Monthly Archives: May 2016

Very excited to spend time with Janet Frame

 

 

 

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Just got a copy! This book looks like a treasure trove.

On music, silence and having guests:

‘How valuable my solitude & silence seem! My guest is very pleasant & more or less goes her own way but I am looking forward to her going & she is wise enough to know it & understand it. I have moved my record-player into the sitting-room so she can listen to it & my study is like death without it & I did not realise the music had been so absorbed into the very walls of the study. The room is alive with it, as a past experience, but while the phonograph is in the sittingroom it is death in here, the whole room so yearns for it. How pathetically fallacious one can be!’

 

Poetry Shelf Postcard: Landfall 231

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We are well served by literary journals at the moment. Each delivers slightly different treats, biases, focuses but all offer high quality writing that resist any singular NZ model.

The latest Landfall (as you can see) has a stunning cover with its Peter Peryer photograph.

Inside: poetry (37 poets!), fiction, non-fiction, art and book reviews (including an excellent review of Anna Smaill’s The Chimes, one of my top fiction reads of the past year).

The poets range from the very familiar, whether young or old, to those new to me. And that is as it should be. David Eggleton is keeping the magazine fresh whilst giving vital space to our literary elders and maintaining a strong and welcome Pacific flavour.

 

A tasting plate of lines that got me (I seem to have been struck by mothers, fathers, surprising images, little twists):

 

from Brian Turner’s ‘Weekends’:

think of what a place could be

when it’s not what we possess

that counts most

but what we are possessed by

 

from CK Stead’s ‘One: Like a bird’ (for Kay):

You were beautiful, and I

sang, as I could in those days

all the way home—like a bird.

 

from Leilani Tamu’s ‘Researching Ali’i’:

I searched for you in boxes

the archivist muttered poison

 

from Rata Gordon’s ‘A Baby’:

I want to make a baby out of one peach and one prickle.

I want to use the kitchen sponge, sticky rice and a rubber band.

I want to use the coffee grinder.

 

from Siobhan Harvey’s ‘Spaceboy and the White Hole’:

he pictures matter barely visible, the light

of white holes as they transmit their secret

messages, sharp elegies, about letting go.

 

from Ruth Arnison’s ‘The Visit’:

Even from the road her house gave us the creeps.

Pale, communion wafer thin, and disapproving,

its severe windows three-quarter blinded.

 

from Heather McQuillan’s ‘In which I defend my father’s right to solitude’:

our father has a fine tooth way

of finding vulnerabilities

on the outward flanks

the wolf is always at his door

 

from Doc Drumheller’s ‘My Father’s Fingers’:

Days after my father died I felt a sense

of urgency to take care of his hot-house.

 

from Koenraad Kuiper’s ‘from Benedictine Sonnets’:

Mother always knitted particularly socks.

Knitting socks is a fine skill under the lamplight.

 

from Elizabeth Smither’s ‘Three “Willow” Pattern Bowls’:

My father thought I meant the plate

and wrapped one from the china cabinet

I carried it close to my heart

all the way back for a second reprimand.

 

from Bob Orr’s ‘Seven Haiku’:

I don’t care about

frogs

basho’s dead

 

from Will Leadbetter’s ‘Three Variations on “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams’:

Nothing depends upon

the green wheelbarrow

 

Great winter reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf Postcard: Anahera Gildea’s Poroporoaki

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Poroporoaki to the Lord My God: Weaving the Via Dolorosa: Ekphrasis in Response to Walk (Series C) by Colin McCahon 

Anahera Gildea, Seraph Press, 2016

Designed and produced by Helen Rickerby of Seraph Press, this is the most exquisite chapbook imaginable. Add the gorgeous paper stock to the extra heavenly endpapers, the hand stitching and an internal design that is elegant and minimalist and you have a rare poetry treat. It is a work of beauty and all poets will be dreaming of their very own chap book. I for one!

 

XIV

Sometimes it is enough

to sit and look out.

Other times you have to walk

across bone, stone and shell.

