Monthly Archives: August 2021

Poetry Shelf poems: Amy Marguerite’s ‘Locations of Interest’


       Locations of Interest

       I am beginning the current lockdown with a reflection.

       Since last lockdown I’ve

  • Acquired my full drivers license
  • Chipped my two front teeth in Ponsonby
  • Learned how to bottle-feed a newborn
  • Lived in four different houses
  • Cried myself to sleep in four different beds
  • Experienced my first optical migraine
  • Wondered why age is more salient than a person’s humanity
  • Bonded with two new felines
  • Decided that emotional pain does have a location
  • Apologised for being an absent friend
  • Used the word ‘sorry’ unnecessarily/too many times
  • Stopped going to the gym
  • Slept for an entire day
  • Fallen out of & back in love with my body
  • Consumed copious amounts of cheese & wine
  • Dismantled my obsession with the Virginia-Vita romance
  • Had poetry published in literary magazines
  • Swum with phosphorescent plankton at Campbells Beach
  • Almost set fire to my diary collection
  • Taken the ECP (x2)
  • Sung lullabies to my plants in the morning
  • Left people before they could leave me
  • Read the Psalms
  • Taught myself how to play the acoustic guitar
  • Started back on antidepressants
  • Accidentally/intentionally continued my streak of not speaking in lectures
  • Developed a particular fondness for the Tūī bird
  • Developed a severe hatred for money
  • Tried tart cherry juice to aid sleep
  • Redefined sex
  • Learned how to use MYOB (business software)
  • Made a new best friend
  • Dropped the same university paper twice
  • Been somebody I’m not
  • Chopped open a kina on the ocean floor
  • Taken a liking to capers
  • Convinced myself into & out of heterosexual preference (laughable)
  • Had an article published in the paper
  • Continued to be hopelessly in love with a person
  • Been trapped in an elevator for an hour
  • Stopped starving myself (hurrah)
  • Realised all my prayers are pleas
  • Become a better (more present/attentive/responsive) listener
  • Come to terms with my idiosyncrasies
  • Read Romantic poetry in the Mount Street Cemetery
  • Trained myself to lucid dream
  • Drawn dead hydrangeas all over my exercise book
  • Relished walks in the rain
  • Immediately & overly attached to affection
  • Regularly flossed my teeth
  • Signed up to Twitter
  • Endured the worst acute gastroenteritis ever
  • Compulsively kept a blog & dream journal
  • Watched my little sister fight her eating disorder
  • Slept overnight on a boat (x2)
  • Experienced Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (x2) 
  • Composed a song about bathtubs & windows
  • Dined & dialogued with accomplished authors
  • Worn in two pairs of blister-conducive leather shoes
  • Decided I like the colour orange

Amy Marguerite

Amy Marguerite (she/her) is a 23 year old writer and student based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Her work has featured in WORD – The Front Line, Salient, Salty Magazine, NZ Herald, Milly Magazine, and the New Zealand Young Writers Festival. Amy’s blog.

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Food Court Poetry readings online

Event by Food Court

Price: Free

Public  · Anyone on or off Facebook

We started off as a reading series and we still are!We’re happy to announce that we will be hosting regular readings at Food Court Books (or on Zoom when conditions demand it) on the first Wednesday of each month.

Each reading will have a zine to go along with it, featuring work by the writers who performed at the event.

We’re kicking off the 2021 season on September 1st.

Poetry Shelf Monday poem: Elizabeth Welsh’s ‘all the intertidal meadows’

all the intertidal meadows


my therapist casually suggested that I embody seagrass; this seemed dangerously close to social prescribing, but I had been reading Fontaine with its daymares repeatedly that autumn, together with articles on forest bathing, which seemed earthy, hungry, darkly prescient, so I experienced the briefest of pauses before I embraced it, placing a dark halo over a quivering body evolved from terrestrial plants, returning to the wide-open space of underwater hollows, to silence, to quaking, glittering light. they have flowers and seeds and roots and leaves and connective tissues; they have ribboning foliage, holding firm in built-up silt on tidal flats.

when we found the audio recorder we wanted to buy, the sales assistant outlined the different ways I could record conversations, as if this was the object’s sole purpose. I thought about the taking of another’s voice, the permission we were granting ourselves to grasp the sung shrieks of grass, and I turned to look at your mended lips, reading their unhurried movement. we took the handheld recorders into the soft carpet marsh of the wetlands, stopped our footfalls and created slight archives of our meagre silence, our scant pause. you were annoyed when I interrupted to ask how we define aural stimulus; but what is noise and what is sound? is there a moment – a blurred boundary? is a sound always so fitfully tender and sinking?

