Monthly Archives: April 2020

Poetry Shelf interview wth Nick Ascroft

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Nick Ascroft, Moral Sloth Victoria University Press, 2019

 

A heater heats

a Rita Angus, seen

through the steam from the langoustine

with mangosteen.

 

from ‘A Writer Wrongs’

 

‘Nick Ascroft’s Moral Sloth is among other things a virtuoso display of formal skills. He does a particularly classy line in sonnets. He can rhyme as tellingly as Alexander Pope or the Byron of Don Juan – and can match those poets in quickness of thought and even (it seems to me) outstrip them in richness of diction.’—Bill Manhire

 

Nick Ascroft’s latest poetry collection arrived at the end of last year – it had multiple effects upon me at the time and I was dead keen to do an interview with Nick – we started a conversation but then Covid 19 sidetracked everything. I return to the book and here I am again finding sweet rhyme comfort, linguistic agility, biting self exposure, equally biting wit, the humour, the poetic stretching out. Months ago I mentioned ‘a world gone mad’ in a question to Nick. That feels at odds now. Jarring in fact. This is a world off kilter trying to find equilibrium, solutions, ways forward. So many people working hard to care for so many other people. So much risk tasking. Yes there is madness on the ground and in certain leaderships. But there are also multiple comforts. When everything has spun and has seemed impossible to do – poetry has continued to hold my attention. Nick’s book has done just that.

 

Automating word noise from the stroller,

my son defines the wind in onomatopoeia:

‘Zheesh!’

Then he spies the moon, our little naked analogue,

and tells the secret of its abased name.

‘Zig zig zig,’ the bridging cicada agrees.

 

from ‘Naked Analogue’

 

 

Paula: Name three or four poetry books that mattered at different points in your life.

Nick: Sure. I think the ones I remember are the ones that brought me back in shock to the reminder that I love poetry. That it isn’t all just the same bag of grey Countdown sausages. Early on that’s easy. All poems seem great. But the more you read (and write) the harder it is to be impressed. These days I really enjoy certain books of poetry, but few actually get me excited. I am a cold-blooded egg, it must be said. But films, fiction, music are more likely to have me jazzed. I think Eunoia by Christian Bök of Canada was so shockingly good and novel and funny and well-executed that I ate it like a pavlova. All at once. For those who haven’t read it, the author set himself the task of writing five sections based on the five vowels with each section only using words that contained only that section’s vowel, so in the ‘E’ section words like ‘be’, ‘teehee’, ‘letter’ or ‘fecklessness’ could (and must) appear. This may sound like a pure exercise, but the result is just beautiful. Chapter I begins: ‘Writing is inhibiting. Sighing I sit, scribbling in ink this pidgin script. I sing with nihilistic witticism, disciplining signs with trifling gimmicks – impish hijinks which highlight stick sigils. Isn’t it glib? Isn’t it chic? …’ I could go on. The book is from 2001 but I got to it a few years later.

The other that comes to mind is In a Slant Light by Cilla McQueen from I think 2016. I’ve gushed about this elsewhere so I’ll hold back, but I was really captured by this one. It seemed the greatest use of Cilla’s talents to tell her own fascinating life story. I was struck both by the telling and the life in art. It felt empowering. Both those are single poem as whole book numbers. So to give a third I’ll say Byron’s Don Juan, which I finally got to two years ago. I really do prefer to read rhyming poetry, and no one has as much fun with it as Byron in the Don Juan cantos. More than that it showed me what a poet can be at their best. His use of persona and sensationalism and other needlessly frowned upon things, employed without giving a shit, and better still, sometimes pretending to give a shit. It inspired ‘The Plotz’ in Moral Sloth.

 

How loose and gauche.

How loose it goes;

my purple tongue

speaks weeks of prose.

 

from ‘Kay? Syrah? Shiraz?’

 

Paula: I am a big fan of In a Slant Light too – I had really wanted sessions at festivals featuring Cilla and using her poetry / autobiography as a starting point – but wasn’t to be!

I love your linguistic playfulness. Any poets you admire who also do this?

