Monthly Archives: July 2019

Poetry Shelf Monday poem: Jeffrey Paparoa Holman’s ‘entrar en el silencio’ (in Spanish/English/German)


entrar en el silencio


entrar en el silencio que no es un silencio

restos de un zapato por boca de un eje

oxidado caldera a un tenedor en el arroyo

estanque de anguilas, donde desmanteló la draga

terminó su canción en un valle de escombreras

entrar en el silencio que no es un silencio


entrar en un silencio que nunca fue

las ruedas de un helecho de germinación lokie

una señal de tren vestido de líquenes

el signo de una mina donde los muertos

todavía persisten perdido a los amantes queridas madres

entrar en un silencio que nunca fue


introducir entonces el mundo sin llamar

la excavación de perforación sluicing tala

agricultura pesca arando un sueño

acarreando una isla de las constelaciones

en el resplandor de un reinado extranjero

introducir entonces el mundo sin llamar


entrar en el silencio entrar entrar la oscuridad

la colmena de la invitación entrar

la majestad Introduce el vino entrar

el desierto mientras que usted puede entrar en

con banderas y entrar con instrumentos

entrar en el silencio  entrar  entrar



enter the silence


entering the silence that is not a silence

remains of a shoe by the mouth of a shaft

rusted boiler at a fork in the creek

pond of eels where the dredge dismantled

ended its song in a valley of tailings

entering the silence that is not a silence


enter a silence that never was

the wheels of a lokie sprouting fern

a railway signpost clothed in lichen

the sign to a mine where the dead

still linger lost to lovers dear to mothers

enter a silence that never was


enter then the world without knocking

digging drilling sluicing felling

fishing farming ploughing a dream

hauling an island from the constellations

into the glare of an alien reign

enter then the world without knocking


enter the silence enter the dark enter

the hive of the invitation  enter

the majesty enter the wine  enter

the wilderness while you may  enter

with flags and enter with instruments

enter the silence  enter  enter



geben Sie die Stille


Eingabe der Stille, die keine Ruhe

bleibt eines Schuhs durch den Mund einer Welle

verrosteten Kessel mit einer Gabel in den Bach

Teich von Aalen, wo der Bagger abgebaut

beendete seine Songs in einem Tal der Tailings

Eingabe der Stille, die keine Ruhe


geben Sie eine Stille, die niemals war

die Räder eines Lokie Sprießen fern

ein Eisenbahn Wegweiser in Flechten bekleideten

das Zeichen, um eine Mine, wo die Toten

noch verweilen, um die Liebhaber lieb Mütter verloren

geben Sie eine Stille, die niemals war


Geben Sie dann die Welt, ohne anzuklopfen

Graben Bohrungen Schleuseneinschlag

Fischerei Landwirtschaft Pflügen einen Traum

Schleppen eine Insel von den Sternbildern

in die Blendung einer fremden Herrschaft

Geben Sie dann die Welt, ohne anzuklopfen


geben Sie die Stille einzugehen die dunkle eingeben

der Bienenstock der Einladung geben

die Majestät geben Sie den Wein geben

die Wüste, während Sie können eingeben

mit Fahnen und mit Instrumenten geben

geben Sie die Stille geben geben


from an unpublished series called ‘Wild Iron’



Jeffrey Paparoa Holman is a Christchurch poet and a writer of non-fiction, and senior adjunct fellow in the School of Humanities and Creative Arts at the University of Canterbury. Born in London, Jeffrey immigrated to New Zealand in 1950, growing up in the Devonport naval base in Auckland, then the coal mining town of Blackball on the West Coast of the South Island. He has worked as a sheep-shearer, postman, psychiatric social worker and bookseller.

Jeffrey’s poetry collection As Big as a Father was longlisted for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (2003). In 2007, Jeffrey and Martin Edmond won the Copyright Licensing Limited Award giving them $35,000 each towards a non-fiction project. Best of Both Worlds: The Story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau, was published by Penguin in 2010. Jeffrey was the 2011 Waikato University Writer-in-Residence and in the same year shortlisted for the Ernest-Scott History prize, Australia. In 2012, he was awarded the Creative New Zealand University of Iowa Residency. The resulting book, The Lost Pilot: A Memoir was published by Penguin NZ (2013). In 2014, Jeffrey travelled to Berlin on a Goethe-Institute scholarship, pursuing research for his current project, a family history based on links with his German relations.

Jeffrey’s SHAKEN DOWN 6.3: Poems from the Second Christchurch Earthquake was published by Canterbury University Press in 2012. His most recent collection, Blood Ties: New and Selected Poems was published by Canterbury University Press in 2017.

