Monthly Archives: June 2017

Group Two of Phantom Billsticker’s 20/20 online poetry collection goes live today – here’s Kevin Ireland’s pick (Gregory Kan)

 

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After lunch my mother walks into the dining room

and my father and I both

blow our noses.

 

In the past when I thought about people my parents

were somehow

not among them. But some wound stayed

 

wide in all of us, and now I see in their faces

strange rivers and waterfalls, tilted over with broom.

You are watching the brown-paper covers of books grow

 

out around your father, as he dreams there

against the wall, thinking perhaps

how rocks are not quite lands.

 

Gregory Kan, from untitled sequence in This Paper Boat (Auckland University Press, 2016)

Kevin Ireland picked Gregory’s poem and had this to say: “Gregory Kan’s sequences in This Paper Boat are full of self-discoveries and surprises. The words really do swirl around and head off in different directions — just like the paper boats that inspired them.”
Group Two (go here for poems)



Tusiata Avia
‘I cannot write a poem about Gaza’
Fale Aitu/ Spirit House
(VUP, 2016)

picked:

Teresia Teaiwa
‘Fear of Flying (in broken Gilbertese)’
Poetry Foundation site

 

Kevin Ireland
‘Flying across Australia’
Looking out to sea
(Steele Roberts, 2015)

picked:

Gregory Kan
[Any of the sequences]
This Paper Boat (AUP, 2016)

 

Diana Bridge
‘Big Bang’
In the supplementary garden
(cold hub press, 2016)

picked:

John Dennison
‘Sleepers’
Otherwise
(AUP, 2015)

 

Andrew Johnston
‘Deuteronomy’
Fits and Starts (VUP, 2016)

picked:
Bill Nelson
‘The whys and Zs’
Memorandum of Understanding (VUP, 2016)

 

Michael Harlow
‘The late news’
Nothing For It But To Sing (OUP, 2016)

picked:

Paul Schimmel
‘With Words’
Reading the Water (Steele Roberts, 2016)

 

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day celebrate 20 years with diverse

poetry collection

To mark the 20th anniversary of Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day (NPD), 20 leading Kiwi poets were asked to select one of their own poems, something they felt spoke to New Zealanders now. They also chose a poem by an emerging poet, writers they feel make essential reading for us in 2017.

The result is the 20/20 Collection – 40 poems by New Zealand poets who represent the diversity and vibrancy of talent in our contemporary national literature. The list includes Poet Laureates, Ockham New Zealand Book Awards winners, and strong new voices from recent collections and anthologies.

NPD has been running continuously since 1997 and is always celebrated on the last Friday in August. Poetry enthusiasts from all over New Zealand organise a feast of events – from poetry slams to flash and pop-up events – in venues that include schools, libraries, bars, galleries, surf clubs, and parks. This year’s NPD will be held on Friday 25 August.

Launched on May 24, the 20/20 Collection will be published in groups of ten poems between now and NPD. Featured poets are: Jenny Bornholdt and her pick, Ish Doney; Paula Green and Simone Kaho; Vincent O’Sullivan and Lynley Edmeade; Apirana Taylor and Kiri Piahana Wong; Alison Wong and Chris Tse; Tusiata Avia and Teresia Teaiwa; Kevin Ireland and Gregory Kan; Diana Bridge and John Dennison; Andrew Johnston and Bill Nelson; Michael Harlow and Paul Schimmel; C.K. Stead and Johanna Emeney; David Eggleton and Leilani Tamu; Elizabeth Smither and Rob Hack; Richard Reeve and Michael Steven; Robert Sullivan and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku; Bill Manhire and Louise Wallace; Selina Tusitala Marsh and Reihana Robinson; Cilla McQueen and David Holmes; James Norcliffe and Marisa Capetta; and Brian Turner and Jillian Sullivan.