your lungs of clay heaved with the cold and unsympathetic air, my tendons stretched, elastic over our loud together loneliness. if you took a diecut mould and used it on me, you’d find: there’s your body and hers and safe and hard and compost and squeaking tedium and peaty soil; there’s microbes and knuckles and luminescence and practice and precarity and crushing blends of all this. we sign up for a noxious plant maintenance scheme when we leave via the ranger’s hut, and she informs us that it is mainly cordgrasses that we will be tackling. they strangle the groundcover, she murmurs earnestly, and we know to nod many times and make appropriate noises. all the intertidal meadows are swollen, she grows tiny as she talks, and I struggle to lip-read what she’s saying as she moves closer and closer to the compressed, rising earth

Elizabeth Welsh

Elizabeth Welsh is a poet, papermaker and academic editor. She is the author of Over There a Mountain, published by Mākaro Press in 2018. Her poetry has been published in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and she is Auckland Council’s Artist in Residence for 2021, creating site-specific poetry and handmade paper on/from the wetlands at Āwhitu Regional Park. She lives in Titirangi with her husband and daughter.

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Siobhan Harvey receives 2021 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry

Photo Credit: Liz March


Gift for Auckland Poet on Janet Frame’s Birthday (28 August)

2021 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry goes to Siobhan Harvey

The Janet Frame Literary Trust is delighted to announce the recipient
of the 2021 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry.  Auckland
poet Siobhan Harvey will receive $5,000 from a fund set up by Janet
Frame for the purpose of encouraging New Zealand authors “of poetry
and imaginative prose”. The biennial award is timed to commemorate
Janet Frame’s birth date on the 28th of August. Janet Frame was
famously saved from an imminent lobotomy when a doctor noticed that
she had won a literary prize. She received many grants and prizes over
her long career and wanted to give back to her fellow writers.

Siobhan Harvey is originally from England and made New Zealand her
home 20 years ago. She is the author of eight books of poetry and non-fiction.
Her latest volume of poetry and creative non-fiction, ‘Ghosts’ (Otago
University Press 2021), explores themes of migration, homelessness and
family trauma. The UK Poetry Archive describes her poetry as “that of
a quester – a voyager — meditating on separation and discovery, on
time lost and time regained, on the tug of distant familial
connections, and the new global connectivity which means never being
out-of-touch.” Harvey is a lecturer in creative writing at the
Auckland University of Technology and her work is published widely in
New Zealand and international journals and anthologies.

Siobhan Harvey said that she was humbled “to be honoured in a legacy
left by New Zealand’s foremost author” as well as finding herself the
recipient of an award given previously to writers whose work she
admires, such as Peter Olds, Tusiata Avia, David Eggleton, Catherine
Chidgey and Alison Wong.

 “In this fraught time of a global pandemic and in an era in which the
financial earnings of writers in New Zealand are below the minimumwage, this bequest allows me to fund writing time I would not have been able to afford otherwise.”

Siobhan Harvey is the author of eight books, including Ghosts (Otago University Press, 2021) and 2013 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award-winning Cloudboy (OUP, 2014). She received the 2020 NZSA Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship, and won the 2020 Robert Burns Poetry Award and the 2019 Kathleen Grattan Award for a Sequence of Poems. Her work appears in recent anthologies: Arcadian Rustbelt: Poets Emerging 1980–-1995 (University of Liverpool Press, 2021), Feminist Divine: Voices of Power and Invisibility (Cyren US, 2019) and, translated into Italian, in Alessandra Bava (ed.), HerKind: Anthology of Contemporary New Zealand Poets (Editione Ensemble, 2021).

Janet Frame site

Award Page

Siobhan Harvey reads from her new book Ghosts

The Friday Poem: ‘If befriending Ghosts’ from Ghosts

ANZL page

Poetry Shelf celebrates Phantom National Poetry Day with eight poets reading a poem

my current POETRY reading pile selected from my current POETRY tower

Initially I invited three poets, whose poetry I love, to do a reading for a small Phantom National Poetry Day celebration on Poetry Shelf. But when I felt we’d be in an extended lockdown, and our fabulous physical Poetry Day events would need virtual reinvention, I made a larger gathering. I have so loved listening to the readings as they arrived. Sitting at the kitchen table, transported so beautifully.

