Category Archives: NZ Poets

Louise Wallace & guests to launch her new collection August 10th

Sad to miss this event! Glad I get to read to the book!

 

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Book launch for BAD THINGS: a new book of poems by Louise Wallace. With readings from Lynley Edmeades, Bill Manhire, Tayi Tibble and Chris Tse. All welcome.

Books by all authors available for purchase on the night, along with limited edition cover art prints by Kimberly Andrews.

Drink, nibble, get your books signed and be merry.

VUP page


from E-Tangata: Paula Morris in excellent conversation with Dale Husband

Paula Morris: Our Māori writers are free to write whatever they want

 

I suppose there’s the question of what constitutes a Māori story. And whether a Pākehā can write a Māori story.

Generally, when I talk about Māori literature, I’m talking about writers who are Māori. To me, if you’re a Māori writer, you’re part of Māori literature — no matter what you’re writing. Overseas, people understand that. If Ernest Hemingway is writing a book in Spain — he’s still an American writer. If Graham Greene is writing a book set in Haiti or Cuba — he’s still a British writer.

Here, sometimes I think that, because our literature is younger and a bit more anxious, we worry about who’s in and who’s out. I do think really good Pākehā writers can write a Māori story if they really understand what they’re writing — and if they have the empathy, imagination, and skills, and if they’ve done their research. Then, yes. Absolutely.

And, of course, Māori writers can write about whatever the hell they want to. So Kelly Ana Morey can write about a racehorse in a book largely set in Australia — and still be part of Māori literature because she is a Māori writer. Our national literature is like other art. It’s to do with the painters or the sculptors themselves. It’s not to do with the actual work having to fit a particular theme or subject.

 

Full interview here

Good news: NZ poet, Charles Olsen, receives Spanish poetry award

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New Zealand poet Charles Olsen receives the XIII Distinction POETAS DE OTROS MUNDOS (‘Poets From Other Worlds’) awarded by the Fondo Poético Internacional (‘International Poetry Fund’) in recognition of the high quality of his poetic oeuvre.

Son of an Anglican priest and an opera singer, Charles Olsen moved to England in 1981 and to Spain in 2003. He travelled to Spain because of his interest in the Spanish painters Velasquez and Goya, and to study flamenco guitar. He has published the poetry collections Sr. Citizen (Amargord, 2011), which includes a foreword by New Zealand poet Pat White, and Antípodas (Huerga & Fierro, 2016). His poems have been included in anthologies in Spain and Colombia as well as Blackmail Press (editions 28 and 39) and the latest NZ Poetry Yearbook 2017 (Massey University Press). Although he didn’t speak Spanish before moving to Spain now writes many of his poems in Spanish and has also translated many Spanish and New Zealand poets.

He has also taken his poetic vision into different areas such as the performance Agita Flamenco which premiered in the New Zealand pavilion of the Venice Biennale – a show including flamenco dance and piano – and his poetry films, which have been shown in festivals such as Liberated Words (Bristol), Sinestèsia (Barcelona), and ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival (Berlín). He collaborated with video-creations in the show Parpadeos, presented this year in the Netherlands Flamenco Biënnale.

For the last six years he has run the online poetry project Palabras Prestadas (Given Words) with the participation of poets from throughout the Spanish-speaking world and this year he is running a special edition of Given Words in English for the Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day which is open to all New Zealanders.

His partner, Colombian poet Lilián Pallares, with whom he runs the audiovisual producer antenablue – the observed word, has been awarded at the same time the XIV Distinction POETAS DE OTROS MUNDOS. In 2011 she was selected as one of the ten best young writers of Latin America by About.com, New York. Charles recently translated her book of short stories ‘Sleepwalking City‘ into English.

The awards will be presented by the Aragonese poet, Ángel Guinda, president of the Fondo Poético Internacional, on Sunday 9th July of the current year, in Madrid, Nakama Bookshop (Calle Pelayo 22), at 12:30 midday.