 

Paula Morris, NPD spokesperson for the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, said that she was “excited to see the range of voices selected here, and the ethnic and geographic diversity in the poets chosen by our twenty established writers. This list speaks to a ‘new’ New Zealand literature, and reflects how much our culture is changing and growing.”

Many of the poets featured in the 20/20 Collection will take part in events on 25 August, Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2017. Event organisers are encouraged to register their poetry event online as soon as possible: http://www.nzbookawards.nz/national-poetry-day/how-to-register-your-event/.

 

Now into their second year of naming rights sponsorship of National Poetry Day, Phantom Billstickers will support NPD and 20/20 on the ground, online and in print, with funky billstickers that celebrate our nation’s poets. Business Development Manager Kelly Wilson says, “If given a platform, poetry speaks to people. We are very proud at Phantom to support National Poetry Day and provide platforms all around the country for the poetic voice of New Zealand.”

 

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day is proudly administered by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust.

 

 

 

Notes to Editors

National Poetry Day was established in 1997 with a mandate to celebrate discovery, diversity, community and pushing boundaries. It is a one-day national poetry-event extravaganza held on the last Friday of August each year. This is the second year of National Poetry Day operating under the sponsorship of Phantom Billstickers.

 

Phantom Billstickers is a street poster company which has consistently helped New Zealanders express themselves since 1982. Recognising and supporting home-grown talent has always sat comfortably alongside its commercial campaign work. Phantom actively promotes New Zealand music, art, poetry and culture around the country and across the world, putting poetry on posters and a literary mix of work into cafes via its quarterly magazine Café Reader.

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust was established as a charitable trust in 2014 to govern and manage the country’s two major literary awards – The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and the New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults – as well as National Poetry Day, and to ensure their longevity and credibility.

The 20/20 Collection features work by living New Zealand poets with one exception: Tusiata Avia’s selection of a poem by Teresia Teaiwa. Sadly, Teresia died of cancer in March, aged just 48. She was a much loved and influential

figure in Pacific studies, and ​the committee hopes that her inclusion in 20/20 encourages more people to seek out her important creative and critical work.

 

Paula Morris (Ngati Wai, Ngati Whatua) is an award-winning novelist, short story writer and essayist. A frequent book reviewer, interviewer and festival chair, Paula holds degrees from universities in New Zealand, the U.K. and the US, including a D.Phil from the University of York and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is convenor of the Master in Creative Writing programme at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

 

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Double launch details plus listen to Liz Breslin read ‘Dichotomy’ from her debut collection

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Wanaka poet, Liz Breslin, reads her poem ‘Dichotomy,’ from her first published collection of poems, Alzheimer’s and a Spoon, published by Otago University Press, and to be launched in Wanaka on July 13th.

 

From Liz:

What’s better than a book launch? A double book launch. A double book launch with beer. A double book launch in Wanaka with beer brewed in Wanaka. Words by Liz Breslin and Dominic ‘Tourettes’ Hoey. Books – a novel and some poems. Beer.

Come and listen to Dom and Liz launch their new books. Dom’s novel has been called ‘an unflinching début’ and Liz’s poems have got ‘sheer brio and linguistic flair.’ Since Liz has got the rhymes covered, is Dom bringing reason? Maybe. Probably. Possibly.

He describes his novel, Iceland, as “a tragic love story set in the neighbourhood. It’s about what happens when people are forced to live in a memory of their home. There’s also lots of funny stuff too.”

You’d think funny stuff would be short on the ground in a book about Alzheimer’s, but there’s also humour in Liz’s book. Her back cover blurb says –

“Alzheimer’s and a Spoon takes its readers on a tangled trip. Public stories – a conversation at the Castle of the Insane, online quizzes to determine if you’re mostly meercat or Hufflepuff. #stainlessteelkudos. Personal tales, of Liz’s babcia, a devout Catholic and a soldier in the Warsaw Uprising, who spent her last years with Alzheimer’s disease. There is much to remember that she so badly wanted to forget.”

