Category Archives: NZ author

Poetry Shelf audio spot: Helen Heath reads two new poems from Are Friends Electric

 

 

 

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‘Greg and the bird’

and the bird’

 

 

‘A rise of starlings’

 

 

Helen Heath’s debut collection, Graft, won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book for Poetry Award. It was also shortlisted for the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize (the first poetry or fiction shortlisted). Helen has a PhD in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington’s IIML. Her new collection, Are Friends Electric, is a poetic smorgasbord that offers diverse and satisfying engagements.

 

Paula Green and Helen Heath in conversation

Victoria University Press page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the hammock: reading Mimicry IV

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Holly Hunter has edited the latest issue of Mimicry. She has drawn together an eclectic package of art and writing that will place your finger on the pulse of emerging (well mostly!) voices. The magazine is devoted to poetry, fiction, nonfiction, comedy, music, art, photography and design. It is slim but is abundant in reading currents.

You even get a mix tape at bandcamp to listen to as you read.

Often when I pick up a poetry journal I gravitate to the familiar poets whose work I already love – like a music hook. I will share my initial hooks with the rain thundering down outside. In this case Morgan Bach because I  haven’t read anything from her for awhile and I just loved her debut book, Some of Us Eat the Seeds. Her two poems here are honed out of cloud and snow and blood because they are light and airy and serious.

 

Looking for balance to the red interiors

in a calm sea of grasses, the dull love

of dust on a hillside, the caress of each

muscle as it contracts and expands

to pull me to a summit. That place

I would reuse to leave if I could,

but the hours have me by the ankles.

 

from ‘Terrific’

 

After hearing Emer Lyons read in Wellington last year, I jump to her poems in an instant. She is nimble on the page and in the ear, and tacks in fresh directions that retune me as poetry reader.

 

i talk too much at parties

every bee i see is dead or dying

people set fire to the sky

set the dogs howling

record themselves singing the same thing

on repeat

repeating

(and The Fish goes

A A X B B X

1 3 8 1 6 8)

 

from ‘strays’

 

Chris Tse’s latest book, HE’S SO MASC, is a sublime read. I love this book because it risks and it opens. The poem here is ultra witty but dead serious.

 

20. It’s the way we step out of a burning theatre as if nothing’s wrong.

21. As if the smoke in our eyes is a lover’s smile caught in sunlight.

22. An uncontrollable fire is perfectly fine, given the state of the world.

23. Then why do I feel so angry?

24. Are you angry?

25. I’m angry.

 

from ‘Why Hollywood won’t cast poets in films anymore’

 

Essa Ranapiri was a highlight for me at Wellington Readers and Writers week this year.  Their poem, ‘her*’, catches the way they make words ache and arc and slip between your ribs. You need to read the whole thing. To quote a glimpse is barely fair (two lines out of thirteen).

 

i left him wrapped in curtains

to stall the acid action of my stomach

 

from ‘her*’

 

I have only just discovered Rebecca Hawkes on The Starling. She is so good. The poem here is a linguistic explosion on the page: like an intricate and lush brocade that amasses shuddering detail and smatters expectation. You want to spend the weekend with this poem.  (I want to hear her read so will be posting an audio clip of a Starling poem soon)

 

I ask their name and they make an unpronounceable sound / like the

curdling clink of cooling obsidian / so I call them the ultimate war machine

 / they hurl rocks into my enemies and when they beat the earth with their

fists / I feel the world quake under me / this is how I know I have fallen in

love / but also onto the ground

 

from ‘Crush’

 

We are served well with fresh young literary journals at the moment (literary doesn’t seem to catch what they do). They keep you in touch with poets that continue growing on you but also take you into new zones of reading, with unfamiliar voices making themselves felt. Indelibly!  I have just read Sophie van Waardenberg’s three poems and they touch me, make me want to write with their viscosity and tang.

 

my girl becomes a calendar and I curl up inside her

my girl becomes a tongue twister and I curl up inside her

my girl lets the spring in through her hands

she puts her hands over my ears and I remember how it feels

 

from ‘schön’

 

Cheers to a well-stocked journal to keep you going through wet wintry days. I am saving the rest of the journal for the next wild weekend. First up Louise Wallace (author of much loved Bad Things), Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor (the winner of the Landfall Young Writers Competition 2018) and Rachel O’Neill (who was recently awarded a NZ Writers Guild Puni Taatuhi o Aotearoa Seed grant to develop her screenplay).

