Monthly Archives: December 2017

A new poem from Joan Fleming: ‘Was the night before’


Was the night before


[because fast and faster aren’t necessarily

[this lucky and the lights burning her feet like

[angry because people are saying “happy hols” and the jingling

[was the first sign the roast was too long in the

[wondering if burnt feet stay burnt like

[decorations and shoved them onto the coffee table like here

[dry streets don’t you remember how we always

[someone is always closing them again, “it’s the flies”

[her favourite, marshmallows liquefying into the mashed

[a skin on it because we left it too long or

[not the smell that sets the alarms off, it’s the smoke’s

[makes my soul slack out she said, those tunes you want to claw your

[“over here” said the Santa, because where were all the little

[crackling, that’s my favourite part even though my mouth can’t

[if I’m going to do it, I’m not going to do it wearing

[be always telling you shut the

[not the family I thought I

[happens when I lit the pine

[bauble just comes right apart in your hand


©Joan Fleming 2017


Joan was one of the highlights for me at the recent Poetry & the Essay conference at Victoria University. Her paper raised important questions on borrowing, acknowledging, taking risks, building conversations, processing different ways of doing and being, especially of being white woman alongside aborigine women. Having had a taste of the poems, I can’t wait for a book to emerge. And I just loved listening to her reading.

This poem, however, is a little – as Joan said – slightly prickly toast to Christmas.

Submissions open for next Sweet Mammalian



Send us your writing, be it a roar, purr, or pip-squeak.

Sweet Mammalian aims for diversity and inclusiveness—we want all different kinds of poetry, from all different kinds of writers. In order to make this possible we need your submissions, so send us your thrilling writing!

Submit up to 5 poems of any length. Please send your work in a single word doc attachment to , and include a short bio note and the titles of your poems in the body of the email.

We are now accepting submissions for Issue Five. The submission deadline is 31 December 2017.

Issue Five will be published in the early months of 2018.


See here






The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems 2017 – Winner Announced



IWW Kathleen Grattan Prize Winners 2018.jpg



International Writers’ Workshop (IWW) is delighted to announce that Janet Newman is the 2017 winner of The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems for her sequence, Tender. The $1000 prize was judged by respected Auckland poet Robert Sullivan.

Tender is a seven poem sequence about Janet’s father, Doug Newman (1919-2008). The poems show him as a farmer, a former WWII soldier, and in old age, revealing both his tough exterior and a covert tenderness. By tracing his life from her childhood to his death at 89 years, the sequence explores the ways in which war invades the lives of veterans and their children.

Ms Newman, a member of IWW since 2012 and a runner-up in The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems in 2014, was born in Levin and raised on a dairy farm at Koputaroa in Horowhenua. She completed a Certificate in Editorial and Publishing at Wellington Polytechnic and worked as a journalist in Lower Hutt, Christchurch and Perth in Western Australia before returning to Koputaroa where she now lives and runs the family farm. She has a Masters of Creative Writing from Massey University and is presently a PhD student at Massey. Her critical and creative thesis looks at New Zealand’s long history of environmentally oriented poetry, and includes a collection of original ecopoems.

Runner-up is Anne Hollier Ruddy of Orewa who began writing poetry in 2006 and has been a member of IWW since 2011. Her poems have appeared in various Australian and New Zealand anthologies, as well as Shotglass Journal, Cordite Poetry Review and Blackmail Press. Her sequence of poems, Ambushed by Gauguin, begins and ends with a reflection of the Mother and Child theme in art with other poems in the sequence exploring it personally in biographical terms.

Mr Sullivan said writing poetry is a journey of discovery and is timeless, whatever the style. He said when writing poetry to think, “Is there an accent on what really matters and not just the right word in the right place?” Of the winning and runner-up sequences he said the poets have submitted their inner hearts. The sequences were new and original, exuded honesty and ‘show, not tell’ while disclosing some aspects of the narrator’s character as well.

About the Prize

The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems has been made possible by a bequest from the Jocelyn Grattan Charitable Trust. It was a specific request of the late Jocelyn Grattan that her mother be recognised through an annual competition in recognition of her love for poetry and that the competition be for a sequence or cycle of poems with no limit on the length of the poems. It is one of two poetry competitions funded by the Trust, the other being the prestigious Kathleen Grattan Award run by the publishers of Landfall magazine.

Previous Winners

This is the 9th year the prize has been contested. Previous winners are:

2016: Michael Giacon for Argento in no man land

2015: Maris O’Rourke for Motherings

2014: Julie Ryan for On Visiting Old Ladies.

2013: Belinda Diepenheim for Bittercress and Flax.

2012: James Norcliffe for What do you call your male parent?

2011: Jillian Sullivan for how to live it

2010: Janet Charman for Mother won’t come to us, and Rosetta Allan for Capricious Memory.

2009: Alice Hooton for America.