Dom’s coming to the launch thanks to the Outspoken Festival – and he’s definitely an outspoken entertainer himself. Luc Bohyn, Outspoken’s originator, is excited to bring Dom down as it creates the synergies he enjoyed about Outspoken. Different voices in the same space always make for an interesting evening.

 

Liz and Dom’s books are as diverse and entertaining as their creative careers are to date. Dom has two poem collections and four studio albums to his name – this is his first novel. He also performs spoken word, is working on a one-man play  and spends his time teaching rangatahi excluded from mainstream education.

Liz is known to some people locally for her fortnightly column in the Otago Daily Times, or for her plays, and though she’s had individual poems published, this is her first collection.

“I’m totally completely massively delighted to be published by Otago University Press,’ says Liz. “They’ve been brilliant to work with, and I love having the professional standards and support.”

Liz and Dom are both “pretty good performers” and looking forward to entertaining people when sharing their words at Rhyme and Reason.

 

And what a great place for a celebration! Apart from the name being an obvious fit, Rhyme and Reason have got their own beers on tap, a selection of other local brews, a tonne of enthusiasm and their own font. And what word nerd doesn’t want to have a ook launch in a brewery that has its own font?
Launch details:

Thursday July 13th, Rhyme and Reason brewery bar, 17 Gordon Road, 6pm.

No entry charge. You can pay cash or EFTPOS for books and drinks.

Paper Plus will be selling books and donating 20% of all launch sales of Liz’s book to Alzheimer’s Otago.

 

rsvp: booklaunchwanaka@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

@TheSpinoffTV: Kelly Ana Morey on being a ‘Māori’ writer

A personal essay by Kaipara novelist Kelly Ana Morey. ‘I can’t be the ‘Māori’ writer people want me to be,’ she writes, ‘all I can be is myself.’

Two weeks ago I buried my father. He had a good innings and largely got to die in the privacy and comfort of his own home due to sterling care-giver work by my brother. For which I will be forever grateful to him. It’s not an easy job. After the service we took Dad up to Kaitaia cemetery which has sweeping views across Pukepoto and out to Ahipara. It was a still hazy day and out near the coast a tyre fire raged. Thick black smoke roiling across a galvanised sky as the home fires burnt. I looked around the extended Far North family gathered at the graveside. So many brown faces. If I ever have any doubt about exactly who at least half of me is, all I have to do is come back to Kaitaia. “You’re a Hori just like the rest of us,” the cousins joke as we sit on car bonnets afterwards, frantically sucking at cigarettes and talking about how long it’s been since we gave up the smokes.

And they’re right. I am a Māori. In my own funny way. And it’s connected to here, the Far North where my great grandfather, the Jewish trader, met and married Katerina, a high-ranking Ngāti Kuri woman. They started a family and set up trade stores to service the far northern gum fields. This should be the place I feel the most grounded, and yet I don’t. To be honest I don’t even know why I feel so ambivalent about the north. I think it’s somehow tangled up with my mother’s trenchant unhappiness that is deeply buried here in a location she never learned to love.

Full article here

Good news: NZ poet, Charles Olsen, receives Spanish poetry award

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New Zealand poet Charles Olsen receives the XIII Distinction POETAS DE OTROS MUNDOS (‘Poets From Other Worlds’) awarded by the Fondo Poético Internacional (‘International Poetry Fund’) in recognition of the high quality of his poetic oeuvre.

Son of an Anglican priest and an opera singer, Charles Olsen moved to England in 1981 and to Spain in 2003. He travelled to Spain because of his interest in the Spanish painters Velasquez and Goya, and to study flamenco guitar. He has published the poetry collections Sr. Citizen (Amargord, 2011), which includes a foreword by New Zealand poet Pat White, and Antípodas (Huerga & Fierro, 2016). His poems have been included in anthologies in Spain and Colombia as well as Blackmail Press (editions 28 and 39) and the latest NZ Poetry Yearbook 2017 (Massey University Press). Although he didn’t speak Spanish before moving to Spain now writes many of his poems in Spanish and has also translated many Spanish and New Zealand poets.