Nick: I am not quite sure what my linguistic playfulness is. It’s one of those things reviewers say of me and I feel my hackles and feckles rising. ‘Nick Ascroft, he plays with words.’ Plays?! PLAYS!? How dare you! I am not playing with language. I am working with it. This is high blinking art. But I do, I play with words. A play on words usually means delivering a pun right? Or some other rhetorical devices like zeugma (‘We stir: I my tea, and he in his grave’). I’m not sure how often I do such things. Not a lot I suspect.

So I presume the playing that is perceived relates more to my attitude to language. My attitude is: I like all the words. Any word can appear in a poem, it just needs a hospitable sentence that restricts its meaning in the right way. In the most delightful way ideally, to jack Mary Poppins. I find words joyous. Some chap smarter than me once said my work made him think of the ‘gay science’, that is the joyful spirit of Provencal troubadours as prized by Nietzsche or some such. So while my subject matter is often bleak, there is a joyfulness in the deployment of words that must come across as playful. I don’t know. Never try and analyse one’s own thing I say. That way boring pastiche lies.

But to the actual question, who else has a playfulness I admire? I think I see it in all the writers I like. David Eggleton’s parroting of the culture back at it relies on his repackaging of the phrases, buzzwords and clichés currently on the world’s lips. He seems to be both mocking the world and celebrating it. On the radio the other day he read a poem full of Z words. Love it. Richard Reeve too is playful, and what I like best is that he’s playful while being vicious, pointed, serious. The Irish and British poets of the last 30 years are lexically obsessed. Don Paterson can be my random exemplar.

 

Paula:  I love play because there are implications of risk tasking, discovery, the unexpected, surprise, less obligation to rules and limits, you can obey rules, reinvent them, abandon them. I am wondering if play can be serious!

I also love the way you move from infectious wit to an intense moment (love, for example). What matters when you write a poem?

Nick: What matters to me is that the idea and its phrasing are entertaining to me. I want to express whatever ideas I’m peddling in a way that gets them across. I want to be generous. That doesn’t always happen, because I also love obfuscation and nonsense. To me poetry is art with language, and language is a wonderful mess of things. I can’t sum up all poems, so I’ll try to think about what matters in particular instances. When I write a sonnet what matters is that I obey the rules: 14 × 5 iambs and a rhyme scheme. I want the rhymes to be novel, enjoyable in themselves while the poem works quietly around them. If a poem has jokes, they have to actually make me giggle. I have to laugh at my own jokes like an ass. I have a real problem with weakly jokey poems. And so a fear that I am writing them. It’s good fear.

 

Paula: I found myself laughing, feeling both comfort and discomfort, being moved in complex ways as I read you book. What hooks you in the poetry of others?

Nick: Many things. Too many things. But ultimately, invention. What comes to mind is the surreal brilliance in the similes of Hera Lindsay Bird. As most people likely to read this are writers themselves, I’m sure you will be familiar with the experience of reading a line and thinking, I never could have written that. That has a brilliance I will never attain. It’s bittersweet. And that’s how I feel about HLB. The intricacy of those similes. The sheer invention. Now I see everyone copying the style, the surreal and intricate and somehow true HLB simile. I don’t say that sneeringly. They are infectious. I feel the same way of Richard Reeve’s ease of invention, and his accuracy at depicting things. At the moment he is writing a poem about rain that I have seen the first few sections of and its makes you see the truths of rain anew. It makes you care about rain. I could never come up with those lines.

 

Not one to plotz, I’m private, careful, flaccid.

How did I change? One moment I wear blouses,

vinyl shoes, I’m pulverised on acid,

the next I’m at the bank discussing houses

or circling with a whiteboard marker ‘hazard

class’, a tucked-in shirt with belted trousers.

I want to understand, to tweeze this tuft.

Did I grow up? Or was my brightness snuffed?

 

from ‘The Plotz’

 

Paula: I saw Hera in a simile battle with USA poet Patricia Lockwood at the Wellington Writers Festival a couple of years ago. Each trying to out do the other, so the session was was like a gigantic poem. At the time it felt like there was a global wave of simile battles, every which way you looked.

Sometimes you get quite personal. There is a little confession in ‘The Plotz’: ‘I’m  private, careful, flaccid.’ Do you have lines you don’t cross? How do you feel about breaking down the privacy?