The previous distinctions have been awarded to the poets Theodoro Elssaca (Chile), Subhro Bandopadyay (India), Zhivka Baltadzhieva (Bulgaria), Mohsen Emadi (Iran), Ahmad Yamani (Egypt), Inés Ramón (Argentina), Rubén Grajeda Fuentes, ‘Leo Zelada’ (Peru), Nicanor Parra (Chile), Abdul Hadi Sadoun (Iraq), Mohamed Alfaqueeh (Libia), Soleh Wolpé (Iran) and Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania).

Frankie McMillan has tips for Hysteria Writing Competition

Waxing lyrical about poetry

The third category for the Sixth International Hysteria Writing Competition is poetry. That means a poem with the very loose theme “things of interest to women.” Oh, and a maximum of twenty lines, not including spaces. Our writer in residence Alex Reece Abbott has asked some award-winning poets and judges from around the world to share their best pointers for writing poetry for her post this month – big thanks go to the fabulous Frankie McMillan; Camille Ralphs; Jane Clarke and Aki Schilz for their support and valuable insights.

Camille has also kindly shared a poetry generator, so even if you’ve never written a poem before, there’s plenty of ideas to get you started for our deadline of August 31 2017. You can enter the poetry category on the Hysteria website.

Remember, you can make as many entries to Hysteria as you like, and you are not restricted to any category, so you may like to check out our other pointers and generators for flash fiction and short stories too.

So, here’s what my cyberkuia (wise women online) around the world had to say about poetry…

Frankie McMillan

frankie mcmillanAll the best for this project – here are my top tips for poetry…

  • Consider what you’re doing a kind of exploration. See the poem as an interesting journey – be alert and curious as to where it leads you.
  • Let things spill out even if they seem wild or unrelated. Let one thought catch on to another.
  • Don’t record what you already know; fresh insights are more interesting. Judges want to feel as if their view of the world/humanity has been enlarged by reading the poem.
  • Write what you really feel, not what you think you should feel.
  • Stick to the truth, the truth of your perceptions, the truth of your imagination.
  • Use interesting words to texture the poem. Do some research around the topic of the poem, gather a ‘word bank’ together.
  • Write freely and bravely but edit ruthlessly.

Frankie McMillan is a New Zealand short story writer and poet. Her latest book ‘My Mother and the Hungarians and other small fictions’ (Canterbury University Press) was longlisted for the 2017 NZ Ockham Book Awards.  In 2005, she was awarded the Creative New Todd Bursary.

Other awards include winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition in 2009 and winner of the New Zealand Flash Fiction Competition in 2013 and 2015. In 2014, she held the Ursula Bethell writing residency at Canterbury University and in 2017, the University of Auckland/ Michael King writing residency.

 

For the rest of the piece see here

Congratulations: Karen Healey and John Newton awarded Ursula Bethell Residencies

An award-winning Christchurch writer and a literary historian/poet are the two University of Canterbury Ursula Bethell Writers in Residence for 2017.

Christchurch author Karen Healey writes books and short stories about smart girls with tough problems and angry boys with secrets. She’s the award-winning author of Guardian of the Dead, The Shattering, When We Wake, and While We Run. When We Wake was recently adapted as a Radio New Zealand dramatic reading. She also appears in the geek podcast The Nerd Degree, teaches high school English, and volunteers for the Green Party.

A UC alumna, Karen Healey says she is thrilled to receive the residency and has already planned what she’ll do with her time back at UC.

“I’m so grateful to UC – my alma mater! – for giving me this opportunity! The novel I proposed has been gnawing a hole in my backbrain for years, but I knew it would require dedicated research and writing time – and probably a university-level library. I didn’t have those things, so I worked on projects I could fit around my other commitments. Thanks to the generosity of UC and Creative New Zealand, I’m able to finally get to grips with this challenging work,” she says.

A former UC English academic, now Wellington-based, John Newton is a poet, literary historian and weekend musician. He is the author of The Double Rainbow: James K. Baxter, Ngāti Hau and the Jerusalem Commune (VUP, 2009) and three books of poetry, most recently Family Songbook (VUP, 2013). Hard Frost: Structures of Feeling in New Zealand Literature 1908-1945, to be published by VUP in October, is the first instalment of a three-volume history of New Zealand literary nationalism.