He has also taken his poetic vision into different areas such as the performance Agita Flamenco which premiered in the New Zealand pavilion of the Venice Biennale – a show including flamenco dance and piano – and his poetry films, which have been shown in festivals such as Liberated Words (Bristol), Sinestèsia (Barcelona), and ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival (Berlín). He collaborated with video-creations in the show Parpadeos, presented this year in the Netherlands Flamenco Biënnale.

For the last six years he has run the online poetry project Palabras Prestadas (Given Words) with the participation of poets from throughout the Spanish-speaking world and this year he is running a special edition of Given Words in English for the Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day which is open to all New Zealanders.

His partner, Colombian poet Lilián Pallares, with whom he runs the audiovisual producer antenablue – the observed word, has been awarded at the same time the XIV Distinction POETAS DE OTROS MUNDOS. In 2011 she was selected as one of the ten best young writers of Latin America by About.com, New York. Charles recently translated her book of short stories ‘Sleepwalking City‘ into English.

The awards will be presented by the Aragonese poet, Ángel Guinda, president of the Fondo Poético Internacional, on Sunday 9th July of the current year, in Madrid, Nakama Bookshop (Calle Pelayo 22), at 12:30 midday.

The previous distinctions have been awarded to the poets Theodoro Elssaca (Chile), Subhro Bandopadyay (India), Zhivka Baltadzhieva (Bulgaria), Mohsen Emadi (Iran), Ahmad Yamani (Egypt), Inés Ramón (Argentina), Rubén Grajeda Fuentes, ‘Leo Zelada’ (Peru), Nicanor Parra (Chile), Abdul Hadi Sadoun (Iraq), Mohamed Alfaqueeh (Libia), Soleh Wolpé (Iran) and Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania).

Frankie McMillan has tips for Hysteria Writing Competition

Waxing lyrical about poetry

The third category for the Sixth International Hysteria Writing Competition is poetry. That means a poem with the very loose theme “things of interest to women.” Oh, and a maximum of twenty lines, not including spaces. Our writer in residence Alex Reece Abbott has asked some award-winning poets and judges from around the world to share their best pointers for writing poetry for her post this month – big thanks go to the fabulous Frankie McMillan; Camille Ralphs; Jane Clarke and Aki Schilz for their support and valuable insights.

Camille has also kindly shared a poetry generator, so even if you’ve never written a poem before, there’s plenty of ideas to get you started for our deadline of August 31 2017. You can enter the poetry category on the Hysteria website.

Remember, you can make as many entries to Hysteria as you like, and you are not restricted to any category, so you may like to check out our other pointers and generators for flash fiction and short stories too.

So, here’s what my cyberkuia (wise women online) around the world had to say about poetry…

Frankie McMillan

frankie mcmillanAll the best for this project – here are my top tips for poetry…

  • Consider what you’re doing a kind of exploration. See the poem as an interesting journey – be alert and curious as to where it leads you.
  • Let things spill out even if they seem wild or unrelated. Let one thought catch on to another.
  • Don’t record what you already know; fresh insights are more interesting. Judges want to feel as if their view of the world/humanity has been enlarged by reading the poem.
  • Write what you really feel, not what you think you should feel.
  • Stick to the truth, the truth of your perceptions, the truth of your imagination.
  • Use interesting words to texture the poem. Do some research around the topic of the poem, gather a ‘word bank’ together.
  • Write freely and bravely but edit ruthlessly.

Frankie McMillan is a New Zealand short story writer and poet. Her latest book ‘My Mother and the Hungarians and other small fictions’ (Canterbury University Press) was longlisted for the 2017 NZ Ockham Book Awards.  In 2005, she was awarded the Creative New Todd Bursary.

