Category Archives: NZ poetry event

National Library poetry event – Six o’clock: Poets under the influence

  • Date: Thursday, 19 October, 2017
  • Time: 5.30pm light refreshments for 6pm start
  • Cost: Free
  • Location: Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets
  • Contact Details: For more information, email events.natlib@dia.govt.nz

A bevy of poets mark 50 years since the end of six o’clock closing

Iain Sharp presents Gregory O’Brien, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Bill Manhire, Jenny Bornholdt, Lindsay Rabbitt, and more.

The end of the ‘6 o’clock swill’ was a defining moment in New Zealand’s social history, one which changed the way we drank and socialised. New Zealanders’ unique and often fraught relationship with drink has been both a stimulus and an inspiration for some of the country’s great poets from Denis Glover to Apirana Taylor.

To mark 50 years since the end of ‘the swill’ the National Library is bringing together some of the country’s best poets, and poetry, both new and old, featuring ‘the drink’.

The event will comprise some special related Alexander Turnbull Library collection items, music from the collection of the National Library and films from Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.

Refreshments available with tastings and craft beer and cider.

Poets on Tour: Airini Beautrais and Maria McMillan take to the road, July 2017

Airini Beautrais and Maria McMillan have written up their poetry road trip. I am so hoping this becomes a thing – two poet friends on tour with new books.    

 

 

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both Victoria University Press, 2017

We’ve known each other since the early 2000s, and both of us have been writing poetry for even longer than that. Some common threads in our work include feminism, social justice, environmentalism, and an interest in the possibilities of form. Over a cup of tea one afternoon in Maria’s lounge we agreed that as we both had books coming out this year, we should go on tour. Maria had been working hard in non-poetry related paid gigs, Airini was battling some difficult personal circumstances, and some time on the road reading with other women poets seemed like just what the doctor (of creative writing) ordered.

Somehow the tour got planned amidst the mad mess of everyday life. Sarah Laing kindly agreed to let us use her drawings for promotional purposes. Airini made a DIY poster with the help of scissors, glue, wallpaper and blu-tack. The word went out. The car got packed.

 

On Friday 14 July Airini held a book launch for Flow: Whanganui River Poems, at the Whanganui regional museum. Maria was the main support act on the night, reading from her recently-released The Ski Flier (Airini had also read at Maria’s launch a month earlier). Jenny Bornholdt read a poem by Joanna Margaret Paul. Other local booklovers read some favourite Whanganui-linked poems. VUP publicist and talented novelist Kirsten McDougall gave a fantastic launch speech.

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Accidental ankh, Dannevirke

In the morning it was coffee, porridge and a quick trip to Whanganui’s famous SaveMart ‘The Mill’. Then onto the back roads of the Manawatu with a battered road atlas and smartphones which were largely ignored. We made it over the Pohangina Saddle, and lunched on launch leftovers in Dannevirke, where we discovered a church with a possibly accidental (we think maybe not) ankh – a perfect opportunity for posing with our books. On to Napier where it appeared we had entered a time warp. Airini’s dirty old Honda suddenly looked new alongside the vintage cars sweeping around the waterfront, driven by flappers and dapper gentlemen. The thought occurred to us that it was Deco weekend.

 

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Beattie and Forbes Booksellers with Marty and Emily

Beattie and Forbes Booksellers is a must-visit independent bookstore near the sea in Napier. They opened up on a Saturday evening so we could read, with Marty Smith and Emily Dobson. Old friends and new turned up, along with members of local poetry groups. It seems that anywhere you go in New Zealand, there’ll be a poetry group of some sort, and a reading will draw at least some of them out of the woodwork. A highlight of the evening was Emily reading a poem owing a debt to her young daughter, called ‘Thea’s ‘gina song,’ which ended ‘It’s a ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-BAGINA!’ Both Marty and Emily are accomplished poets and readers and it was a privilege to read alongside them.

 

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Maria at Waiomu Cafe

 

Sunday 16th we set off from Marty’s picturesque country house, on our big drive through to Thames. The roads had opened, but were still lined with snow.  We made it to our reading at Waiomu Beach Café with five minutes to spare. The café is in a beautiful spot and draws in regulars driving around the Coromandel coastal road. It’s run by Maria’s cousin Julie, who was an amazing host. Airini also met some extended family members at the reading. More FM were there, and interviewed us. We read in the outdoor courtyard, adjusting our volume according to the passing traffic. Over the road, a cop issued speeding tickets. A kereru landed in a tree alongside. We posed for more book photos under the pohutukawa, took Julie’s dog for a walk, and enjoyed the scenery.

