Monthly Archives: August 2017

Tasting Words A Spoken Word, Poetry and Food Walk


3110 – 3138 Great North Rd, New Lynn

2 – 4 pm Saturday 16 September

Tickets $14 from here


On your left as you come up Great North Rd, just before Titirangi Rd going west, there is a cluster of restaurants serving great food – noodle houses, dumpling joints, a kebab shop. There’s also a dairy, a barbers, a vape store, a locksmith, Woottons Auto Accessories and two kinds of tool stores. This strip has got a little bit of something for everyone, including poetry and spoken word fans.

On Saturday 16 September it will play host to a spoken word, poetry and food walk. Six poets will perform their poetry. The restaurants (and the Dairy) will share their food. Its an opportunity to taste the street and hear words that stir the mind and speak to the heart.

Try dumplings from Mr Zhous while attending to Renee Liang’s new poem for the restaurant, have your mouth warmed with a Laksa from the Noodle House as Vanessa Crofskey tells you stories, listen to the resonant tones of Mustaq Missouri while nibbling on falafel at Paashas


The Poets:

Renee Liang is a prolific writer who believes in the power of arts and communities. She has toured seven plays, written three poetry chapbooks, edited eight anthologies of migrant women’s writing, and recently wrote the libretto for both The Bone Feeder opera and Dominion Road the Musical.

Joanna Li is a young poet. In 2016 she was a member of the Michael King Writers Centre Young Writer’s programme and was also awarded a NZ Society of Authors Youth Mentorship.

Maria Ji is an Auckland-based writer, illustrator, and medical student. Her works have appeared in various publications including New Zealand Poetry Society anthologies, Potroast, Signals, and STARLING.

Vanessa Crofskey is a performance artist and spoken word poet. She is a member of Thursday Girls, the team who present Fake American Accent a monthly poetry reading at the Basement Theatre.

Mustaq Missouri is a writer and actor who moved to New Zealand from Shanghai in 2014. He’s performed with Prayas and at the Pop Up Globe. Most recently he played Ahmad in Dominion Rd the Musical.

Jin Xu is a writer and doctor based in Auckland.


The Shops:

Noodle House Malaysian Cuisine, Mr Zhous, Paashas, Sunshine, Noodle Heaven, and Kia Ora Superette

Food: There will be vegetarian options available at Mr Zhous, Paashas, Sunshine and Kia ora Superette


On the 15th of March 2017 the Whau River and Manawa Stream catchment area experienced 65 mm of rainfall within one hour. As a result the intersection of Great North Rd and Clark St flooded and a sink hole opened up underneath Great North Rd. Since then works have been underway to repair the road and widen the culvert. Many of the restaurants along Great North Rd were affected by the flood and its impacts are still being felt. This event is both an opportunity to celebrate Auckland poets and remind people the shops are still open and they should come out and try great local food.

This event is supported by the Whau Local Board through the Whau Community Arts Broker


Media Contact:
Melissa Laing
Whau Community Arts Broker

Hera Lindsay Bird’s event: No Cowards Allowed

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Note from Hera:


I NEVER put on events so you know this is serious. Jack Vening is coming to NZ for the National Young Writers Festival and we have borrowed him for one night only to read alongside some of my favorite fresh, funny & weird NZ writers & comedians Pip Adam Tayi Tibble Rhydian W. Thomas Chris Tse Freya Daly Sadgy and Jonny Potts!

I heard a piece of Jack’s literary Dawsons Creek fanfiction read many years ago at NWYF and it was one of the funniest & most unequivocally brilliant things I have ever encountered. If you like George Saunders or Karen Russell or Lorrie Moore or Mark Leidner or dirtbikes or punching people into submission or high school musical or jokes about Ronald Regan or the sad brawny men of the American Midwest it’s compulsory attendance for you, and if you don’t come Jack will probably put you in a tight, Australian headlock.

I don’t know how else to make you come other than saying, you legally have to, and your mother and I will be extremely disappointed if you don’t. I am so happy with the line up I forgot this was on 9/11. Please bring all your friends, and 0 plane.

Two poetry experiences at Going West’s opening night (note new venue)


Going West Books & Writers Festival:
Opening Night
Friday 8 September, 7pm
Waitakere Central
6 Henderson Valley Road
$30.00 ($25 concession)
Bookings at
(Limited door sales)
Selina Tusitala Marsh : The Curnow Reader
Rod Oram : The Sir Graeme Douglas Orator

Bill Manhire, Norman Meehan, Hannah Griffin and Blair Latham
Small Holes in the Silence: Classic New Zealand poetry set to music

Our new Poet Laureate: Poet and scholar Selina Tusitala Marsh as Curnow Reader will share poems from across her writing life, including reflections on her recent experience as Commonwealth Poet performing at Westminster before the Queen and readings from her new collection Tightrope.

Journalist and commentator Rod Oram will draw on his book Three Cities, to explore the changing political, economic and technological times in which we find ourselves.

Manhire | Meehan | Griffin | Latham perform SMALL HOLES IN THE SILENCE
Classic New Zealand poetry sensitively set to new music
Hannah Griffin (vocals), Blair Latham (saxophone), Norman Meehan (piano), with Bill Manhire reciting the poems.

The poets included in the show are Baxter, Tuwhare, Mitchell, Manhire, Curnow, Campbell, Duggan, and Manhire.