Other awards include winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition in 2009 and winner of the New Zealand Flash Fiction Competition in 2013 and 2015. In 2014, she held the Ursula Bethell writing residency at Canterbury University and in 2017, the University of Auckland/ Michael King writing residency.

 

For the rest of the piece see here

Poetry Shelf interviews Elizabeth Smither: ‘ I think poetry in many ways is a dare’

 

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Elizabeth Smither with Rusty and Sneaky

 

 

 

‘The Labradors have made nests already

simply by lying in the long grass

sucking the green into their bodies’

 

from ‘Lying in the long grass between two black Labradors’ in Night Horse

 

 

I recently read through the alluring stretch of Elizabeth Smither’s poetry; from Here Come the Clouds published in 1975, to the new collection, Night Horse, just released by Auckland University Press. I was drawn into melodious lines, pocket anecdotes, bright images and enviable movement. Harry Ricketts talked about the transformative quality of Elizabeth’s poems in an interview with Kathryn Ryan, and I agree. As you follow reading paths from the opening line, there is always  some form of transformation. The poetry, from debut until now, is meditative, andante, beautiful.

Elizabeth Smither has written 18 collections of poetry, five novels, five short story collections, journals, essays and reviews. She was New Zealand’s Poet Laureate (2001-3), was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry in 2008, the same year she received an Hon D. Litt from Auckland University. She has appeared widely at festivals and her work has been published in Australia, USA and UK.

To celebrate Night Horse (Auckland University Press, 2017), Elizabeth agreed to answer a few questions.

 

‘You can run as fast as Atalanta

who bowled three apples at her suitors

Double Red Delicious’

 

from ‘An apple tree for Ruby’ in Night Horse

 

What sparked your imagination as a child? Was reading a main attraction or did you also write? Did particular books endure?

Reading and writing. I liked to say long sentences to myself as I walked. The first thing I can remember writing about was my pet New Zealand White rabbit. All the usual books of the period: Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, A Girl of the Limberlost  which I found faintly terrifying. I can see these are the precursors of George Eliot and Jane Austen. As a teenager I had a crush on French writers: Colette, Gide, Mauriac, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Simenon. My father was a great novel reader and he impressed on me the sacrifices made by writers like Charles Dickens. I was scared of Quilp in The Old Curiosity Shop and never got past the page on which he appeared.

 

‘The cats are out by the letterboxes

at the ends of long driveways

waiting to see how the night will shape itself.’

 

from ‘Cat night’ in Night Horse

 

Your debut poetry collection, Here Come the Clouds, appeared in 1975, your eighteenth volume, Night Horse, was published in June this year. I see the same poetic attentiveness and ability to assemble detail that both stalls and surprises the reader. Do you see any changes in the way your write poems, or what you bring to poems, over the past decades?

Elizabeth Caffin wrote of an assured voice but I am unaware of it. I think it is more a question of a philosophy: Keats being lost in the leaves of a tree; being most ourselves when we are unconscious of what the self is; not feeling we are the centre of the universe but one of its parts. It is also a balancing act: the outside world meeting the interior; the sad existing alongside the pleasing, our mixed motives and our inability to ever know more than a fraction. In compensation we have the lovely leap of the imagination. I think poetry in many ways is a dare.

 

Have any poets or books affected or boosted your poetic directions?

Wallace Stevens was a huge discovery. I used to spend a year reading a major poet. Stevens, Roethke, Berryman, Plath, Sexton, Bishop, Lowell, Synder, The Beats, Black Mountain. Now I am less of a swot and read wherever I please. And when I am tired and jaded I re-read Hercule Poirot.

 

‘More moon tonight. 14 per cent  bigger

and closer to the earth. The whole sky

seems to leap to greet a visitor.’

 

from ‘Perigee moon’ in Night Horse

 

 

In 1975, very few women poets were getting published in New Zealand. Did you feel you were writing within a community of poets? Men or women? Was it difficult to get your first book out?

