Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Fresh New Format Marks Going West Festival’s 2021 Live Season

The Ghost Resurrects the Family

Haunting it from within, all ghosts –

disappeared, departed and displaced –

find solace in the family they create;

as in the new home. For them, to parent

is to raise the dead and breathe fresh air

into ancient rites of passage. All

for their children, their future.

So that they will never know

how to grow invisible. Never see

the hardships of the hand-me-downs:

worn shoes; torn clothes; broken toys;

taunts; cold baths; half-finished meals.

The bodies never embraced; the words

never spoken: these too the ghost fades

from their offspring’s lives. Of course,

the damaged always loiter somewhere

out of reach. Like knives; clear cut

crystal; diamond ring: all pledged

as inheritance, to be passed down

as silently as curly hair and anaemia.

But the ghost doesn’t bleed out all

its harm; who does? The kids are safe

to make their own mistakes:

the ghost is at peace with that.

Siobhan Harvey

from Ghosts, Otago University Press, 2021.

Siobhan Harvey takes part in Shifting Ground event on Saturday 13th November. See full programme here.

Fresh New Format Marks Going West Festival’s 2021 Live Season

Going West Festival’s 26th season is dialing it up, offering four multi-media Saturday evening events featuring Aotearoa’s finest writers of prose, poetry and music once a month from August. 

Launching on Saturday 14 August, the richly layered new-format offers something for everyone with a love of reading and ideas. 

“Going West Festival is 25 years old this year. We want to demonstrate our commitment to the next quarter century with a fresh programming approach. There will be live music, oratory, performance and kōrero taking place, as well as pop up performances and installations, on multiple stages, with refreshments available throughout the evening. 

“You’ll hear new work from our literary and musical taonga and innovative ideas from some of our sharpest young minds. We’re keeping the kaupapa that our audiences tell us they love, so we’ll be as friendly as ever, and offering compelling insights into Aotearoa’s unique narrative culture all in one whare. But it won’t all happen in one long weekend. 

“The new format is covid-adaptable. It provides new programming opportunities and it’s also going to be a lot of fun,” says director James Littlewood. 

Award-winning writer and associate professor of creative writing at the University of Auckland Paula Morris is a mentor to the Festival’s fresh approach. Together with literary advisors Angelique Kasmara, Amy McDaid, Jack Cottrell and Sonya Wilson, Dr Morris has curated a programme that celebrates Aotearoa as a Pacific nation of increasing diversity under the theme ‘Stranded in Paradise.’

“Our group relished exploring books, writers, ideas, and imaginative connections for Going West this year. We looked for events that would engage and absorb diverse audiences, and feature emerging voices as well as established writers. We embraced the challenge of programming for such varied spaces,” says Dr Morris. 

Gala Night 

Theme: Stranded in Paradise

Saturday 14 August, 7pm – 10pm

Glen Eden Playhouse

$35 ($15 concession)

Always a sellout, the Gala night is the Festival’s traditional centre piece. This year it features arresting poets Darren Kamali and Karlo Mila, and a significant literary performance curated by singer-songwriter Charlotte Yates traversing her four albums of standout NZ poetry-to-song accompanied by multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Show Pony and the stunning songstress, Julia Deans.

Emceed by Pita Turei.

Documented Reality

Saturday 11 September, 7pm – 10pm

Lopdell House and Te Uru

$25 ($15 concession)

Including powerful readings from Lana Lopesi, Charlotte Grimshaw, Alison Jones and Ghazaleh Golbaksh; conversations with Rebecca Macfie(Helen Kelly: Her Life) and Jack Cotterell (Ten Acceptable Acts of Arson); Len Bell on Marti Friedlander and Sarah Shieff on Denis Glover; a discussion with illustrations on The Front Line and conscientious objectors featuring Glyn Harper and Mustaq Missouri; and provocative performance poetry curated by Aiwa Pooamorn and Gemishka Chetty.

Fabricated Reality

Saturday 9 October, 7pm – 10pm
Lopdell House and Te Uru
$25 ($15 concession)

Including conversations and readings with powerhouse writers; a multi-media session with award-winning non-fiction writers; and a discussion on speculative fiction for screen. 

Shifting Ground

Saturday 13 November, 7pm – 10pm
Lopdell House and Te Uru
$25 ($15 concession)

Look forward to a panel discussion on te reo translating; an illustrated talk; readings from award-wining novelists; and a scripted musical soundscape from some of our finest poets.

Tickets go on sale at 9AM, Thursday 1 July from here 

Going West is grateful for the support of CNZ Creative New Zealand, The Trusts Community Foundation, Waitakere Ranges Local Board, Auckland Council, Te Uru Contemporary Art Gallery, Lopdell House and Glen Eden Playhouse

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