Category Archives: NZ Poets

At The Hook: Nafanua Kersel’s breathtaking review of Tusiata Avia’s breathtaking Wild Dogs Under My Skirt

22 October, Blyth, HBAF18
Written by Tusiata Avia
Directed by Anapela Polata’ivao
Review by Nafanua Kersel

‘I’m starting at The End.  The End, with standing ovation done, when lights return to remind us of where we are in time and space.  When patrons look around them for reconnection with belongings, or companions. It’s the space where some leave quickly, while others are left sitting with questions.  Where I see strained faces, some with eyes that shuffle more than the feet of their owners. There is a sense of “what did we just see”. I turn to a friend, a wahine Māori, we talk, smile and cry. I hear someone say “well, that was eye-opening”. Yes, for some it was. For others it was heart-expanding.  For me there was also gut-wrenching where I felt exposed down to the bone, to the guts, with the intricacies of my inner make-up being inspected and clucked over, deemed too complex to put away. My heart is racing, my spine and scalp tingling.’

Find The Hook review  here

 

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Dunedin writer Sue Wootton is the recipient of the NZSA Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship 2018

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Sue Wootton will use the fellowship to work on an historical novel. She says: ‘I’m proud and delighted to be the recipient of the 2018 Peter and Dianne Beatson Fellowship. It’s really invigorating to receive this vote of confidence in my project, and wonderful to know that I can now dedicate a sustained stretch of time to work on my second novel, which begins during the 1948 polio epidemic and explores the effects of this on one NZ family’.

Sue Wootton’s poetry, fiction and essays are widely published in New Zealand and internationally, and her work has been recognised in a number of awards and competitions, including the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, the Caselberg Poetry Prize, the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize, the University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s Prize, the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Competition and the NZ Poetry Society International Competition. Her debut novel, Strip (Mākaro Press), was longlisted for the fiction prize in the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards, and her fifth poetry collection, The Yield (Otago University Press) was a finalist in the 2018 poetry category of these prestigious national awards.

Selection panel convener David Hill commented: ‘Sue Wootton is a versatile and much-admired writer, with a growing track record in both poetry and prose. Her sample of work is distinguished by writing that is both adventurous and accessible.’

 

Full details here

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Poem: Anahera Gildea’s ‘Ahi kā’

 

 

Ahi kā

 

At the top of the road

there is wind,

railways crossing at the corner,

of an old wooden prefab where

wine gums and popsicles, and

our feet in jandals fill

the one room dairy that is decades gone

 

toward the motorway

past the tree where Uncle hung himself,

is the highway

the marae-way.

Eels peg the line, and

Chip-dog is lazy barking.

Over the split verandah, you cross

the musty lounge, dark with the 70’s

squeeze down the hall past rooms so

clumsy you can smell the cob

 

out the window, into the land

blazing beneath this ancient copper;

we scrub on the washboard

of someone else’s clothes,

the broken down wringer where

this Auntie’s house is on the left,

that Auntie’s house is on the right;

 

the whole damn road is a gauntlet of aunties.

 

©Anahera Gildea
Anahera Gildea (Ngāti Raukawa-ki-te-tonga) has worked extensively as a visual and performing artist, a writer, and a teacher. She has had her poems and short stories published in multiple journals and anthologies, and her first book ‘Poroporoaki to the Lord My God: Weaving the Via Dolorosa’ was published by Seraph Press in 2016. She holds a BA in Art Theory, Graduate Diplomas in Psychology, Teaching, and Performing Arts, and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Victoria University.

 

 

 

 

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’:

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf audio spot: Serie Barford’s Tapa Talk

 

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‘Tapa Talk’ was published in Tapa Talk by Huia Press in 2007.

 

 

Serie was born in Aotearoa to a migrant German-Samoan mother and a Palagi father. Her latest collection, Entangled Islands (Anahera Press 2015), is a mixture of poetry and prose. Serie’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She was awarded the Seresin Landfall Residency in 2011 and is a recipient of the Michael King Writers’ Centre 2018 Pasifika residency. Some of Serie’s stories for children and adults have aired on RNZ National. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled Piula Blue.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Elizabeth Smither’s ‘The joke of the Sapeurs-Pompiers’

 

 

The joke of the Sapeurs-Pompiers

 

A lady hoping to hire a van for her family

phoned the wrong  number and got the fire station

but so intent on speaking French and impressing

her daughters who were hovering…’Monsieur

I need a vehicle that can seat six

with room for quantities of luggage’

 

The voice that answered was deep and masculine

and full of concern and savoir-faire.

‘We could send one of our smaller fire engines

but perhaps the ladder truck would be more suitable.

Now if you’ll give me your street and arrondissement…’

 

The phone fell shaking into the cradle. A fire engine

might be coming at any moment. Sirens blazing

handsome pompiers and even a fire dog

roaring past, laughing and barking.

‘Run,’ she said to her daughters and they fled

around the corner and into a café.

Next day she went to a car hire company.

 

©Elizabeth Smither

 

 

Elizabeth Smither’s latest collection, Night Horse, won the poetry award at the Ockham Book Awards 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf audio spot: Sarah Jane Barnett’s ‘Playing Dead’

 

 

 

Sarah Jane Barnett is a poet and freelance editor. Her poetry has been published in Aotearoa, Australia, and the US. Sarah’s debut collection A Man Runs into a Woman was a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards. Her second collection WORK was released in October 2015. She is currently working on a third collection, a poetic memoir about how raising her son makes her confront her own childhood trauma. She lives in Wellington, Aotearoa, with her family.

 

‘Playing Dead’ was published in Turbine.