Part community, part social movement: Greer, Friedan, Steinem, Kedgley, Mead. The United Women’s Convention. We were all swallowing American poets at that time, looking for a freer way forward. My first book I owe to Sam Hunt who was visiting and found a folder of poems he gave to Alister Taylor. After Alister came McIndoe and then AUP.

 

‘Fast the pulse of the music, every beat

clear as a little stream running over stones’

 

from ‘At the ballet’ in Night Horse

 

Your new collection is a delight to read and offers so many poetic treats. I was thinking as I read that your poems are like little jackets that can be worn inside out and outside in. In stillness there is movement and in movement there is stillness; in musicality there is plainness and in plainness there is musicality. In the strange there is the ordinary and in the ordinary there is the strange. What do you like your poems to do?

I want them to do everything. Everything at once. I want them to feel and think (and feel the thinking in them as you read). I want them to be quick, in the old sense of the word: the opposite of dead. I want them to not know something and try to find it out – I would never write a poem with prior knowledge – I think ignorance can be bliss or at least start the motor. And as I write more I find out more and more about musicality. Isn’t one of the loveliest moments in music when harmony breaks through discord as though it is earned and you know that discord, instead of being a thicket or a dark wood, is part of it?

 

 

‘Down their sleeves (his jacket, her blouse)

run currents the early evening stars detect

and whose meaning is held in great museums’

 

from ‘Holding hands’ in Night Horse

 

I love that idea! What attracts you in the poetry of others?

Boldness, form (the pressure of it), language as clear as it can be, given the difficulty or otherwise of the content, not being self-centred, engaging the reader. Visceral was the quality Allen Curnow looked for when I had the temerity to leave a poem in his letterbox. ‘I poked it with a stick and it was alive.’ James Brown does it in ‘Flying Fuck’ (‘The Spinoff, June 9, 2017); Stephen Romer in some lines about cleaning a barn (‘Carcanet Eletter: Set Thy Love in Order)

            ‘Perhaps in our cool northern air

you rose some echelons

being lighter, the barn empty’

 

while Carol Ann Duffy excoriates Theresa May with lines that reach back to the roots of poetry:

‘The furious young

ran towards her through fields of wheat.’

 

 

‘Morals that are so pure they blaze

the sunlight back into the air’

 

from ‘A landscape of shining of leaves’ in Night Horse

 

Janet Frame worked hard to get the rhythm right in her poems and she wasn’t always satisfied (ah, the rogue self-doubt! I adore her musical effects). I find you are able to slow down the pace of your poems so that I linger as reader upon an image, a word, an anecdote, a side-thought to see what surfaces. Does this reflect your process as a writer?

I think, since I write in longhand, it may echo the pauses during composition.

 

Do you, like Janet and countless other poets, have poetry anxieties?

Just the big anxiety, the generalised one. To be better, to get closer, to go deeper, knowing that a rigorous equation awaits. I particularly felt this in ballet: any advance, even within the safety of a spotlight, opened a further and equivalent unknown. My other anxiety is that, having embarked on a poem at speed and decided on a stanza form, the stanzas won’t add up when I have finished.

 

‘Eggs in foil were hidden everywhere

until the taste of sweetness palled.

She sits in an armchair with her bear’

 

from ‘Ruby and fruit’ in Night Horse

 

Your poetry does not slip into a self-confession or grant a window on your most private life, yet it acts as an autobiographical record of your relations with the world, people, animals and objects. How do you see the relationship between autobiography and your poems?

Some of the recent autobiographical poems remind me a little of Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’. Ruminating portraits of friends or events illustrating a friend. The ‘Enigma Variations’ are tender but well-defined, different in tone. Autobiography, to me, has many hazards. We all excuse ourselves and even the most honest and analytic among us favour some perspectives over others. I feel confident that something of ourselves always gets in and reveals more than we can imagine. ‘Am I in this poem?’ has never worried me. I know I am.

 

Are there taboo areas?