 

Anahera Gildea’s poem is written in response to ‘Walk (Series C)‘ by Colin McCahon and is as much for James K Baxter as it is a response to the painting. It is an example of poetry as gift/taonga. Each line carefully stitched like the stitching in the kahu-kuri she makes for Baxter. This poet knows you don’t need many lines on the page to entice a reader to linger. You are walking alongside McCahon’s painting, you are walking along the wild and dark threat and wonder at Muriwai Beach, you are walking the Stations of the Cross and you are walking the poem. It is, for me, a very moving sequence.

 

Anahera (Ngāti Raukawa-ki-Te-Tonga, Kāi Tahu, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Toa, Ngāi Te Rangi) is a Wellington-based writer who has had her poems and short stories published in a variety of journals. She recently completed the Masters of Creative Writing at Victoria University of Wellington and is currently finishing her first novel.
Seraph Press page

Auckland Mayoral Writer’s Grant winner announced: poet Grace Taylor!

congratulations!
Papatoetoe resident Grace Taylor has been awarded the second annual
Auckland Mayoral Writers Grant.
Grace’s winning proposal was for
City of Undone Darlings, a poetry collection
intended for publication in paperback and as an e-book, and for performance.
Mayor Len Brown established the $12,000 grant in 2014 to capture Auckland life
in the written word. It is awarded to local writers on completion of a quality text
work about living in Auckland.
“I established this grant to support our local literary talent to capture our young
city in the written word,” says Len Brown.
“Auckland has a relatively short history, but it is a great history to reflect back on
and a great future to look forward to as our city undergoes a major
transformation.”I’m thrilled at the response we’ve had 55 entries in all, covering a wide range of styles and genres.”
The two other shortlisted writers were Louise Tu’u of Kingsland for Magdalena ofMangere, a script for theatre and film and Professor Tony Watkins or Karaka Bay for Taurere: A history of Karaka Bay -non-fiction.
The grant assessors agreed all three shortlisted finalists were outstanding candidates who demonstrated heart and talent.
They praised Louise Tu’u’s script for its “ambitious reach and fresh and imaginative perspective” and highly commended the scope and range of the ideas in Professor Watkins’ proposal as well as the originality of its emphasis on looking back at the history
of Taurere Karaka Bay in order to look forward.
The assessors also had universal enthusiasm for Grace Taylor’s proposal to
evoke the social landscape of Auckland through five diverse and credible
characters presented with humour and affection.
Dr Scott Hamilton of Glen Eden won the inaugural grant  in 2015 for his project,
Fragments of the Great South Road

Hurrah!The Academy of NZ Literature is launched – Steven Touissant contemplates the NZ poetry scene

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Such noise! So many voices!

Steven Toussaint investigates the contemporary New Zealand poetry scene, and discovers much more than a tale of two cities.

Earlier this year, the Aotearoa/New Zealand literary community celebrated nearly twenty years of its Poet Laureateship with a sold-out gala event in Wellington. The laureates took turns at the podium, in the order of appointment, to read selections from their work, but also to reflect on the laureateship itself, on lives dedicated to poetry. In his opening remarks, the inaugural laureate Bill Manhire joked about English laureates like Robert Southey who ‘turned out poems for royal birthdays’. ‘Fortunately in New Zealand,’ he added, ‘there’s no requirement or expectation that you produce poems for the Queen or Prime Minister.’

Manhire’s remarks and the reading that followed presented a picture of the New Zealand laureate as public servant of the average reader—maybe even one uninitiated to the mysteries of poetry. This isn’t to denigrate the position, only to demystify it a little,tempering some of the pomp and circumstance.

‘New Zealanders are doubtful in an entirely pragmatic way,’ Manhire wrote in a 2011 essay for World Literature Today. ‘They want to give most things, including poems, a bit of a kick to find out just what they’re for.’ He characterises recent New Zealand poetry as ‘very happy with daily life’, and points to fellow laureate Jenny Bornholdt as a master of quotidian lyrics ‘where tradesmen call, children and recipes and baking are often on your mind, and neighbors behave in slightly quirky ways.’ Bornholdt enjoys an immense influence over the current landscape, he suggests, because ‘many of us recognise our lives in her poems.’

 

For the rest of the article go to the Academy website here.

You can also find details on the members, interviews, conversations, articles and other news.

 

Congratulations on the site and the initiative! Anything that will showcase our writers and writing, across both genre and region, is to be applauded. Bravo Paula Morris and team.

And thanks for acknowledging Poetry Shelf, Steven.