Poetry Shelf review: Bob Orr’s One Hundred Poems and a Year



Bob Orr, One Hundred Poems and a Year Steele Roberts, 2018



Consider this book of mine

as if it were a rucksack


containing what you might need

if you were to step outside your door.


There are poems heavily knitted

as fisherman’s jerseys


in case you should find yourself

all at sea.  (…)


from ‘Rucksack


Bob Orr was born in the Waikato. He worked as a seafarer on Waitematā Harbour for 38 years and now lives in a cottage on the Thames Coast. In 2016 he received the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry and in 2017 was the Writer in Residence at the University of Waikato where he wrote most of One Hundred Poems and a Year, his ninth collection.

The book looks gorgeous – beautiful cover design with an oxygenated font and layout inside. Everything has room to breathe. Barry Lett’s exquisite drawing of ‘Blue Flowers’ on the cover is revisited in a poem.


Because sometimes you

remind me of a Catalan fisherman

these are the blue flowers of the Mediterranean




With a felt-tip pen

bought in a supermarket

one day you created myriad blue stems


from ‘A vase of blue flowers’ for Barry Lett


The poems are equally full of air and verve. The opening poem, ‘Rucksack’, is a perfect entry point as it likens the collection to a rucksack you might take with you for the day. We can expect poems we might shower with; that favour the casualness of jandals, the toughness of tramping boots, bare feet. The poem’s final image flipped me. Bob’s poetry moves through the air, out in the complicated, beautiful world and then underlines human vulnerability with the final line’s ‘bare feet’:

I wrote them while walking down a road with bare feet.

The collection is steeped in the sea: you will find boats, sea birds, ocean harvests and harbours as Bob travels by land and by ocean. He travels in the present time and he travels back through the past, gathering in friends and places, other poets, beginnings and endings. Poetry, the writing and reading of it, is ever present as the world becomes a page, a script to be read, a poem to be crafted.


I mention the containers

of the Maersk Hamburg Sud or P&O Line


if only because my autobiography

 or even this poem


and the cargo it must carry

would be incomplete without them.


from ‘Autobiographic’


There is death and endings; there is marriage and beginnings.


This evening I fly back

a delta-winged moth


my sadness like moondust

my night vision glowing like an infra-red camera


a stranger to these parts

gliding between the bittersweet shadows of apartments


to enter again if only I could find them

the strawberry fields that were said to be forever.


How many times and for what purpose

did we have to break

each other’s



from ‘A woman in red slacks’


I missed this book when it came out last year – and it is such a treasure. The fluid lines at times feel like the arc of a bird drifting across the sky and at other times draw upon the ebb and flow of the sea – always beautifully measured. Poetry has so many effects upon us – reading this book the effects are both multiple and satisfying. It comes down to music, intimacy and exquisite reflection, and an engagement with the world that matters. I love this book.


Steele Roberts author page











Poetry Shelf audio spot: Victoria Broome reads ‘The Heart of My Father’


cover 2.jpg




Victoria Broome, ‘The Heart of My Father’ from How We Talk to Each Other, Cold Hub Press, 2019




Victoria Broome has published poems in literary journals and anthologies, was awarded the CNZ Louis Johnson Bursary (2005) and has twice been placed in the Kathleen Grattan Award (2010, 2015). How We Talk to Each Other is her debut collection.


Cold Hub Press author page

Poetry Shelf review of How We Talk to Each Other





Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Starling – Issue 8 Launch at Wellington’s Book Hound


Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.07.00 AM.png


Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.07.47 AM.png

Starling Issue 8 will go live on Tuesday 23 July, and to celebrate we’ll be holding a launch party on Saturday the 27th at Newtown’s finest bookstore, Book Hound!

There will be readings from ten of the writers featured in the Issue 8:

Rose Lu
Sinead Overbye
Rose Peoples
Danica Soich
Mel Ansell
Vita O’Brien
Cadence Chung
Isabelle McNeur
Claudia Jardine
Rebecca Hawkes

Come along and enjoy some of the best new writing around, and help us celebrate the new issue!






Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Verb Podcast – Kaveh Akbar & Kim Hill live at Meow

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.05.57 AM.png


Verb Podcast!
Kaveh Akbar & Kim Hill live at Meow (from the 2018 festival)
It was a real honour to host Iranian-US poet Kaveh Akbar at LitCrawl last year. Kaveh was a generous guest and incredibly moving poet. This conversation with RNZ’s Kim Hill was a festival highlight. Listen on our Podcast Page here. Enjoy! (And whet your appetite for more conversation and poetry in performance coming in 2019…).