts is edited by Anne Kennedy. It includes prose and fine arts design and photography, but poetry is the mainstay of the magazine. MIT writing students are featured, but you will also find work by Tusiata Avia, Courtney Sina Meredith, Kiri Piahana-Wong, Chris Tse, Anna Jackson, Emma Neale, Kent McCarter, and Michael Steven among a host of others. Attractive production.
Collected poems tend to go on-line these days (eg. Kendrick Smithyman’s), but David Howard’s editing of the poetry of Iain Lonie (1932-1988) has produced a well-ordered, hard-cover volume from Otago University Press: A Place to Go On From: The Collected Poems of Iain Lonie (2015). There’s a Preface, a Chronology, A Memoir and an Essay to bind the collection together, with Sources and Notes and Indexes of Titles and of First Lines. The layout is generous. Lonie’s output at just under 300 pages was not large and it is here contextualized and clarified by excellent editing.
Pam Brown’s selection of poems Alibis (Societe Jamais-Jamais: Sydney), translated into French by her partner Jane Zemiro, actually appeared in 2014, but I wanted to mention it for Kiwi readers. The poems are selected from four earlier volumes by Brown and include the poem ‘One Day in Auckland/Un jour à Auckland with its lines:
I’ve woken up early
New Zealand (Aotearoa)
(why bracket that?)
“Mais pourquoi entre parenthèses’ indeed. Nice to read an Australian poet waking us up. There is a Preface from Brown and Zemiro about translation. An earlier version of this Preface appeared in Ka Mate Ka Ora: A New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics, No. 11 (2013) www.nzepc.auckland.ac/kmko/index11.asp
For the poet, the translated poem gives the poet an alibi, ‘slightly displaced,’ having been somewhere else at the time of the translation.