Monthly Archives: August 2021

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: A lockdown open mic

Wellington Poetry Collective

Public  · Anyone on or off Facebook

O strangeness! O interlude! Oh, Poetry!

We may not be able to gather in the same room, but we can certainly still soak our tympanic membranes in all sorts of lovely! Bring yourself, your poems, and your ears along to our lockdown open mic this Friday night (National Poetry Day). Reading is, as ever, optional, but if you’d like to read, please flick a message through to us via our Facebook page before Friday & we will put you on the list. There will also be the opportunity for impromptu reading. This event is open to everyone from every place, of every age and experience level, etc. & the rest. See you in our lovely little poetry bubble shortly!

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Poetry with Brownies

Event by Poetry with Brownies

Public  · Anyone on or off Facebook

Join us for another incredible line up of Brownie Poets with lush kupu and goddess energy!

Huge mihi to all the boss poets:

Alice Te Punga Somerville
Stacey Teague
Jasmine Jones
Rangimarie Sophie Jolley
Nadine Ann Hura
Arihia Latham
Karlo Mila

Topic: Poetry with Brownies

Lockdown Edition 2.2
Time: Aug 28, 2021 03:00 PM

Auckland, Wellington

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: National Poetry Day online – Shouting into the Void: Six Poets One Megaphone

Event by National Poetry Day and Food Court

Price: Free

Public  · Anyone on or off Facebook

UPDATE: Obviously this event won’t be happening as we had planned on Saturday due to the current Covid restrictions. However, we will be holding an online event via Zoom instead!

Our readers will be:
Tarns Hood 😁
Lîm Kado 🥵
Jordan Hamel 😵
Rebecca Mary 🤢
Freya Daly Sadgrove 😭
and Jackson Nieuwland 🤓

Stay tuned for the Zoom link on Saturday afternoon!

Six uncontainable poets burst off the page and out of the bookshop, taking to the street outside Food Court Books. Their mission: to make themselves heard with the help of a megaphone. They will barrage the audience and passing traffic with loud, brash, and emotional poetry. No one is safe when poets roam the streets.Presented as part of PHANTOM National Poetry Day 2021.

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Phantom National Poetry Day goes online

Phantom National Poetry Day calls on team of five million to take celebration online

Undeterred by the continuing restrictions caused by the Delta outbreak, the organisers and sponsors of Phantom National Poetry Day are encouraging poetry lovers across the motu to join them in a virtual celebration as scheduled, on Friday 27 August.

The more than 120 public events planned nationwide will not be able to proceed in person this week, so organisers are shifting the poetry party online. 

To help put the fizz back into the celebration, a virtual open mic will be hosted by Phantom National Poetry Day on Facebook and Instagram.  Poets and poetry lovers are invited to submit written poetry and share videos of their own poetry performance.  New Zealanders can find out how to do this in the Phantom National Poetry Day Calendar of Events.  And everyone is encouraged to share their love of poetry by using the hashtag #NZPoetryDay on August 27.

A number of online events were already planned and more have quickly converted to the virtual space.  Among the highlights are:

  • Aus x NZ Poetry Showcase – Featuring lively virtual readings from Tusiata Avia, winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards; shortlisted poets Hinemoana Baker, Mohamed Hassan and Nina Mingya Powles; MitoQ Best First Book Award (Poetry) winner Jackson Nieuwland; and Aotearoa Poet Laureate David Eggleton.  
  • Little Wild Words and Music for Fairies, Pirates & Mermaids – Award winning songwriter for kids Claudia Robin Gunn shares a mini song cycle of vintage poetry about fairies and pirates. 
  • Poetry on Air – A medley of poetry in several languages, brought to you by Wairarapa Word, and recorded LIVE at Arrow FM, Wairarapa’s only community access radio station.
  • Nelson Poetry Map – Contribute poems to an open-access map, tagged to the locations you associate with those poems. Visit the locations and read the poems on your mobile device or take a virtual tour from the comfort of your home.

Other organisers have elected to postpone their events so that they can celebrate in person in the coming weeks or months, meaning the poetry celebration will be extended, so keep a watch on the Calendar of Events for updates and details.

“We’re massively disappointed that so many of the innovative in-person events planned for Phantom National Poetry Day will have to be cancelled or postponed,” says Phantom Billstickers CEO Robin McDonnell.  “But Aotearoa showed last year that poetry finds a way to sprout whatever the circumstances.  So, look out for it online, on street billboards during your local walks, and emanating from locked-down households on the day.  And join in the fun!”

Phantom National Poetry Day also embraces a range of poetry competitions, including RNZ Afternoons National Poetry Day Competition and E Tū Whānau Spoken Word Competition.  The latter is hosted by acclaimed poet Te Kahu Rolleston, who will announce the winners on social media on Friday 27 August.  To find out more about this and other competitions check out the Competition Calendar.

Teachers or parents looking for a poetry activity to do virtually with students or children on Phantom National Poetry Day can take inspiration from a resource developed by poet and blogger Paula Green.  Find out more here: Phantom National Poetry Day Schools Guide.  