I am sad that a magnificent list of national events can’t take place physically, but I am glad I can tune into things today I wouldn’t have seen or heard. Exciting! Check out virtual Phantom National Poetry Day events here.

To celebrate poetry in Aotearoa, I have a few more copies of Wild Honey: Reading NZ Women’s Poetry to give away (only in NZ). Leave a comment here, on FB or Twitter or email me.

I also want to make up a few poetry-book care packages. If you are in need of a poetry boost let me know (only in NZ). I won’t be able to send anything until Auckland moves to Level 3.

Help our publishers and booksellers by ordering a poetry book online today!

NZ POETRY BOX Phantom National Poetry Day celebration: If you have children who like writing poems you might like to check out my suite of children’s authors reading a poem and my galaxy of hidden poem challenges. I will post poems and have books to give away. Here And my National Poetry Day guide for children.

Grateful thanks to all the poets who recorded a poem or two.

If I have made mistakes, I would be grateful if let me know, as I seem to be a continued state of drift and daze.

HAPPY POETRY DAY – Keep safe, be kind on yourself as well as others.

The readings

Sue Wootton reads three poems

Photo credit: Doug Lilly

Sue Wootton reads ‘Tauranga’, ‘The Knitters’ and ”Poem on the shortest day’ (all appeared in takahē101)

Anuja Mitra reads two poems

Anuja Mitra reads two poems: ‘To You, in Late July’ (published in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2020) and ‘Home, Seen From a Distance’ (published in Signals)

Louise Wallace

Photo credit: Grant Maiden

Louise Wallace reads ‘The Happy Poem’ (Enough, Victoria University Press, 2013)

Chris Tse

Chris Tse reads ‘Red—Life & Courage’

Modi Deng

Photo credit: Mikayla Bollen

Modi Deng reads ‘tell me’ and ‘tomorrow will be the same but not as this is’ (AUP New Poets 8, Auckland University Press, forthcoming)

Lily Holloway

Photo credit: Angela Zhang

Lily Holloway reads ‘hopscotch’ and ‘stocktaking during venlafaxine discontinuation’ (AUP NEW Poets 8, Auckland University Press, forthcoming) and ‘Imagined heterosexuality with you, my ex who won’t stop calling’ (Cordite Poetry Review: GAME, August 2021)

Tate Fountain

Photo credit: Andi Crown

Tate Fountain reads ‘Red’, Yellow’ and ‘Blue’ from ‘COLOUR THEORY (PRIMARY)’ (Min-a-rets Annexe), and ‘Iterations’ (Starling 11).

Emma Neale

Photo credit: Caroline Davies

Emma Neale reads ‘Withdrawn’ (To the Occupant, Otago University Press, 2019)

The poets

Modi Deng is a postgraduate candidate in piano performance at the Royal Academy of Music on scholarship. Currently based in London, Modi received a MMus (First Class Hons, Marsden research scholarship) and a BA from Auckland University. Her first chapbook-length collection of poetry will be part of AUP New Poets 8. She cares deeply about literature (especially poetry, diaspora), music, psychology, and her family.

Tate Fountain is a writer, performer, and graduate teaching assistant based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She has been published in Agenda, the Min-a-rets Annexe, and others, and her short fiction was highly commended in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition (2020). She is now on the Editorial Committee for Starling, which means Francis and Louise have a reprieve from having to format her poetry for the web.

Lily Holloway is a queer nacho-enthusiast. She is forthcoming in AUP New Poets 8 and you can find her work here. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @milfs4minecraft.

Anuja Mitra lives in Auckland. Her writing has appeared in Cordite, Takahe, Mayhem, Starling, Signals, Sweet Mammalian, Poetry Shelf and The Three Lamps, as well as the recently-launched A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand. She writes theatre and poetry reviews for Theatre Scenes and the New Zealand Poetry Society. She enjoys eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and petting her small colony of cats, both of which she is probably doing to procrastinate writing.

Emma Neale lives in Otepoti/Dunedin, where she works as an editor and writer. She has published 6 novels and 6 collections of poetry and her first book of short fiction, The Pink Jumpsuit, is due out from Quentin Wilson Publishing this year.