“My main project for the residency is a book-length satirical narrative in verse, provisionally titled Slack Key Guitar. The setting is an imaginary Pacific Paradise, not unlike Waiheke Island. Its themes belong loosely to the unofficial history of Romanticism,” he says.

Previous recipients of the residency include Owen Marshall (1981), Margaret Mahy (1984), Keri Hulme (1985), Fiona Farrell (1992), Sue McCauley (1993), Catherine Chidgey (2003), Charlotte Randall (2005), Carl Nixon (2006), Tusiata Avia (2010), and Eleanor Catton (2011).

About the Ursula Bethell Residency

Ursula Mary Bethell (1874–1945) was a Christchurch poet and artist. The Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing, jointly funded by the University of Canterbury College of Arts and Creative New Zealand, was established by the University of Canterbury in 1979 to provide support for New Zealand writers and foster New Zealand writing. The Residency allows authors of proven merit in all areas of literary and creative activity an opportunity to work on an approved project within an academic environment. Since the residency’s inception, UC has been home to more than 40 fiction-writers, poets and dramatists, many of whom have made a valuable contribution to the development of young writers studying at the University.

Three NZ writers to appear at prestigious Edinburgh literary festival – including two poets

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New Zealand writers making waves at home and abroad will present their work and participate in the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.

A new partnership between the festival, WORD Christchurch and Creative New Zealand has resulted in the talented line-up of New Zealand writers, all with acclaimed books, set to make an impression at the renowned literary event.

The writers are award-winning and wildly popular Wellington poet Hera Lindsay Bird, critically acclaimed Auckland poet, playwright and fiction writer Courtenay Sina Meredith, and best-selling Wellington novelist, comic artist and blogger Sarah Laing. They will be accompanied by Rachael King, author and programme director of WORD Christchurch, who has worked with the festival to select the writers and curate their events.

Participation in the festival is part of the New Zealand at Edinburgh 2017 season which sees the return of a New Zealand season across the various Edinburgh festivals taking place in August. This follows an ambitious and successful presentation in 2014.

With the theme of Brave New Words, this year’s book festival programme features more than 1000 authors from 45 countries.

Hera Lindsay Bird will appear with recent Ted Hughes prize-winner Hollie McNish in Poetry Superstars, and perform in a late night spoken word showcase. Courtney Sina Meredith will join a 21st Century Women panel, curated by guest selectors Roxane Gay and Jackie Kay. Meredith will also appear alongside Scottish poet and musician MacGillivray in Reshuffling the Pack.  Sarah Laing will host a reading workshop of Katherine Mansfield stories, as well as talk about her book Mansfield & Me alongside English comic creator Hannah Berry in Graphic Novels of Influential Women.  Rachael King will also appear in the children’s programme.

“We are thrilled that the relationships developed during previous seasons have resulted in this new partnership. It will expose the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s audiences to new and talented voices from Aotearoa and provide a dynamic international networking opportunity for the writers,” said Creative New Zealand senior manager for international, Cath Cardiff.

The festival expressed an interest in working with a local partner to bring New Zealand authors to its programme. This worked well with WORD Christchurch’s aspirations to engage more with international partners and to promote New Zealand literature overseas.

“We are delighted to be working with WORD Christchurch this year and we are very much looking forward to welcoming some of New Zealand’s wonderful writers to the book festival in August,” said Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Nicky Barley.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Edinburgh International Book Festival on programming New Zealand writers into some fantastic events that will showcase their talents and ensure maximum exposure for their work,” said Rachael King.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival began in 1983 and is now a key event in the August festival season. It has grown rapidly in size and scope to become the largest and most dynamic festival of its kind in the world. In its first year the book festival hosted 30 events, now it programmes more than 800 events attracting around 220,000 visitors.

To support the writers to attend the festival Creative New Zealand has provided $20,000 towards airfares, accommodation and administration costs.