Held annually on the fourth Friday in August, Phantom National Poetry Day brings together poetry royalty and fans from all over Aotearoa.  For the past six years, Phantom Billstickers has supported National Poetry Day through its naming rights sponsorship.  For full details about online happenings and other celebrations, go to: Phantom National Poetry Day Calendar of Events


Facebook: @NZPoetryDay


Twitter: @NZPoetryDay

Instagram: nzpoetryday

Hashtag: #NZPoetryDay

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Phantom National Poetry Day ‘s Virtual Open Mic


Phantom National Poetry Day Virtual Open Mic

It’s a social media takeover! Do you want to share your poetry or spoken word? Our Facebook and Instagram feeds are ready for your material. All throughout Phantom National Poetry Day on Friday 27 August we will be sharing and amplifying poetry and poetry-related material from our poets and wordsmiths. To share work, please follow these guidelines:

Facebook: share on your own channels, make it public, tag @NZPoetryDay and hashtag #NZPoetryDay and we will share onto our page. Or you can message either links or your poetry as a JPG or PNG as a Facebook message and we will post it directly to our page.

Instagram: Either share on your own Instagram and tag @NZPoetryDay and we will share to our stories, or send your tile to our Instagram account and we will post it to our account. Instagram frames will be available on our Instagram feed for anyone’s use.

And whichever way you share your work, don’t forget to use the hashtag #NZPoetryDay. Let’s get poetry trending across all channels on Friday!

Entry Details: Free Virtual Event

Date/Times: Friday 27th August, 8am-9pm

Location: Online Event, Nationwide

Contact: Erica Stretton

Further Info: Phantom National Poetry Day Facebook | Instagram

Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Apirana Taylor’s ‘rawene 2018 Sep 16’

rawene 2018 Sep 16

in the early afternoon of my life
as i write outside the cafe listen
to the maestro play slow jazz
on his sleepy guitar floating
me down the river of good dreams
through memories of last night
when the poets danced as never before
the sky seeps the grey wash of dawn
into the waters of the hokianga
the inlet gently laps over the muddy
brown silt and i’m glad i made
the journey at this time
                        up this way ….

Apirana Taylor

Apirana Taylor, Ngati Porou, Te Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Ruanui, Te Ati Awa, is a nationally and internationally published poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, actor, painter and musician. He has been Writer in Residence at Canterbury and Massey Universities. He frequently tours nationally and internationally visiting schools, tertiary institutions and prisons reading his poetry, storytelling and taking creative writing workshops. He has written six collections of poetry, a book of plays, three collections of short stories, and two novels. His work has been included in many national and international anthologies.

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Paula Green’s three poems on Poet Laureate blog

Unlike me to put poems out in the world at the moment, but here you go, three poems from a longer project. Strongly adhere to writing as comfort, energy boost, happy place. Writing for the love of writing. Keep an eye on David Eggleton’s Poet Laureate blog to read the other poets he picks in the month of August. So far includes Reihana Robinson, Michael Steven, Emma Neale, Gregory O’Brien.

The three poems here

Poetry Shelf review: Jack Ross’s The Oceanic Feeling

The Oceanic Feeling, Jack Ross, Salt and Greyboy Press, 2021

Here I go reviewing a book again with the subterranean feeling I experienced last March, barely articulated, drenched in uncertainty, fearing for the well being of Aotearoa, fearing for the well being of our frontline workers, fearing for our understaffed hospitals, fearing that supermarkets will deal with aggressive behaviour from some shoppers, yet full of gratitude for our Government’s swift response, for everyone choosing to stay at home and wear a mask. The subterranean Covid effect saw me drifting around the house yesterday with Jack Ross’s new poetry collection, The Oceanic Feeling, in my hand. Not writing a word. Word-drifitng in and out of countless books. Worrying about Afghanistan. Listening to Reb Fountain. Worrying about Haiti. Sydney. All the people living alone. The homeless.

The title is so fitting. The oceanic feeling.

Layer it up. Stand by the ocean and get an intake of ocean beauty. Sit at my kitchen table looking onto the tail end of the Waitākere ranges and my potential for worry is oceanic. Below the surface in my blood and bones. Above the surface in those intruding thoughts that I try not to let settle at the station.

I love this title. This beautifully produced book with its white cover and striking image holds an ocean of feeling. Add in the white space, the unsaid. Add in the physical, the images that glint and hold your attention.

The cover drawing is by Swiss-New Zealand artist Katharina Jaeger, and is part of the suite of images included in the collection. Bronwyn Lloyd’s afterword explores the connections between the drawings and the poetry. Katharina was inspired by her father’s manic pruning, and rather than use the the pile of clippings as prunings, drew them instead. Bronwyn makes a vital link between prunings and the skeletons in the artist’s closets, in the poet’s closet, and by extension in our closets.

Poetry is both pruning and planting and, at times, opening the closet door is to shine a light on the tough, the difficult, the surprising.

Jack’s terrific new collection does just this. The poetry seeks perspective in the corrugations and felicities of the everyday. In the little and larger events that shape and have shaped life. That nurture love, that spark a sense of humour, that trigger contemplation. The poems occupy the present but they also recuperate the past. I am moved by this.