 

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The Big House, Parnell with Tulia and Emma

Thames seems like the kind of place one could stay in forever, but on Monday morning we carried on to Auckland.  We parked the car and went to hear a reading at the Auckland Art Gallery with Steve Toussaint, Simone Kaho, Elizabeth Morton, Johanna Emeney and Michael Morrissey. Everyone read well, but a disgruntled audience member booed, hissed and heckled during question time at the end. Chair Siobhan Harvey did an excellent job of shouting him down. We looked at each other and wondered if this was how poetry readings always went in Auckland. But our reading that evening at the Big House in Parnell, with Simone Kaho and Tulia Thompson, was a very warm and homely affair. Many of the house’s 25 occupants joined us by the fire to listen and talk, and housemate Emma also read some of her poems with us.

 

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Airini at Poetry Live, Auckland

 

Tuesday night’s gig was Poetry Live, at the Thirsty Dog on K Road. Like the Big House, Poetry Live is an institution that’s been going for decades. We were lucky to be there for the farewell to regular MC Kiri Piahana-Wong. There was a great turnout and the venue and audience were friendly and welcoming. We read by turns in our guest poet slot, feeling like proper rockstars against the backdrop of a drum kit and stage lighting.

By Wednesday we were tired, and ready to head home. We stopped for tea and toasted sandwiches in the Pink Cadillac diner in Turangi. We parted ways at the Desert Road, after which Maria had some variable hitchhiking experiences, and Airini zig-zagged back and forth around the mountains navigating road closures. We’d had a great time and were looking forward to the second leg.

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Vic Books in Wellington with Pip and Freya

 

The next leg kicked off on Friday 28 July with a lunchtime reading at Vic Books. We were joined by superstars Pip Adam, reading from her brand spanking new The New Animals, and Freya Daly Sadgrove, whose poetry is performative and highly entertaining. Maria read her poem, inspired by Pip, ‘In which I attain unimaginable greatness,’ in which the narrator attains superhero powers, achieves amazing feats, and at the end declares ‘This is how I begin. This is my first day.’

 

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Palmerston North with Helen and Jo

Palmerston North City Library on Saturday evening was possibly the highlight of the tour. The library is a great place to read, hosting numerous literary events throughout the year. The big windows feature poems by local Leonel Alvarado, and pedestrians have a way of peering in through the letters, wondering what’s going on in there. We’d decided on a dress up theme of ‘80s trash with our fabulous co-readers Helen Lehndorf and Jo Aitchison, which got us some funny looks in New World, but definitely improved our performances. Helen’s hair was particularly spectacular. We had a small crowd but a great vibe. A kebab and whisky party kept us awake until the wee small hours.

 

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Maria at Hightide Cafe

Helen’s chickens laid us our breakfast, and we revived ourselves with bottomless pots of tea. Maria’s superpowers became evident when she managed to drive us safely to our last gig, Poets to the People at Hightide Café in Paraparaumu. The sun was setting over Kāpiti as we drank coffee and listened to the open mike. Again, this is an event that’s been running for years, and there’s a sense the regulars know and love one another. We went home to a beautiful roast cooked by Maria’s partner Joe. The tour was over, but the fight continues! We had some great conversations in the car over those two weeks, and some good catch-ups with family and friends along the way. There was a lot of fighting talk, a lot of laughter and also a few tears. A big part of the tour was affirming ourselves as poets, mothers and radical women, and by the end of it, our unimaginable greatness was hard to deny.

 

Airini Beautrais and Maria McMillan, September 2017

 

 

my conversation with Airini

my review of The Ski Flier

VUP page for Airini

VUP page for Maria

 

 

 

 

Tasting Words A Spoken Word, Poetry and Food Walk

 


3110 – 3138 Great North Rd, New Lynn

2 – 4 pm Saturday 16 September

Tickets $14 from here

 

On your left as you come up Great North Rd, just before Titirangi Rd going west, there is a cluster of restaurants serving great food – noodle houses, dumpling joints, a kebab shop. There’s also a dairy, a barbers, a vape store, a locksmith, Woottons Auto Accessories and two kinds of tool stores. This strip has got a little bit of something for everyone, including poetry and spoken word fans.