Nick: The whole of ‘The Plotz’ is uncomfortable confession … sprinkled with self-mythologising. This is not my natural mode, but something I have occasionally indulged in. And that’s how I always saw it, indulgence. Confession and making poems only about oneself were things I thought tired and distasteful. I have completely 180-ed on that. I admire the bravery of confession in other poets these days. It’s only in saying our oddest truths that others can recognise them and feel liberated by it being said elsewhere.

I can think of two lines I am uncomfortable crossing. The first relates to poems of fatherhood. I had a motto going in to the whole breeding business that ‘you become what you hate’. Constant gushing on Facebook: check. Dad dancing: check. I read Amy Brown’s brilliant evocation of those early hellish weeks of infancy, and in a similar vein Chris Stewart in the recent AUP New Poets 6. In the recognition of experience I really value these poems. I remember reading Graham Lindsay’s Lazy Wind Poems a decade ago and really enjoying it, but having a sense that his baby had poisoned his mind. He was now obsessed with this tot and it was suckling on his poetry like a parasite. I was afraid to become that thing. A dad poet fixated on his offspring. It’s a foolish fear and a few of the better poems in Moral Sloth relate to dadhood. But I remain uncomfortable with it. Perhaps it’s in the way ‘dad’ is used as a modifier to denote uncool or hopeless: ‘dad jokes’, ‘dadbod’, ‘dad pants’ (I made that up, but you can imagine what it might mean and it is not flattering).

My other discomfort is naming names. All of my best confessional anecdotes involve other people. I’ll shame myself happily – and certain others who it is humorous to shame – but not everyone.

 

And hello, I am a beaver.

To you my sincerest, I am a starfish

with an old-fashioned disposition.

Ever yours, a beetle, one of many, writing,

amid a rainstorm, of commas, to an eagle.

 

from ‘Good Day, I Am a Horse’

 

Paula: Are you drawn to particular things, subjects?

Nick: Moral philosophy. The human condition. Sanctimony. Hubris. My own pratfalls. Funny cats.

 

Paula: What attracts you to rhyme (I love your rhyme!)?

Nick: I enjoy rhyme more than anything in poetry. For a while that felt enormously unfashionable. It was OK to like the rhymesters of the past with a knowing wince, but rhyme’s time had passed. Or so we thought. People at NASA have a saying: ‘Space is hard’. Meaning it is always likely any mission will crash and burn and only the most meticulous planning will give you a hope in hell. No. Rhyme is hard. It crashes and burns by its very nature. It’s a real craft I think that takes some years of apprenticeship. I am still learning. It has to seem both obvious and invisible, blunt but subtle. That’s more in the lead up, perhaps, but the rhyme words themselves delight me. I recently rhymed ‘triplex’ and ‘shipwrecks’. Giddy. A good near-rhyme can be so rewarding too, for instance in ‘Art Is Weak’ the rhyme of ‘horsemen’ with ‘porcelain’. But I like metrical rhyming poetry ultimately for the puzzle. It’s like a crossword or Sudoku. You labour away at it trying to make it complete, and acceptable. But unlike a puzzle there is no final answer and always room for improvement. At one point in Moral Sloth there are 242 lines of iambic pentameter in a row (including a few sonnets and the 18 stanzas of ottava rima of ‘The Plotz’). I really worry this is off-putting. But it’s what I write.

 

A certain governmental agency

provisioning the arts suggested in

the aftermath that those invested in

opposing such disgusting vagrancy

of moral intellect should hashtag works

of art or prose on Twitter: ‘#CreateAroha’.

 

from The Mosque Attacks’

 

Paula: What good is poetry in a world gone mad?

Nick: The world hasn’t gone mad of course. It remains mad. I am not optimistic that poetry will help. It summons some of the forces in the world perhaps. There are forces for order, forces for chaos, forces that are just like fingers on the inside of a balloon trying to poke outwards, such as comfort. As to good – and evil –  these are such important girders of the human world that shape much of how we live our lives and who we feel it’s okay to look down on, but they are ultimately make-believe. That’s a meaningless thing to say as I’m speaking from within that make-believe world where good and evil are as real as music (also doesn’t exist) or mathematics (I’m on the fence). So the good of poetry? And its good to a mad world, where the word ‘good’ is some fantastical fudge? I am the wrong choice to pontificate on such a thing. I admire people who push the great worth of poetry to society, being someone who writes the darn-goshed stuff, and I also admire those who scoff and suggest poetry is the most worthless garbage.

