Emma Shi was the winner of the National Schools Poetry NZ 2013 and the Poetry NZ Prize 2017. She has also been published in literary journals such as Landfall and Starling. She writes at facebook.com/emmlexx.
You can read the poem at The Starling where it was first published.
Louise Wallace‘s poems have been published in literary journals in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., translated into German and Spanish, and anthologised in Best of Best New Zealand Poems, Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page, and Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems. In 2015 she was the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago, Dunedin. In 2016 she represented New Zealand at the Mexico City Poetry Festival. She is the author of three collections of poetry, all published by Victoria University Press, the most recent being Bad Things (2017). She is the founder and editor of Starling, an online journal publishing the work of young New Zealand writers
In the story of the Trojan Horse, after a ten-year siege, the Greeks pretend to sail away and leave a “gift” of a wooden horse on the doorstep of the city of Troy. The Trojans pull the horse into their city. But, under the cover of night, a select force of men creep out of it, torching the city, and thus winning the war for the Greeks.
I am a Greek-New Zealand writer and I am building a horse like this — or, more accurately, I’m allowing it to build itself.
But, in this story, the Trojan Horse is a non-fiction book that I’m writing about the media in Aotearoa — and the warriors are writers. Māori writers, Pasifika writers, French and Chinese and “other” writers. Any writers that haven’t been identified by the press as part of a Pākehā mainstream.
And the city of Troy is Pākehā culture, which I envisage in this book as a walled fortress. In front of this fortress, the horse is taking shape. There are voices clamouring inside it, about to be let out.
The voices belong to some of Aotearoa’s foremost writers: Tusiata Avia, Tina Makereti, Chris Tse, Paula Morris, and Karlo Mila, among many others, who I’ve interviewed for my upcoming book, The Outliers: Who do we want to be?
Founded from her central Wellington flat in 2016, Mimicry was born from Holly’s enthusiasm for her friend’s creative endeavours and desire for a forum that published work just for the sake of it. Self-described as “Aotearoa’s most playful journal”, Mimicry was intended from the outset to be, almost subversively, relaxed, organic, and unintimidating.
Working at Victoria University Press as an editor at the time, Holly had valuable insights into the operation of New Zealand’s literary community. This put her in a prime position to just create the exact kind of publication she wanted herself. She was prepared to be reckless and sink money and time into something new, to test the waters of what she could do and how she could showcase the works of people she admired.
We talked to Helen about poetry that has been meaningful to her over the years, and why poetry isn’t just for weddings and funerals.
Is there anything about NZ poetry that sets it apart do you think?
I think our poetry is often very funny. I love the self-awareness and self-deprecating humour in a lot of New Zealand poetry.
Regarding poets who write about the natural world from their lived experience, I think New Zealand poets have a way of enmeshing ‘nature’ and self in their work which speaks to how interconnected many of us (New Zealanders) are with our environment.
I could be biased, but I also think New Zealand poetry is of a consistently high standard.