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.
‘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Emma Neale received the inaugural NZSA/Janet Frame Memorial Award, the Kathleen Grattan Award for an unpublished poetry manuscript (The Truth Garden), the University of Otago Burns Fellowship and the NZSA/Beatson Fellowship.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.
I am heading to Palmerston North next week to do a a few things at the RealM Manawatu conference so thought I would organise a poetry reading with friends.
Johanna Aitchison, Helen Lehndorf and Tim Upperton don’t live in the same city as me, I’ve hardly ever met them, but I have had enduring friendships with their writing. When I was trawling through the poetry archives for a year or so, for Wild Honey, I was captivated by friendships among the early women poets. These involved exchanging letters, drinking tea and sharing secrets but also included sustained engagements with each other’s writing. I liked that.
I got to thinking about the diverse communities we write in and how we also have support crews whether people or poetry: poetry friendships. I most certainly do.
So on Wednesday 13th June, at 6.30 pm, I will be in conversation with Helen, Johanna and Tim at the Palmerston North Central Library. In the meantime you can hear a poem from each of us – an online miniature poetry reading.
An audio tasting platter
Photo credit: Barira Nazir
Johanna Aitchison reading ‘Cockroach’
Johanna Aitchison is a doctoral candidate at Massey University examining alter egos in contemporary lyric poetry. Her hobbies are running, op-shopping, and she’s always keen for a good karaoke session.
Helen Lehndorf reading ‘the things you are not ready for’
Helen Lehndorf is a writer and writing teacher. Her book ‘The Comforter’ made the New Zealand Listener’s ‘Best 100 Books of 2012 and her poem ‘Wabi-sabi’ was selected for Best New Zealand Poems in 2011. Her second book, about the practice of journaling, ‘Write to the Centre’ was published by Haunui Press in 2016. Her essay ‘The Sensory Seeker’ appeared in Massey University’s 2017 anthology ‘Home’. She loves permaculture, community activism and helping people access their innate creativity.
You can hear Tim Upperton read ‘My Lazy Eye’ at The Pantograph Punch here
and he reads ‘The truth about Palmerston North’ with a discussion by the editors at Poetry Foundation here
Tim Upperton’s second poetry collection, The Night We Ate The Baby (Haunui Press), was an Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalist in 2016. He won the Caselberg International Poetry Competition in 2012 and again in 2013. His poems have been published widely in magazines and journals including Sport, Landfall, NZ Listener, and North and South in New Zealand, and Poetry, Shenandoah, and Agni in America. His work is also anthologised in The Best of Best New Zealand Poems (Victoria University Press), Essential New Zealand Poems (Random House), Villanelles (Everyman), and Obsession: Sestinas in the Twenty-First Century (Dartmouth University Press). He reviews books occasionally for the NZ Listener, Metro, The Pantograph Punch, Landfall, and The Spinoff, and is completing a Creative Writing PhD researching the poetry of Frederick Seidel.