My only sermon on this front is that if poetry is lowly garbage, which very few read, it has a secret strength. Poets can say anything. We can say the things others would rightly shy away from. There is no personal consequence. We’re already the lowest of the low. And we will never derive a living income from poetry, so the biggest risk is a few sales off a small total. We can say ugly truths and scary falsehoods. An example. I was going to cut a poem from Moral Sloth called ‘The Mosque Attacks’ for two very good reasons. The first being that the mosque attacks in Christchurch are still fresh, still appalling, still punch-to-the-gut sickening to even think about, and the response to them still complex and, to many, problematic. My poem is not even about the attacks. It’s about a Creative New Zealand tweet. The poem, a sonnet, tries to untangle my dislike of CNZ’s post-attacks call to hashtag works on social media with #CreateAroha. The upshot being that it was feelgood vomit. So yes, the first reason to cut, is that my rhymey poem is petty in the face of real tragedy. You all think: and you needed a second reason, man? The second reason was not to bite the hand that feeds. Why attack Creative New Zealand? They are my only chance to make a little money. I thought it absurd I would even consider putting the poem in the collection. I’d shown it to my email poet-circle. That was enough. But those readers didn’t blink or scold me. So I slipped it in the manuscript. I presumed Ashleigh Young would say, this is a bit on the nose, Nick. Nothing. Then I had to cut poems to get down to a slick 80 pages. Surely it would be cut now. I left it. And I left it because poetry sashays under the radar. It can waltz its way through the sacred and taboo. Poetry can say unwise things. This is the good of poetry. More people will read this interview than that poem.

 

Paula: If you were running this interview and wanted to take a swerve what would you ask yourself?

Nick: I’ve thought about this too much, but the question I would suggest is ‘Has success changed you?’ In fact, it would almost be great if you deleted your question and just asked this, so that people might pause and think, but he’s not successful at all is he? Why’s she asking that? Weird.

The reason I’d like the question is that success as a poet is a funny thing. No it really isn’t, actually. If one is celebrated, studied, one’s books sell in large numbers, one wins prizes, awards, fellowships, is asked to panel-beat festivals around the world, and one’s surname becomes sufficient identification, etc. etc., then one is successful. I nearly almost have a couple of those things. But I decided recently that I would think of myself as successful. Everyone can see someone more successful than themselves. So why not? Some people enjoy my poetry, and some people publish it. I’ll take that. And yes, success has changed me. I am much much worse.

 

Paula: Love the question. Might try it on someone else. It’s the stranger coming up to you and saying they liked your book. That’s something I rate. Everything else feels like white noise.

Is there a poem that particularly worked for you?

Nick: Difficult. They all worked enough to be included and all carried their flaws. I like ‘The Plotz’ the most, but a few lines bug me, and I’ll likely be rewriting it until I die. ‘I Coo Haiku High, Eh’, which squashes eight haiku into a sonnet, pleases me very much but it’s a bit of a grand folly. The one I wrote for my father’s funeral ‘A Good Heart’ using Dad’s stock phrases is special to me but similarly is a bit too personal to transcend that. I’ll choose ‘What to Avoid Calling My Next Poetry Collection’, simply because it involved the most work. It was much longer and continuously growing. Ashleigh helped me cull it back to something tighter and more manageable. One of the lines is entirely hers. Is it poetry? I’m not sure that it is. But meh.