Chris Tse is the author of two poetry collections published by Auckland University Press – How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes (winner of Best First Book of Poetry at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards) and HE’S SO MASC – and is co-editor of the forthcoming Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ Writers From Aotearoa.

Louise Wallace is the author of three collections of poetry published by Victoria University Press, most recently Bad Things. She is the founder and editor of Starling and is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Otago. She is spending the level 4 lockdown at home with her partner and young son on the Otago Peninsula.

Sue Wootton’s novel Strip (Mākaro Press) was longlisted for the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards, and her most recent poetry collection, The Yield (OUP)was a finalist in these awards in 2018. She was the 2008 Robert Burns Fellow, and held the 2018/19 NZSA Beatson Fellowship. She was awarded the 2020 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. Sue lives in Ōtepoti-Dunedin where she is the recently-appointed Publisher at Otago University Press. 

The poems in Sue’s recording were published in takahē 101. ‘Tauranga’ is after ‘Watching for dolphins’ by David Constantine. ‘The knitters’ is for Dunedin-based artist Michele Beevors, creator of a series of life-sized, anatomically-accurate knitted sculptures of animals, especially extinct and threatened species. ‘Poem on the shortest day’ was written in June 2020, and responds to events of that year, especially the pandemic lockdowns and the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.  

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: winners of 2021 Poetry New Zealand Student Poetry Competition


Massey University Press is thrilled to announce that you can now read all the winning entries from the 2021 Poetry New Zealand Student Poetry Competition here.

The first prize winners will be published in Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2022, releasing in March next year. Congratulations again to all the winners of the competition, and thank you to everyone who entered. 

This year’s winners are:

YEAR 11:

FIRST: Jade Wilson ‘Café Vienna’: closely observed, drawing resonance from sensory detail, sustained & involving voice that creates intimacy.

SECOND: Jade Wilson ‘Balancing Shadows’: sustained image-focus & emotional resonance, & again showcased an arresting reflective voice.

THIRD: Kaia Nahi ‘The Hypnosis of the Flame’: gets a hypnotic & energetic effect from personification, & shows a real awareness of the compelling power of word choice.

COMMENDED: Frauke Haase ‘Little Stars’; Mandrie du Preez ‘untitled’; Mia Fraser ‘White Snow, White Wind, White Hair’.

YEAR 12:

FIRST EQUAL: Ocean Jade ‘Route Back Home’: some stunning intensity & rhythmic movement, vivid focus on evocative imagery, conveying a strong sense of voice, energy & story; AND Sarah Kate Simons ‘Gossip’: sustained use of dynamic form & imaginative focus to colourful & original narrative effect.

SECOND: Sarah Kate Simons ‘In Yourself’: power in sound-play & execution, exploring language & meaning with vibrant intelligence & sensory force.

THIRD EQUAL: Shima Jack ‘Develop & Structure’: extremely inventive form, used to potent ends to generate intensity & impact; AND Sarah Kate Simons ‘Hospital’: arresting connections in imagery, mature & graceful voice.

COMMENDED: Lily Stoddart ‘Living Beneath the Sky’ & ‘Shark Hour’; Ocean Jade ‘Jailbird’.

YEAR 13:

FIRST: Caitlin Jenkins ‘South’: electric attitude, rhythmically voiced, vividly detailed, with a tough tone of pride in its streets & its identity.

SECOND: Penelope Scarborough ‘Today I (my sister’s cigarettes)’: brave compelling piece that uses sustained structure to zero in on a story with sharp emotional impact, containing disturbing encounter through concrete detail; real intensity & heart in this story.

THIRD EQUAL: Amelia Kirkness ‘Unmaking my New Boots’: powerful metaphor at its core, observed with striking sensory skill & political awareness; AND Lucy Barge ‘Ever after’ & ‘Staining the Silence’: both lean honed & vibrant poems, making striking edgy use of form to generate intensity.

COMMENDED: Judy Fong ‘Steps’; Amelia Kirkness ‘Evil Make Believe’; Freya Turnbull ‘apology to the butterfly that lived’; John Pain Yesterday ‘When I stopped’; Grace Fakahau ‘4 tha culture’.

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: The 2021 National Schools Poetry Award winners announced

Ode to South Auckland wins National Schools Poetry Award 2021

Caitlin Jenkins, a Year 13 student from Papatoetoe High School in Auckland, has won the 2021 International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) National Schools Poetry Award with a poem that celebrates the rich cultural histories of South Auckland.

