Poetry Shelf celebrates Landfall 241

Landfall 241, edited by Emma Neale, reviews editor Michelle Elvy

Otago University Press, 2021

As Landfall 241 is the final issue edited by Emma Neale, Poetry Shelf takes a moment to toast the stellar work she has done as editor over the past few years. Like the other Landfalls under her watch, the latest issue is a vital compendium of poetry, fiction, reviews, essays and artwork. I am delighted to see a range of familiar and unfamiliar voices, emerging poets and those established, and to traverse wide-ranging subject matter and styles. The winners of the Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition are announced and the artwork is sublime, distinctive, eye-catching.

Bridget Reweti’s stereoscopic photographs invert Allen Curnow’s ‘Unknown Seas’ to become ‘Known Seas’. If you hold the double images at the right distance and look though to the horizon you get a sense of spatial depth. It got me considering how I ‘hold’ a poem and experience multiple shifting depths. The way a poem pulls you into space in myriad ways. The way you float through layers, in focus out of focus, absorbing the physical, the intangible, the felt.

I made a long list of poems that held my attention as I read. Alison Glenny’s extract from ‘Small Plates’ haunted me with its off-real tilts:

The poets move together in flocks. One finds a new song and the others take it up. Developers move in and the poets rise together to find a new perch. The night is a forest with missing eaves. So much wood to build boxes for poems to live in. Each leaf a quarrel over the exact placement of the moon.

In the end I assembled a Landfall reading comprising voices I have rarely managed to hear, if ever, at events. It is so very pleasing to curate a reading from my rural kitchen and feel myself drawn to effervescent horizons as I listen. The print copy is equally rewarding!

The poets in Landfall 241: Joanna Aitchison, Philip Armstrong, Rebecca Ball, David Beach, Peter Belton, Diana Bridge, Owen Bullock, Stephanie Burt, Cadence Chung, Ruth Corkill, Mary Cresswell, Alison Denham, Ben Egerton, Alison Glenny, Jordan Hamel, Trisha Hanifin, Michael Harlow, Chris Holdaway, Lily Holloway, Claudia Jardine, Erik Kennedy, Brent Kininmont, Wen-Juenn Lee, Wes Lee, Bill Manhire, Talia Marshall, Ria Masae, James McNaughton, Claire Orchard, Joanna Preston, Chris Price, Tim Saunders, Rowan Taigel, Joy Tong, Tom Weston

Landfall page here

The readings

Talia Marshall reads ‘Learning How to Behave’

Cadence Chung reads ‘that’s why they call me missus fahrenheit’

Claudia Jardine reads ‘Field Notes on Elegy’

Ria Masae reads ‘Papālagi’

Stephanie Burt reads ‘Kite Day, New Brighton’

Tim Saunders reads ‘Devoir’

Jordan Hamel reads ‘Society does a collective impersonation of Robin Williams telling Matt Damon “It’s not your fault” repeatedly in Good Will Hunting

Rowan Taigel reads ‘Mothers & Fathers’

Trisha Hanifin reads ‘Without the Scaffold of Words’

The Poets

Stephanie Burt is a professor of English at Harvard and has also taught at the University of Canterbury. Her most recent books include Callimachus (Princeton University Press, 2020) and Don’t Read Poetry: A book about how to read poems (Basic, 2019).

Cadence Chung is a student at Wellington High School. She first started writing poetry during a particularly boring Maths lesson when she was nine, and hasn’t stopped since. She enjoys antique stores, classic literature, and tries her best to be an Edwardian dandy.

Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based writer, poet and performer. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and represented NZ at the World Poetry Slam Champs in the US in 2019. He is the co-editor of Stasis Journal and co-editor of a forthcoming NZ Climate Change Poetry Anthology from Auckland University Press. He is a 2021 Michael King Writer-in-Residence and has words published in The Spinoff, Newsroom, Poetry New Zealand, Sport, Turbine, Landfall, and elsewhere.

Trisha Hanifin has a MA in Creative Writing from AUT. Her work has been published in various journals and anthologies including Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand (Canterbury University Press, 2018). In 2018 she was runner up in the Divine Muses Emerging Poets competition. Her novel, The Time Lizard’s Archeologist, is forthcoming with Cloud Ink Press.

Claudia Jardine (she/her) is a poet and musician based in Ōtautahi/Christchurch. In 2020 she published her first chapbook, The Temple of Your Girl, with Auckland University Press in AUP New Poets 7 alongside Rhys Feeney and Ria Masae. For the winter of 2021 Jardine will be one of the Arts Four Creative Residents in The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, where she will be working on a collection of poems.

Talia Marshall (Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne ō Wairau, Ngāti Takihiku) is currently working on a creative non-fiction book which ranges from Ans Westra, the taniwha Kaikaiawaro to the musket wars. This project is an extension of her 2020 Emerging Māori Writers Residency at the IIML. Her poems from Sport and Landfall can be found on the Best New Zealand Poems website. 

Ria Masae is a writer, spoken word poet, and librarian of Samoan descent, born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau.  Her work has been published in literary outlets such as, Landfall, takahē, Circulo de Poesia, and Best New Zealand Poems 2017 and 2018.  A collection of her poetry is published in, AUP New Poets 7.

Tim Saunders farms sheep and beef near Palmerston North. He has had poetry and short stories published in Turbine|Kapohau, takahē, Landfall, Poetry NZ Yearbook, Flash Frontier, and won the 2018 Mindfood Magazine Short Story Competition. He placed third in the 2019 and 2020 National Flash Fiction Day Awards, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His first book, This Farming Life, was published by Allen & Unwin in August, 2020.

Rowan Taigel is a Nelson based poet and teacher. Her poetry has been published in Landfall, Takahe Journal, Shot Glass Journal, Aotearotica, Catalyst, After the Cyclone (NZPS Anthology, 2017), Building a Time Machine (NZPS Anthology, 2012), and she has been a featured poet in A Fine Line, (NZPS). Rowan received a Highly Commended award for the 2020 Caselberg International Poetry Competition with her poem ‘Catch and Kiss’.  She can often be found in local cafes on the weekend reading and writing poetry over a good coffee.

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