Category Archives: NZ author

Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Gregory O’Brien’s ‘On drinking water’

 

On drinking water

 

What besides

pure water a glass

of water contains:

 

of the sky nothing

necessarily, but always

something

 

of the cavernous

substratum

calcium, potassium

 

the wooden ladder we climb

down into the chasm

to swim.

 

©Gregory O’Brien

 

This poem was included in a painting of mine in the Water Project exhibition, curated by Shirin Khosraviani  at the Ashburton Art Gallery. The exhibition has just come down–but will be touring the nation over the next year or two. Pic of the painting, ‘Ode to a South Island water molecule’:

 

Ode+to+a+South+Island_Ode+to+a+water+molecule_OBRIEN.jpg

 

 

Gregory O’Brien is currently living in Alexandra, Central Otago, where he is working on a new collection of poems and finishing Always song in the water, a book of travels in Northland and aquatic regions north of there.

 

 

 

 

Kerrin P Sharpe and Erik Kennedy launch poetry books

 

 

 
Victoria University Press warmly invites you to this double launch for

There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime
by Erik Kennedy

&

Louder
by Kerrin P. Sharpe

5.30pm-7.00pm on Wednesday 29 August
at Scorpio Books, 120 Hereford St, Christchurch central.
All welcome.
Refreshments will be served.

Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Kerry Hines’ All-day Wayside

 

 

All-day Wayside

 

He walks in, takes a seat,

eats his pie.

 

He smiles but doesn’t speak

until his farewell thanks.

 

He looks like someone off TV,

but they can’t agree on who.

 

Did you see how quick he ate it?

She shakes her head, disbelieving.

 

Nothing to drink, just pie

and free tomato sauce.

 

*

 

Not yet half-way,

a family squares off.

 

Soggy chips, nachos

missing a couple of ingredients.

 

Forbidden phones, the kids

play with their food.

 

An unhappier couple sits

at the next table.

 

The father sighs; the mother

brightens, and tunes in.

 

*

 

They closed the café

half an hour early.

 

The traffic had been quiet a while,

and the sausage rolls had gone.

 

Finding the door locked, he turns

and pans the street.

 

It’s the service station, then, packet of chips

and a chocolate bar.

 

He parks himself at the picnic table,

but the view doesn’t satisfy him.

 

©Kerry Hines

 

 

Kerry Hines is a Wellington-based poet, writer and researcher. Her collection Young Country (poems with photographs by William Williams) was published by AUP in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

In the hammock: Mary McCallum’s XYZ of Happiness

 

XYZ-of-Happiness-cover-1.jpg

 

XYZ of Happiness by Mary McCallum (Mākaro Press, 2018)

 

 

She’s an open window with curtains flapping

whatever the season, one eye always on the outside

from ‘Quick’

 

Mary McCallum is a novelist, poet and songwriter; her novel, The Blue, won the NZ Book Award in 2007 and she won the inaugural Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize. Her children’s book, Dappled Annie and the Tigrish, is an exquisite read and one of my favourite NZ novels for children. In 2013 she established Mākaro Press with its annual Hoopla Poetry series and Submarine imprint. She lives in Wellington.

Mary’s debut collection is like an alphabet of moods that draw upon the weather, love, life, death and family. She writes with an inviting mix of warmth and attentiveness, acute observations of the physical world and an ear tuned to the musicality of the line. I am pulled into feeling her world from the poem that faces the death of Hat (Harriet) and her engagements with life (‘C) to a poem that navigates a drowning with sublime fluidity (‘Vessels’) to the everyday presence of food and domestic gestures, sky and space.

 

Snapping off the ends of beans is like lips

popping, a pork cookbook is the best place

to find that picture of you and your mum

at Taupō one summer, a turkey too late

in the oven can make a grandmother

cry with hunger (…)

from ‘Things they don’t tell you on Food TV’

 

There is a steady momentum in the reading, a slow-paced rhythm that grows upon you, yet individual poems are varied in key and style. ‘Sycamore Tree’ is missing vowels as though life becomes hiccupy and fragmented.  ‘Returning’ is a lyrical feast with potent physical detail. ‘Quick’ pulsates with love and image. ‘Things they don’t tell you on Food TV’ is a sensual autobiography.

 

I know you’re watching

from your house by th path

with a desk by th window

today we’ve stopped

right n front f you

but I can’t move th childrn on

not while they’re spnning

like littl propellers              like

lttl worlds

from ‘Sycamore Tree’

 

This slim collection might so easily be missed, with its quietness, its loveliness, its pitch to the way we are, but it is a book that holds you immeasurably with both feeling and fluency.

 

Here it is that we are,

a breath outwards

returning—the gate

on a slant, paint

pulling from the wood,

closes—let it,

let go of the road,

the run of fences, the tin-cut

tilting hills, the world’s

rim—let the dog out

and drive, windows

wound down, the pink

evening light, lavender,

olive trees, cypress.

from ‘Returning’

 

Mākaro Press page

Read ‘C’ here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Sue Wootton’s ‘Rx’

 

Rx  

I am ill because of wounds to the soul. D. H. Lawrence

 

Iceberg, Peace, American Beauty: the blooms

smack the window in the summer storm, hammered,

blotted, falling early in this discontent. Now

 

is become the only season. Patients all, we ail.

Our wounds are deep, our fractures dirty, complex,

irreducible. Compound upon compound. O rose,

 

we are sick! Thinner and thinner our skins

in these plague years. The lesions fester and we scratch.

Small words buzz and swarm, stripping the tongue

 

of buds. Our mouths are full of boils. An excess of bile

mocks the liver. This contagion of crimson rage,

these wails building. Eros, thou art sore.

 

Our memories fail, fatally. Too much for

get. Thus, prescribe ourselves a salve

for give. Mix in the blue bowl all our howls

 

and mutters. Add the lullabies, waiata, sagas,

ballads, odes. Copy and collate

the scrolls; trace the stories written slow

 

by candlelight and goose quill on illuminated manuscripts.

Resurrect the many, many ways

of saying sister, brother. Compose

 

our selves. Patience, all. Make open refuge

for the human heart and place the books within.

Read, and repeat. Read, and repeat. Let settle.

 

©Sue Wootton

 

Note: The medical shorthand for ‘treatment’ is Rx, which derives from the Latin imperative recipe (‘take’). ‘Rx’ was commended in the 2018 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine (judged by Mark Doty).

Sue is a a PhD candidate in creative practice at the University of Otago, researching how literature articulates what it means to be able or disabled, ill or well. Her most recent publications are her debut novel, Strip (Mākaro Press), longlisted in the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards, and the poetry collection, The Yield (Otago University Press), a finalist in the 2018 Ockham NZ Book Awards. Her poem ‘The Swim’ has recently been longlisted in the 2018 University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Prize.