The announcement comes as Aotearoa New Zealand celebrates National Poetry Day.              

Judge Tayi Tibble says the winning poem ‘South’ “cleverly explores the relationship between people and place, tangata and whenua”. She adds, “The poem reminded me of a chant, or a prayer. It hit a perfect chord of being both staunch and critical but also forgiving and hopeful.”

The 2021 National Schools Poetry Award is organised by Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s IIML with the support of Creative New Zealand, and sponsorship and promotional support from Wonderlab.

Caitlin Jenkins, who is of Tongan (Village Fatai), Niuean (Village Toi) and NZ European descent, receives a prize of $500 and her school library receives a book grant of $500. She also receives a package of literary prizes provided by Read NZ Te Pou Muramura, Victoria University Press, Sport, Landfall and the New Zealand Society of Authors. As part of the prize, Caitlin will attend a poetry masterclass with Tayi Tibble, along with the nine other poets shortlisted for their entries. The current COVID alert level has pressed pause on the masterclass, which will be held online if necessary.

Caitlin says, “I’m feeling very honoured and grateful to receive this award. ‘South’ is a poem dedicated to my Pasifika and Māori communities of South Auckland. We have forever been taught to accept the mould the rest of New Zealand has put us in, but this poem is proof that only we can shape us, that we can reverse the damage and grow from it something beautiful. Please take this poem and welcome it into you, and when you enter our streets, remember us by it.”

There were more than 200 entries this year from senior high school students. Many of the poems that impressed the judge wrestled with multiculturalism in New Zealand. “I am blown away and completely inspired by how freaking cool teenagers are these days,” says Ms Tibble.

“They’re whip smart and passionate. They’re generous, thoughtful, keen, and respectful. They are funny and warm. What always impresses me the most, like, literally makes my jaw hit the floor, is their socio-political awareness and responsibility. They care about the world around them and the people that society affects, targets, isolates, and disenfranchises.”

Ms. Chris Price, senior lecturer at the IIML says “The winning and shortlisted poems make it clear that the future of poetry, and of Aotearoa itself, is in very good hands.”

The other nine finalists are: Ruby Buffett-Bray (St Dominic’s College, Auckland), Grace Fakahau (Palmerston North Girls’ High School), Janet Guo (Hillcrest High School, Hamilton), Jackson McCarthy (St Peter’s College, Auckland) Darcy Monteath (Logan Park High School, Dunedin), Ella Paterson (Tauranga Girls’ College), Penelope Scarborough, (Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu), Holly Willis (Wellington Girls’ College), and Angelina Zhou Narayan (Burnside High School, Christchurch).

All finalists will join Caitlin at the poetry masterclass, as well as receiving prizes from Read NZ Te Pou Muramura and Sport, and $100 cash.

The winning poem, the complete judge’s report and all the shortlisted poems are available on the National Schools Poetry Award website.

Poetry Shelf welcomes a new literary journal: Mātātuhi Taranaki

The new bilingual journal, Mātātuhi Taranaki, features poetry, micro-fiction, stories, songs, essays with writers that are both familiar and unfamiliar to me. What an exciting initiative this.

‘Huirangi’s urging was for unification between the peoples of Taranaki, recognising and celebrating our commonalities and differences. Paddy recognised in Trevor the skills to support the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori (done so capably by others) by providing a forum for Māori, Pākehā and Tauiwi to express a uniquely Taranaki identity in Māori, English (and other languages by negotiation). The bumper first edition is a proof of concept. In true Taranaki gate style, it might not be the flashiest website at this stage, but it provides a showcase of the enormous literary talent in Taranaki.’

The next issue is: Vol.1, No.2, (December 2021) and submissions are now OPEN. Submission close: 30 September 2021, or when complete, whichever is the sooner.

Details here (and you can read a PDF)

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Phantom National Poetry Day – AUS – NZ Showcase


Date: 26 Aug 2021 – 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Join our online Showcase featuring leading contemporary poets from Australia and New Zealand. Includes Hinemoana Baker, Nina Mingya Powles and Tusiata Avia from NZ.

Featuring readings by some of Australia’s and Aotearoa’s leading contemporary poets.
Presented in partnership with Phantom National Poetry Day and Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

Tune in via RR FB page and RR YT Channel.