2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards judges announced

Prize-winning authors are among the twelve judges of the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, joining journalists, academics and commentators charged with the task of selecting this country’s finest books of the year.
The Illustrated Non-Fiction category will be judged by Professor Barbara Brookes, whose A History of New Zealand Women won this category of the awards in 2017; Matariki Williams, (Tūhoe, Taranaki, Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Whakaue), a curator Mātauranga Māori at Te Papa, and Kim Paton, director of the public gallery Objectspace.
Poet and novelist Alison Wong, whose novel As The Earth Turns Silver won the New Zealand Post Book Award for Fiction in 2010, will be a judge in the Poetry category alongside Montana New Zealand Book Awards shortlisted poet Robert Sullivan, deputy chief executive, Māori, at Manukau Institute of Technology, and poet, publisher and librettist Michael Harlow.
The Fiction category judges, who will select the winner of the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, are novelist, poet and academic Anna Smaill, whose first novel, The Chimes, was longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker prize; journalist and reviewer Philip Matthews, and bookseller and reviewer Jenna Todd of the Auckland bookshop Time Out, winner of NZ Bookseller of the Year award in 2016 and 2017.
Ella Henry, a lecturer in AUT’s Māori Faculty, is a judge in the Royal Society Te Apārangi Award for General Non-Fiction with editor and award-winning journalist Toby Manhire and former bookseller and publisher, Philip King.
New Zealand Book Awards Trust chairwoman Nicola Legat says the 12 judges in the 2018 awards bring great expertise and mana with them.
“It’s a major commitment to judge these important awards,” says Ms Legat. “We are hugely appreciative of the time and skills our judges bring to the assessment process. We look forward to their selections being announced.”
The judges will make their longlist finalists known on November 28, 2017 and their shortlist on March 6, 2018.
The winners will be announced at an awards evening held as the first public event of the Auckland Writers Festival on May 15, 2018.
The first round of submissions to the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards close on 4 September 2017. Titles published between 1 January 2017 and 31 August 2017 must be submitted no later than 5pm, on this date. Entries for titles published between 1 September 2017 and 31 December 2017 open on 5 September and close at 5pm on Thursday 5 October 2017.Entries can be made via

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, The Acorn Foundation, Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd and the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Poetry Shelf reviews Liz Breslin’s Alzheimer’s and a Spoon – this collection cuts into your skin as reader

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Alzheimer’s and a Spoon, Liz Breslin, Otago University Press, 2017


‘You have measured out your life in online quizzes. You are

a meerkat, Hufflepuff, Janet Frame.’


from ‘Click HERE to start’


Reading Liz Breslin’s debut collection, Alzheimer’s and a Spoon, is a timely reminder that poetry is a scoop for missing things. I am thinking spoon-scoop not breaking news. Even the cup on the table as I write is as hollow as it is present. I cannot remember the details of each morning at breakfast when I sip green tea. I cannot remember the thoughts I had, the articles I read, or the things I said. The cup is my breakfast hollow that contains any number of fading secrets. When I write poetry I might be scooping physical details of the present in order to chart a drifting mind and feeling heart but life is a mis-en-abyme of hard-to-decipher hollows.

For Liz the hollow is so much more resonant and sharp when the hollow is her grandmother, her babcia. A devout Catholic and a soldier in Warsaw’s uprising, the grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease in the last years of her life. It meant for Liz, the past was missing in a missing present.


the glass with the frame in

with holes in for looking

the white thing that holds

the white liquid for tea


from ‘riddle me these’


The collection draws you into the hollow of remembering and borrowing and excavating a woman, a beloved grandmother, and in that gathering all manner of things assemble: spam mail, passport rules, spoons, more spoons:


(..) I spoon feed stories

of my own uprisings, lost


in the hurry to move on, away.

Surprised at how little I

remember of me.


from ‘Spoon theory’


The words twitch on the line and I want to hear them in the air to soak up the aural agility.


Hold it for hours

in the sink of the kitchen

in a day drowned

dark without wondering.


from ‘How to make a cup of tea’


Visually the book is also on the move with cut-out words on some pages reforming to make poetry on the page. The movement underlines the memory fracture, akin to radio static, so we won’t forget that this life is a life hard to pin down. In a poem that calls upon a physical thing, a set of amber beads, the hunger to make chains is striking.


I am threading amber beads

from your old unbroken chain.

Some I will string for Lauren Marie.

She has of you her gymlegs,

fat plaits, doilies, feist.


from ‘Eulogy at the Oxford Oratory’


The final stanza cuts through to why this collection cuts into your skin as reader:


Warm with memory, some will

spill. Some I’ll keep in corners,

hidden glimmers. Much has been lost.


Liz’s debut offers a poetry thicket that snares and scratches your skin. I have read it at least five times because I am still finding my way through the dark and the light patches. Wonderful!


I hear the whispers of your stalwart war

but never from your tongue, never for real

it’s just stories, right? black and grey, blurry


from ‘dichotomy’


Otago University Press page

Liz Breslin website

ODT feature

Listen to Liz read



Applications open for Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship

Stop Press: New venue for Going West this year is in Henderson

Going West Literary Festival has shifted this year! So pleased a venue has been found.

You may have heard that the last weekend, the Titirangi War Memorial Hall’s roof caught fire due to an electrical fault and is out-of-action until well after the Festival. Having considered several alternatives, we are delighted to let you know an excellent new venue has been found in WAITAKERE CENTRAL, West Auckland’s Civic Building in Henderson.

This beautiful, sustainable building (opened in 2006) has excellent facilities, spacious council chambers for the sessions & ample space for catering and conversations.

Located at 6 Henderson Valley Road, it has plenty of parking, is right next to the Henderson Railway Station & is directly behind the main Henderson shops.