 

 

What to Avoid calling the Next Collection

 

You’re Going to Need a Big Old Dictionary

What to Expectorate When Your Expectorating

Fanny Pack of Wolves

Words Good

Dry, Slow, Grinding, Unremitting, Desolate, Endless

 

Dwang Nibbler

Full Metal Jean Shorts

You Don’t Have Time for This

Treat Your Own Neck

Fey Canoes

 

Your Haircut Looks Like a Pauper’s Grave

Your Pauper’s Grave Is a Bit Ooh-Look-at-Me

Unstapleshuttable

People Who Bought This Also Bought Pornography

Smellybutton

 

I Preferred His Early Funny Poems

Just Thoughts Really

Limericks for Pubic Baldness

Charge Conjugation Parity Symmetry Violation for Dummies

Hang on, Nobody Wang Chung a Second

 

Impervious to Criticism

Found Poems of Financial Regulation

Away with Words

Fighting Fire with Fire Extinguishers

There Was an Old Lady from Lucknow

 

Most Eligible Lecturer

You People

Once Were Wordier

Cry Me ¡Arriba!

What to Ejaculate When You’re Ejaculating

 

Suckle on My Verse Teats

Emilio Estevez

10 Child Abduction Fails #3 Is Hilarious

Your Feet Honk Like Tofurkey

Wheeeeeeeee!

 

 

Nick Ascroft was born in Oamaru. His previous poetry collections are From the Author Of (2000), Nonsense (2003), and Back with the Human Condition (2016); in 2018 Boatwhistle published his Dandy Bogan: Selected Poems. He has edited Landfall, Glottis and Takahē and was all-too briefly the Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. He is also a non-fiction author, writing on music and football. Nick is an editor by trade, a linguist by training and a competitive Scrabble player by choice.

Victoria University Press author page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf connections: Vaughan Rapatahana reads ‘kia atawhai – te huaketo 2020’

 

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You also watch Vaughan read the poem on YouTube

 

 

kia atawhai – te huaketo 2020

 

kia atawhai ki ā koutou whānau

kia atawhai ki ā koutou whanaunga

kia atawhai ki ā koutou hoa

kia atawhai ki ā koutou kiritata

kia atawhai ki ā koutou hoamahi

kia atawhai ki ngā uakoao

kia atawhai ki ā koutou ano.

 

ka whakamatea te huaketo

ki te atawhai.

 

kia atawhai.

 

 

be kind – the virus 2020

 

be kind to your families

be kind to your relatives

be kind to your friends

be kind to your neighbours

be kind to your workmates

be kind to strangers

be kind to yourselves.

 

kill the virus

with kindness.

 

be kind.

 

Vaughan Rapatahana

 

 

Vaughan Rapatahana (Te Ātiawa) commutes between homes in Hong Kong, Philippines and Aotearoa New Zealand. He is widely published across several genre in both his main languages, te reo Māori and English and his work has been translated into Bahasa Malaysia, Italian, French, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Five books published during 2019 – in Aotearoa New Zealand, India, United Kingdom. Includes his latest poetry collection ngā whakamatuatanga/interludes published by Cyberwit, Allahabad, India. Participated in World Poetry Recital Night, Kuala Lumpur, September 2019. Participated in Poetry International, the Southbank Centre, London, U.K. in October 2019 – in the launch of Poems from the Edge of Extinction and in Incendiary Art: the power of disruptive poetry. Interviewed by The Guardian newspaper whilst in London.

His poem tahi kupu anake included in the presentation by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas to the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva in November 2019. Interviewed on Radio NZ by Kim Hill in November 2019.

Poetry Shelf connections: Ash Davida Jane on Space Struck by Paige Lewis

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Space Struck by Paige Lewis

Sarabande Books 2019

 

I learn the universe is an arrow

without end and it asks only one question:

 

How dare you? I recite it in bed, How dare

you? How dare you?

 

It seems strange to be writing about poetry right now, while everybody struggles with huge changes to their daily lives. And don’t @ me, I did a BA in English Literature and an MA in writing poetry—I know art is important, but it matters in a completely different way to things like food and housing and medical care. The thing is, this book of poems feels essential. It gives us a whole new perspective on the world—revealing even the most ordinary things as something precious and strange. “Every experience seems both urgent and / unnatural,” Lewis writes, which reads almost as a premonition, printed months ago and truer now than ever.

The first of Paige Lewis’ poems I ever read was “You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I’ve Made Today Warm,” and I was completely charmed from the offset. As the playful tone disassembles into something more fractured and frantic, the poem outgrows itself and starts to take up too much space on the page, breaking out of its couplets. I love the beautiful oddity of the poem’s narrative—“two men / floating in a rocket ship are ignoring their delicate experiments,” they are turning their ship around and coming back to Earth for you. You will take one as a winter husband and one as a summer husband.