Biographies:

Hera Lindsay Bird has an MA in poetry from the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington where she won the 2011 Adam Prize for best folio. Her debut, self-titled book of poetry HERA LINDSAY BIRD was published in July 2016 by Victoria University Press (VUP). It has become the fastest selling, most popular book of poetry the VUP has ever published, and won Best First Book of Poetry at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

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Courtney Sina Meredith is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician. Her play Rushing Dolls (2010) won a number of awards and was published by Playmarket in 2012. She launched her first published book of poetry, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick (Beatnik), at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, and has since published a short story collection, Tail of the Taniwha (2016) to critical acclaim. She has been selected for a number of international writers’ residencies. Meredith describes her writing as an “ongoing discussion of contemporary urban life with an underlying Pacific politique”. She is of Samoan, Mangaian and Irish descent.

courtneymeredith.com

Sarah Laing is the author of two novels, Dead People’s Music and Fall of Light, and a short story collection, Coming Up Roses. With a background in illustration and design, she runs the popular comic blog Let Me Be Frank, which she started when she held the Frank Sargeson Fellowship in 2008. She has contributed comics to magazines, illustrated children’s books, and co-edited Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women’s Comics. Her latest book, Mansfield & Me, is a graphic biography and memoir, which compares the life of New Zealand’s most famous writer Katherine Mansfield, to Sarah’s own life of creativity, insecurity and celebrity obsession.

sarahelaing.com

Rachael King has been the programme director of WORD Christchurch since 2013. She is the author of two books for adults, The Sound of Butterflies (winner of Best First Novel at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards) and Magpie Hall (long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), and one for children, Red Rocks, which won New Zealand’s longest-running literary award, the Esther Glen Medal. Her work has been translated into eight languages and has garnered critical praise worldwide.

rachael-king.com

For more information contact:
Helen Isbister
Communications Manager
04 473 0187
helen.isbister@creativenz.govt

Poetry Shelf Autumn Season: Poets pick a word – Frankie McMillan picks slouch

 

Recycling the Slouch

Lately, I’ve been thinking of the word, ‘slouch.’ And how being a writer exacerbates my poor posture.  I tell myself to sit up straight, that if I keep on writing, crouched over the lap top, my internal organs will get crushed, I’ll develop a dowager’s hump, my spine will be misaligned, nobody will like me. Then as if on cue I come across ‘Its Face’ by Imtiaz Dharker.

The poem, full of the imagery of menace, suggests the threat ‘ …will not come /slouching out of the ground/ It walks along a street /that has a familiar name.’  Familiar.  I see the shaggy haired beast slouching along a street, leaving behind a beery breath, the smell of onions. The lines are clearly a reference to Yeat’s ‘Second Coming’: ‘and what rough beast its hour come round at last/ slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?’

I google ‘slouch’ because now I’m saying the word out loud and the more I say it the more it seems peculiar, as if I might have got it wrong. (And yet the sound has some relation to the meaning, maybe not onomatopoeia but a sort of sound symbolism).

It appears the ‘Second Coming’ may well be the most pillaged piece of literature in English. References to it crop up in book titles, movies, video games, heavy rock metal bands and pornography.  Even a Russia Today headline recycles a line suggesting that ‘Europe is slouching towards anxiety and war.’

The most interesting definition of slouch comes from the Urban dictionary where it’s cool to be in a ‘slouch.’ A slouch is a period of time usually 2- 4 days when a group of people stay in a confined space to play video games and binge on large quantities of food.

Suddenly my posture straightens.  ‘Slouch’ I say out loud. I hear it as the title of a new poem, and like  others before me, I leap up from my desk, begin to walk the poem into existence.

©Frankie McMillan 2017

 

Frankie McMillan is a Christchurch short story writer and poet. Her latest book, My Mother and the Hungarians and other small fictions, was longlisted for the 2017 NZ Ockham Book Awards. In 2005 she was awarded the Creative New Todd Bursary. Other awards include winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition in 2009 and winner of the New Zealand Flash Fiction Competition in 2013 and 2015. In 2014 she held the Ursula Bethell writing residency at Canterbury University and in 2017 the University of Auckland/ Michael King writing residency.