The pleasure of good writing journals is that keep you in touch with what you know and catapult you into the unfamiliar where you accumulate new must-reads. Mimicry does exactly that.

 

See Mimicry on Facebook

Enquiries: mimicryjournal@gmail.com

A chance to hear Sam Duckor-Jones reading poetry @BATS_Theatre

 

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Saturday June 23rd Sam Duckor-Jones and Marolyn Krasner  BATS Theatre Wellington

Sam is reading from his debut collection People From The Pit Stand Up (VUP). He is a sculptor and poet who lives in Featherston. In 2017 he won the Biggs Poetry Prize from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.

 

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Monday Poem: Ian Wedde’s ‘McCahon’s Defile’

 

 

McCahon’s Defile

For John Reynolds

 

And so Colin I cast off in my frail craft of words

my craft of frail words of crafty words

into the defile of Three Lamps where

struck by sunshine on the florist’s striped awning

and the autumn leaves outside All Saints

as you did before fully waking in Waitakere

to look at the elegant pole kauri in dewy light

I defile my sight with closed eyes

and so see better when I open them the Sky Tower

pricking a pale blue heaven like Raphael’s

in Madonna of the Meadows or the scumbled sky of

Buttercup fields forever where there is a constant flow of light

and we are born into a pure land through Ahipara’s blunt gate

a swift swipe of pale blue paint

on Shadbolt’s battered booze bar where bards

bullshitted among the kauri.

 

Gaunt cranes along the city skyline

avert their gazes towards the Gulf

away from babblers at Bam Bina

breakfast baskers outside Dizengoff

some pretty shaky dudes outside White Cross

beautiful blooms in buckets at Bhana Brothers

(open for eighty years) Karen Walker’s window

looking fresh and skitey across Ponsonby Road

my charming deft dentist at Luminos

most of South Asia jammed into one floor at the Foodcourt

Western Park where wee Bella bashed her head

on some half-buried neoclassical nonsense

the great viewshaft to not-faux Maungawhau

and then turn left into the dandy defile of K Road

where you make your presence felt yet again

Colin through the window of Starkwhite

in building 19-G_W-13 where dear John Reynolds

has mapped your sad Sydney derives and defiles

across the road from Herabridal’s windows all dressed up

in white broderie Anglaise like lovely frothy brushstrokes

or the curdled clouds and words you dragged into the light

fantastic along beaches and the blackness that was all

you saw when you opened your eyes sometimes

like the bleary early morning Thirsty Dogs

and weary hookers a bit further along my walk.

 

I love the pink pathway below the K Road overbridge

a liquid dawn rivulet running down towards Waitemata’s riprap

but also the looking a bit smashed washing hung out

on the balcony above Carmen Jones

and over the road from Artspace and Michael Lett etc

there’s El Sizzling Lomito, Moustache, Popped, and Love Bucket

the Little Turkish Café has $5 beers

it’s like a multiverse botanical garden round here

you could lose yourself in the mad babble of it

like the Botanical Gardens at Woolloomooloo

with the clusterfucking rut-season fruit-bats

screaming blue murder.

 

But it’s peaceful again down Myers Park

the mind empties and fills like a lung breathing

the happy chatter of kids swinging

and my memory of you Colin

sitting alone and forlorn on a bench

must have been about 1966

contemplating the twitchy cigarette between your fingers

as if it divined the buried waters of Waihorotiu

or the thoughts that flow beneath thought

in the mind’s defile at dawn when you open your eyes

and see that constant flow of light among the trees.

 

©Ian Wedde

 

 

 

 

Ian Wedde is an Auckland writer and curator with sixteen poetry collections, seven novels, two essay collections, a book of short stories, a memoir, a monograph on Bill Culbert and several art catalogues. His multiple honours include The Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry, admission to The Order of NZ Merit and an Arts Foundation Laureate Award. His most recent poetry book, Selected Poems, appeared in 2017.

Auckland University Press page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf audio spot: Emma Neale reads ‘Man Up’

 

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‘Man Up’ from Tender Machines, Otago University Press, 2015

 

Emma Neale received the inaugural NZSA/Janet Frame Memorial Award, the Kathleen Grattan Award for an unpublished poetry manuscript (The Truth Garden), the University of Otago Burns Fellowship and the NZSA/Beatson Fellowship. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Sarah Broom Poetry Award and the Bridport Poetry Prize, and her poetry collection, Tender Machines, was long-listed in the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Her novel, Billy Bird, was short-listed for the Acorn Prize in the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award. She is the current editor of Landfall.

 

Otago University Press page