Category Archives: NZ poems

Monday Poem: by Gregory Kan

 

 

I wanted what happened to be something

I could know

and I wanted what I knew to be something

I could describe

something to which others could say

I know this

this happened to me also.

At the back of the room is a mirror

dreaming it’s become itself at last.

I keep walking

as if I know all the parts

and could play them.

 

 

©Gregory Kan

 

 

Gregory Kan is a writer and coder based in Wellington. His poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in literary journals such as the Atlanta Review, Landfall, The Listener, SPORT and Best New Zealand Poems. His poetry and philosophical works have also featured in exhibitions and publications for contemporary art institutions such as the Auckland Art Gallery, Artspace, the Adam Art Gallery, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and the Physics Room. Auckland University Press published his first book, This Paper Boat, in 2016. An earlier incarnation of This Paper Boat was shortlisted for the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Prize in 2013. The book was also a finalist in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for Best Poetry in 2017. He was a Grimshaw-Sargeson Fellow for 2017. His second poetry collection, Under Glass, is forthcoming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Review: David Merrit’s Crisis & Duplication

 

 

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I am thinking of creating (private) lists of books to read in particular circumstances. For example what to read when you have no power or running water and can only read by candlelight after a day consumed with slow-paced domestic chores. Thrillers worked for me.

And David Merrit’s Crisis & Duplication. I sat on the couch in the grey gloom and read it three times in a row. It is a slender chapbook published by Compound Press last year.

The book is in two halves with a foldout centrepiece. The first half draws Frank Sargeson into the poet’s musing self-reflective quick-fire monologue. It is sharp, angular and surprising.

 

I always seem to be writing poems in Wellington

sunlight on  a cold but bright winter’s day. I will

be outside a cafe in reflected mirror glass, dodging

bullets, writing inbetween showers & dristy

mizzle.

 

David is musing on the mirror image: himself and Frank, the connections, the writing surges and space for improvement. It is audacious, spiky, riveting.

 

It’s an easy poem this, preordained, quick

off the tongue, one poet, very alive,

400 miles south for now, compares life

& times with another poet, 60 years

ago still alive & kicking, a Janet Frame

tucked away in a back shed, her glittering

far away eyes focused on her own escape,

‘cept you like me, we never escaped to

 the place they call overseas.

 

The second half navigates the stages of making a book – not a big press book but a grassroots number. A miniature history of desktop publishing. It is risograph printed and bound with premium banana box card. Excellent to look at and hold.

 

So what do I do in a mini crisis? Will I set up invented conversations with someone who has affected me (also in the garden? writing poems? reading books?)? Is the occasion of writing a poem a crisis for some? A tilt, a topple, a brief epiphany?

To what degree is a poem a duplication?

In the grey gloom with no idea when the lights would be on, the spaghetti effect of questions was extremely welcome. Then again so was the downright admiration of the words on the line.

Yes, I recommend this book highly. Power or no power.

 

Interview and book details at Compound Press page.

 

 

 

 

At Jacket 2: Vaughan Rapatahana interviews Robert Sullivan and includes new poems

Vaughan Rapatahana’s interview here

 

What would you like to see more of in Aotearoa poetry from your point of view as a poet? In other words is there sufficient recognition, publishing scope, critical space given to poets who craft their work in ‘different’ ways?

I’d love to see new voices find publication from a wide range of styles and personal backgrounds so that we reflect our diverse community in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, and beyond to be as inclusive as possible. Poets have never had greater access to media and to publishing than now, although our mainstream publishers no longer have deep pockets. It’s always a writer’s task to convince, or make curious, or satisfy, or entertain a readership, and it’s a lyric poet’s task to evoke the particulars of being and a sense of the flow state that created the feelings attached to being ‘somewhere’ at the time. A poem might be on the fridge next to a flat roster, or on the edge of a windswept cliff facing the ghosts of Kapiti Island. There are so many other kinds of poetry I wouldn’t know where to begin, except to encourage that too.

 

Paula: I am dead keen to see a new book of poetry – love the new ones.

 

 

 

Poems from the Ockham NZ Book Award poetry shortlist: Tony Beyer’s ‘The Characters’

 

The Characters

  

a comfort to think

that in Nagano where

 

typewriters used to be made

they still remember

 

Bashō’s visit and the long-

expired snow he came to view

 

each snow flake

then as now unique each

 

fluent stroke of the brush

comprehensible but singular

 

© Tony Beyer from Anchor Stone

 

 

 

Tony Beyer was born and grew up in Auckland, and now lives in Taranaki after a career as a secondary school teacher in several parts of the North Island. His seventeen poetry titles include Jesus Hobo (Caveman Press, 1971), The Singing Ground (The Caxton Press, 1986), The Century (HeadworX, 1998), Electric Yachts (Puriri Press, 2003), Dream Boat: selected poems (HeadworX, 2007) and Anchor Stone (Cold Hub Press, 2017). His work has been widely published, anthologised and reviewed in New Zealand and elsewhere.

Poems from the Ockham NZ Book Award poetry shortlist: Elizabeth Smither’s ‘Tenderness’

 

 

 

Tenderness

 

                           I

 

A tree in the centre of a corn field

the corn rising in its ranks like braided hair

to meet the lowest branches

 

a tree that has replaced at least twenty

corn stalks with their divided leaves

twenty golden cobs sweetly surrendered

 

for this lovely grace: leaf sweep touching

leaf sweep, the whole field given by

this rising trunk, a focus

 

the pattern drawn from the edge of the field

to the centre where the tree

delivers a blessing.

 

II

 

The forest planation blankets hills.

Neat-ankled, swift-running

the dark pines descend

 

except on one little hilltop a ride

of grass begins and runs

with the trees which seem to bend

 

tenderly towards it: a bed from which

a child has risen and begun walking

the solicitousness of pine branches over grass.

 

©Elizabeth Smither from Night Horse

 

Elizabeth Smither’s most recent poetry collection, Night Horse, was published by Auckland University Press in 2017. She also writes novels and short stories.

A launch: Compound Press presents Minarets Issue 8

 

Compound Press presents Minarets Issue 8  Autumn 2018

Edited by Erena Shingade

Illustrations by Harry Moritz

Launch at 7pm, Saturday 28 April at the Compound Press headquarters, 5c 55-57 High Street.

 

Minarets Issue 8 presents the freshest new writing from a mix of emerging and established New Zealand poets, alongside contributions from two international poets. Humorous, adventurous, and though-provoking, the journal brings a slice of the most intriguing new writing from here and overseas to the table.

Featuring the following New Zealand and international authors: Victor Billot, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Lee Thomson, Zack Anderson (USA), Murray Edmond, Courtney Sina Meredith, Manon Revuelta, Naomi Scully (USA).

 

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