This poem does something I’d never read in a poem before—it turns against the authority of its own narrator’s voice. It asks why you should do what it says, even when it can offer you everything:

do you want to know Latin

okay                now everyone

here knows Latin                     want inflatable             deer

deer!

 

You can stand and walk away even as it speaks. You can ignore the men, the deer, the rocket ship. You can leave your sweater behind, even though it might be cold.

 

The collection’s opening poem, “Normal Everyday Creatures,” is just as brilliant, and points to how the voice of the poem controls its perspective, playing a game with us—“I’m going to show you some photos— / extreme close-ups of normal, everyday / creatures.” This voice is a generous guide, offering hints, promising to revise the game. I find it oddly comforting to have—at the very beginning of the book—such a clear acknowledgement of the power the speaker has, to direct our attention to or away from certain things. There’s an honesty in it that makes it easier to trust the speaker, as they ask us to follow them into the dark (and the rest of the book):

And when the path grows too dark to see even

the bright parts of me, have faith in the sound

of my voice. I’m here. I’m still the one leading.

 

Throughout Space Struck, small pockets of the divine appear in ordinary places. St. Francis takes off layer-upon-layer of robes in the corner of a studio apartment. The poet’s bed turns into the “Chapel of the Green Lord,” sacred in all its dishevelment. God’s secretary leaves an exasperated message telling you to “Get real, darling. If He answered all prayers / you’d be dead five times over.” She’s busy but sympathetic, taking a moment out of her day to warn you. These men will take every inch you give them: “if you offer a sorry mouth, they’ll break it.”

And just as the transcendent becomes commonplace, very specific everyday things suddenly seem holy. What an extraordinary thing to be on a train, “approaching the station where my beloved / is waiting to take me to the orchard, so we can // pay for the memory of having once, at dusk, / plucked real apples from real trees.” How strange, to pick fruit with your own bare hands. Stranger still to have to pay money for the experience.

In one of my favourite poems, “The Moment I Saw a Pelican Devour,” the poet asks what makes something a miracle. Is it “anything that God forgot / to forbid”? When women in factories were paid to paint watch dials with radium, they were told “to lick their brushes into sharp points.” This poem reads as a kind of elegy to these women, whose bodies became something unearthly. The miracle, Lewis writes, “is not that these women swallowed light,” but that the Radium Corporation claimed syphilis as their cause of death. They are resurrected here before us, more vibrant than saints, commemorated with dignity and grief.

 

Space Struck is generous with its attention—it focuses in on normal everyday creatures and women lost in time; it pans up to show us the intricacies of admin work in heaven; and it turns outwards to the Voyager space probes. The list goes on, and whatever these poems turn their gaze on they do so with compassion, grace and a hint of playfulness, shining a light on the humanity in everything. The book becomes a showcase of extraordinary things, which seemed, up till now, completely ordinary.

 

Ash Davida Jane

 

Ash Davida Jane is a poet from Wellington. Some of her recent work can be found in Peach Mag, Starling, Scum, The Spinoff, and Best NZ Poems 2019. Her second book, How to Live with Mammals, is forthcoming from Victoria University Press.

Paige Lewis is the author of Space Struck (Sarabande Books, 2019). Their poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Best New Poets 2017, Gulf Coast, The Massachusetts Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. Paige currently lives and teaches in Indiana.

Paige Lewis website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf Lounge: VUP launches Natalie Morrison’s Pins

 

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If all the pins in the world were gathered together
you would be very much pleased.
But all the pins in the world
cannot be gathered
together.

 

 

Welcome to the Victoria University Press launch of Natalie Morrison’s Pins.

Time to pour that wine and draw in close to celebrate a book-length poem I am ultra excited to read.

First some words from editor Ashleigh Young:

 

 

 

Chris Price launches the book:

 

 

 

 

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Natalie gives us a wee taste of the book:

 

 

‘I found Pins extraordinarily witty, perceptive, and moving. The family narrative unspools around two sisters whose pointed obsessions bring us something that echoes Wallace Stevens’ ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ and Anne Kennedy’s 100 Traditional Smiles.’