The book is essentially in two sections, like two halves of a heart, with ‘Family Plot’ alongside ‘Ice Road Trucker’. Family poems alongside poems that consider the academy, poetry journals, travel, public art, reading, thinking. There is also a tiny cluster of small poems and of translations.

The poetry peers into the mist, and swivels to embrace the clearly sighted.

A sublime example is ‘What to do till the sentinels come’. The poet’s mother (I am making this assumption) has forgotten to feed Zero the cat when they are away. The cat hides in the garden shed, unfed. Here is the mist and the close at hand. The poem as the pruned twig.

it’s not that my mother
neglected her task
on purpose
she’d written in her diary

it’s just that her mind
now fills in blanks
with certainties

not doubts
there was a slight pause
before that “fine”
all I know is our cat

left alone
in the storm
my mother alone
in the fog of her brain

In the opening poem, ‘Lone Pine’, a tree crew are pruning the pines. The physical scene unfolds, and in reaching the visual impact of the tallest tree with its branches stripped bare, the loss doubles back. This is the pruned branch laid on the page: ‘standing bare / just like my father at the end’.

2021 is the season of memoirs. Long form and all revealing.

And yes, The Oceanic Feeling is a form of memoir. Fragmented. Selective. Revealing. It is also a form of engagement with both ideas and feelings. Poetry as a way of discovering chords between here and there, this and that, now and then. So many layers. So many connections. ‘Family skeletons’ does this. The sister with her suicidal thoughts, witnessed throwing a rope over a tree, who later succeeds with pills, is both presence and absence. Again I am picking up a branch laid upon the page and I am feeling it deeply.

Ah, I am moving in so many directions, as I read Jack’s collection, from the cars loved and then replaced, to bookshelves and superstitions, to wrangling over the colours of a graduation hood, to a university department lovingly built up over time, to be faced with cutbacks.

What makes this book resonate so deeply with me is movement. Physical and emotional movement. Not on a grand over-the-top flare of sentimentality but in small measured steps that favour contiguity. I relish the shift between what is easily witnessed in the everyday and what is much harder to fathom, what is retrieved in glimmers and shards across time. it is a collection that warrants a prolonged sojourn. Glorious.

I am going to leave you with ‘What do you want?’. The poet is in a Feilding library, having driven down for a function. The poem swerves and I am utterly affected.

What do you want?

said the librarian
       in Friendly Feilding
to come in from the cold
       was my reply

we’re closing an hour early
       for a function
the function I’d driven down for
       I walked away

he’s crying
       but he doesn’t know
why he’s crying
       said my sister

to the primer one teacher
       who wanted to know why
I guess I do too
       I guess I do

I was small and afraid
       of a brand-new place
so many people
       but what remains

is kindness
      my sister
trying to help

Jack Ross

Jack Ross works as a senior lecturer in creative writing at Massey University. He is the author of five poetry collections and eight works of fiction, most recently Ghost Stories (Lasavia Publishing, 2019) and The Oceanic Feeling (Salt & Greyboy Press, 2021). He blogs here

Jack reads from The Oceanic Feeling

Notes to The Oceanic Feeling

Jack reads and comments on ‘1942’

Poetry Shelf celebrates new books: Dinah Hawken reads from Sea-light

Sea-light, Dinah Hawken, Victoria University Press, 2021

Cover: Breaker Bay, Looking South, Gerda Leenards, 2007

Dinah Hawken reads ‘Haze’, ‘The sea’ and ‘Faith’ from Sea-light

Dinah Hawken is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated poets. She was born in Hāwera in 1943 and now lives in Paekākāriki. Sea-light is her ninth collection of poetry.

Few writers have the skill to return to the land and the sea with such originality and genuine knowing as Hawken.’ —Sarah Jane Barnett, NZ Booksellers

‘As a poet she utilises economy on the line to build richness above, between and beyond. That plainness of talking makes the impact even stronger, deeper, wider.’ —Paula Green, NZ Poetry Shelf

Victoria University Press page

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Starling 12 is out

Some highly recommended reading for our national lockdown! Starling keeps in me in touch with younger writers – so looking forward to reading this new issue. Always discover exciting new poets.

Mantras and metamorphoses, headlines and horoscopes, farmville and floods: Starling 12 is here, with the best new poetry and prose from New Zealand writers under 25.

Featuring new work from Xiaole Zhan, Rachel Trow, Leah Dodd, Lily Holloway, Brecon Dobbie, Jenny Nimon, Ruby Macomber, Melissa Oliver, Maddie Ballard, Rose Peoples, Rhys Feeney, Khadro Mohamed, Amelia Kirkness, Holly H Bercusson, Bianca Rogers-Mott, Liam Hinton, Maddi Rowe, Sophie van Waardenberg and Sarah Lawrence!

Also featuring two new poems from guest writer Grace Iwashita-Taylor, an interview with the great Carolyn DeCarlo and Jackson Nieuwland, and stunning cover art from Wellington artist Maisie Chilton.

Starling Issue 12 is also the first Starling issue prepared with the support of the new Starling Editorial Committee: Claudia Jardine, Sinead Overbye and Tate Fountain.