No, never. It’s just a case of what you can handle.

 

 

‘It was all those unseen moments we do not see

the best of a friend, the best of a mother

competent and gracious in her solitude’

 

from ‘My mother’s house’ in Night Horse

 

‘Later you’ll scrub individual stains

from the white field: the rim of someone’s glass

down which a red droplet ran, a smear

of eggy quiche, a buttered crumb.’

 

from ‘The tablecloth’ in Night Horse

 

I especially love the ongoing friendship and granddaughter poems, but I particularly love the first poem, ‘My mother’s house.’ Kate Camp and I heard you read this at the National Library’s Circle of Laureates  and were so moved and uplifted that we asked for copies! Unseen, you are observing your mother move through the house from the street (you gave us this introduction) and see her in shifting lights. The moment is extraordinary; are we are at our truest self when we are not observed? There is the characteristic Smither movement through the poem, slow and attentive, to the point of tilt or surprise. The final lines reverberate and alter the pitch of looking: ‘but she who made it/who would soon walk into the last room/of her life and go to sleep in it.’  Do you have a poem or two in the collection that particularly resonate with you?

I’m fond of ‘The tablecloth’ after I observed my friend, Clay, scrubbing at a corner of a white damask tablecloth in the laundry after a dinner party. It reminded me of the old-fashioned way of washing linen in a river. It’s both a doll-sized tablecloth and something almost as large as the tablecloth for a royal banquet around which staff walk, measuring the placement of cutlery and the distance between each chair. ‘Ukulele for a dying child’ tumbles all over itself in an incoherent manner because the subject is so serious and no poet can do it justice. The grandmother poems will probably be ongoing because it is such an intense experience: something between a hovering angel and a lioness. Going back to your remark about ‘My mother’s house’ I agree with the truth that is available in our unobserved moments. Perhaps there is a balance between our social and our private moments which might comprise something Keats called ‘soul-making’.

 

‘Next morning she was called again

to undo the work of her marvellous wrists.

“Miss Bowerman, can you let out the water?”‘

 

from ‘Miss Bowerman and the hot water bottles’ in Night Horse

 

There is no formula for an ending but I often get an intake of breath, a tiny heart skip when I read your poems. What do you like endings to do?

The endings I like best have some extravagance in them, like the ending of ‘Cat Night’ where the road which still retains the day’s warmth turns into carriages and cocottes on the Champs-Elysées.

 

‘Let the street lights mark

the great promenade down which love will come

like black carriages on the Champs-Elysées.’

 

There’s a big difference between the size of a cat and a carriage but the emotion is the same.

 

 

Which New Zealand poets have you read in the past year or so that have struck or stuck?

Diana Bridge, Claire Orchard, John Dennison, yourself in New York, Michael Harlow, Geoff Cochrane and all the laureates.

 

Or from elsewhere?

Lots of Australians. I’ve just read Rosemary Dobson’s Collected Poems.

 

Do you read widely in other genres?

Yes, I particularly like hybrid forms – travelogues that turn into miniature poetry collections, diaries, memoirs that admit to no rules as if they understand the psychology of the reader who is liable to become bored, and also the limits of being an author. My main love remains the novel, followed closely by the short story and the detective story.

 

I was once asked to pick a single New Zealand poem I love to talk about on Summer Noelle. What poem would you pick?

Since Allen Curnow: Simply by Sailing in a New Direction, a biography by Terry Sturm, edited by Linda Cassells and Allen Curnow: Collected Poems, edited by Elizabeth Caffin and Terry Sturm are being published by AUP later this year, and since our pohutukawa are threatened by myrtle rust, I would pick ‘Spectacular Blossom’.

 

‘ – Can anyone choose

And call it beauty? – The victims

Are always beautiful.’

 

 

 

Auckland University Press Night Horse page and author page

Booksellers review by Emma Shi

Radio NZ National review by Harry Ricketts with Kathryn Ryan