—James Brown

 

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If you feel like me after these speeches and readings, you will have written down the title as a must-have book. I love the premise. I loved the intimate reading, with glimpses of the kitchen showing in the background. Oh and I love the cover by Todd Atticus.

Sadly you can’t stroll over and tell Natalie how much you loved the reading and get her to sign a copy.  But now that we can get books online from our magnificent independent booksellers – I highly recommend you order a copy of this!

PG

Poetry Shelf and Victoria University Press declare this spellbinding poetry book officially launched.

 

VUP author page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf connections: Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor’s ‘There are many moments where 2 metres might have saved us.’

 

There are many moments where 2 metres might have saved us.

 

At dusk

the gnats turn gold

and ghost the grass.

 

I hear

their winged humming like

an electric miasma.

 

I walk through the swarm with my chin up and

my breath caught

warm in my throat.

 

I wear them

around my shoulders like

a shawl made of shiver and teeth.

 

I pull them close

and hope

the men hear them and know

to keep away.

 

Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor

 

 

Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor was awarded the 2018 Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Prize, and was the co-winner of the 2017 Monash Prize for Emerging Writers. Her work has appeared in a number of literary journals, including Starling, Mayhem, Poetry New Zealand, Landfall, Mimicry, and Min-a-rets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf connections: John Allison’s ‘Corona Contemplative’

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Born in Blenheim in 1950, John Allison returned to live near Christchurch in mid-2016 after 15 years in Melbourne. Prior to that, throughout the 1990s he’d had poems published in numerous literary journals here in New Zealand and overseas. Three collections of poetry were published during that time, and he was the featured poet in Poetry NZ 14. His fifth collection of poetry, A Place To Return To, was published in August 2019. A chapbook of new poems, Near Distance, is projected for publication later this year.

 

 

Poetry Shelf connections: takahē 98 goes online today

 

 

 

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

Kia ora e hoa,

Exceptional times call for exceptional measures, and because we have so much exceptional talent packed into our 98th issue, we’ve made the call to publish this edition online, rather than panic our printer and the postie.

This little gem was all set to go to the printer some weeks ago, but the world is a different place now. So we’re switching around our print and online edition and published this little beauty to our website for your reading pleasure. takahē 99 will be our first print issue for this year, all going well (fingers, feathers and fur crossed).

takahē 98 has perfect prose from our guest poet Tim Upperton, fabulous flash from guest writer Elizabeth Morton, and pages of plenty from our incredible contributors. Tiffany Thornley’s artwork comes alive on-screen, and the accompanying essay from Jane Zusters takes us back to the Women’s Art Movement and a bitterly cold 1970s winter.

So grab your favourite tipple, the good crackers and a wheel of cheese, and settle in for a read that will make you happy to be at home. Or bookmark the site, take a bite here and there, and nip back once the magic has fully settled into your soul.

Whether you nibble, gnaw or annihilate it in one sitting, takahē 98 is the nourishment you’ve been craving.

Kia kaha, and keep in touch.

Please feel free to forward this on to all your creative friends, and get in touch any time if you have any questions.

check out takahē
He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

Kia ora e hoa,

Exceptional times call for exceptional measures, and because we have so much exceptional talent packed into our 98th issue, we’ve made the call to publish this edition online, rather than panic our printer and the postie.

This little gem was all set to go to the printer some weeks ago, but the world is a different place now. So we’re switching around our print and online edition and published this little beauty to our website for your reading pleasure. takahē 99 will be our first print issue for this year, all going well (fingers, feathers and fur crossed).

takahē 98 has perfect prose from our guest poet Tim Upperton, fabulous flash from guest writer Elizabeth Morton, and pages of plenty from our incredible contributors. Tiffany Thornley’s artwork comes alive on-screen, and the accompanying essay from Jane Zusters takes us back to the Women’s Art Movement and a bitterly cold 1970s winter.

So grab your favourite tipple, the good crackers and a wheel of cheese, and settle in for a read that will make you happy to be at home. Or bookmark the site, take a bite here and there, and nip back once the magic has fully settled into your soul.

Whether you nibble, gnaw or annihilate it in one sitting, takahē 98 is the nourishment you’ve been craving.

 

Check out takahē online