On Saturday 16 September it will play host to a spoken word, poetry and food walk. Six poets will perform their poetry. The restaurants (and the Dairy) will share their food. Its an opportunity to taste the street and hear words that stir the mind and speak to the heart.

Try dumplings from Mr Zhous while attending to Renee Liang’s new poem for the restaurant, have your mouth warmed with a Laksa from the Noodle House as Vanessa Crofskey tells you stories, listen to the resonant tones of Mustaq Missouri while nibbling on falafel at Paashas

 

The Poets:

Renee Liang is a prolific writer who believes in the power of arts and communities. She has toured seven plays, written three poetry chapbooks, edited eight anthologies of migrant women’s writing, and recently wrote the libretto for both The Bone Feeder opera and Dominion Road the Musical.

Joanna Li is a young poet. In 2016 she was a member of the Michael King Writers Centre Young Writer’s programme and was also awarded a NZ Society of Authors Youth Mentorship.

Maria Ji is an Auckland-based writer, illustrator, and medical student. Her works have appeared in various publications including New Zealand Poetry Society anthologies, Potroast, Signals, and STARLING.

Vanessa Crofskey is a performance artist and spoken word poet. She is a member of Thursday Girls, the team who present Fake American Accent a monthly poetry reading at the Basement Theatre.

Mustaq Missouri is a writer and actor who moved to New Zealand from Shanghai in 2014. He’s performed with Prayas and at the Pop Up Globe. Most recently he played Ahmad in Dominion Rd the Musical.

Jin Xu is a writer and doctor based in Auckland.

 

The Shops:

Noodle House Malaysian Cuisine, Mr Zhous, Paashas, Sunshine, Noodle Heaven, and Kia Ora Superette

Food: There will be vegetarian options available at Mr Zhous, Paashas, Sunshine and Kia ora Superette

Background:

On the 15th of March 2017 the Whau River and Manawa Stream catchment area experienced 65 mm of rainfall within one hour. As a result the intersection of Great North Rd and Clark St flooded and a sink hole opened up underneath Great North Rd. Since then works have been underway to repair the road and widen the culvert. Many of the restaurants along Great North Rd were affected by the flood and its impacts are still being felt. This event is both an opportunity to celebrate Auckland poets and remind people the shops are still open and they should come out and try great local food.

This event is supported by the Whau Local Board through the Whau Community Arts Broker

 

Media Contact:
Melissa Laing
Whau Community Arts Broker
0211829451

broker@artswhau.org.nz

National Poetry Day: Rising Stars II in Dunedin

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On National Poetry Day (August 25th) young Dunedin poets will perform their original work to a live audience.

Rising Stars II runs alongside the ‘Profile of 20 Young Poets’ radio series and podcast airing on Otago Access Radio, where young Dunedin artists talk about their writing and inspiration.

You can hear full episodes from this series here

Join us on the ground floor of the Dunedin Public Library to celebrate these young Dunedin poets!

25th August 2017 – 4:30pm
Gig City Cube, Ground Floor, Dunedin Public Library

Louise Wallace launches Bad Things and is at an excellent Writers on Mondays – on Monday!

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Victoria University Press warmly invites you to the launch of

Bad Things
by Louise Wallace

With readings from Lynley Edmeades, Bill Manhire, Tayi Tibble and Chris Tse. All welcome.

6pm–7.30pm on Thursday 10 August,
at Vic Books, Rutherford House, Pipitea
27 Lambton Quay, Wellington

Books by all authors available for purchase on the night, along with prints of the cover illustration by Kimberly Andrews.

 
WRITERS ON MONDAYS

Poetry Quartet: Louise Wallace, Hannah Mettner, Maria McMillan & Airini Beautrais

These poets write works of boldness and acute observation. Louise Wallace’s Bad Things, Hannah Mettner’s Fully Clothed and So Forgetful, Maria McMillan’s The Ski Flier and Flow by Airini Beautrais are diverse and exciting books of poetry. Each writer engages with language in innovative ways to explore and reimagine history, commerce, science, love and the things people do. Come and hear the latest New Zealand poetry in a reading and discussion chaired by poet and novelist Anna Smaill.

DATE: Monday 7 August
TIME: 12.15-1.15pm
VENUE: Te Papa Marae