Poetry Live Kicks off 2017 with Anne Kennedy (report from Carolyn Cossey)


Photo credit: MW Sellwood


You know that the year is settling into its groove when Tuesday nights are again occupied with a trip to the Thirsty Dog for Poetry Live. The first session for the year was held on the 7th of February,  with Anne Kennedy as the featured poet.

Anne has recently returned to Auckland from her year as Writer in Residence at Victoria University, to resume her teaching position at Manukau Institute of Technology’s creative writing programme.

Anne’s poems through the night were in turn political, and personal, and always wrapped in her wry humour. Her stage presence was somehow ethereal, and compelling. (Okay, I know, I’m fan-girling, but it really was that good!) She began by dedicating her first poem to the group of Indian students currently facing deportation from New Zealand due to their association with immigration fraud. She touched on Trumpism and its seed stock from observations during her Hawaiian years, with her sonnets.


‘That thing
on the rim of the glass is the sun going down
on America.’


There were familiar favourites, such as ‘Island Bay has a new sea wall’, but we were also privileged  with new material; Anne read from a series ‘Transformations’, based on a poem by her late brother. Her final poem was by fellow MIT lecturer Tusiata Avia, published in Ika 3, ‘We are the diasporas of all of us’.

The scene was set for the evening by the raw blues of MW Sellwood. Finally, the Poetry Live team announced the appointment of Sophie Proctor, to fill the vacant MC spot.


Carolyn Cossey

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