Category Archives: Poetry Awards

New Zealander Charles Olsen awarded the III Poetry Award SxS Antonio Machado in Spain

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Warm congratulations from Poetry Shelf!
New Zealander Charles Olsen has been awarded the III Poetry Award SxS Antonio Machado, which takes the name of the Spanish writer who lived and worked in the cities of Segovia and Soria in Spain.

Organized by the town councils of Segovia and Soria the residency is open to poets resident in Europe of any nationality other than Spanish who have a basic knowledge of the Spanish language. The winner receives 3,000 euros and the town councils cover the poet’s travel costs to and from their cities.

The jury, presided over by Manuel Rico Rego and including Amalia Iglesias, María Isabel Gil, César Ibáñez and Andrés Martín has awarded the III Poetry Award SxS Antonio Machado to Charles Olsen for his proposal, which includes the first draft of a collection of between 30 and 40 poems in Spanish divided in two parts (Segovia and Soria) and a poetry project with the participation of residents of Segovia and Soria.

Charles will spend one month in each city following in the footsteps of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who first moved to the region of Castile in 1907 taking up the position of Professor of French at the Instituto General y Técnico of Soria, which now bears his name. He stayed until 1912, the year his young wife, Leonor Izquierdo, died and shortly after the publication of the first edition of Campos de Castilla.

2019 will be the centenary of the Antonio Machado’s arrival in Segovia where he stayed from 1919 until 1932 giving classes at the Instituto General y Técnico—now the IES Mariano Quintanilla—and actively participating in the creation and development of valuable democratic projects such as the Popular University, which will also celebrate its centenary in 2019 and has now become the San Quirce Royal Academy of History and Arts. A convinced pro-European and committed to peace and respect when both were becoming scarce in the world, Antonio Machado continues to be an important humanist and ethical figure, which only adds to the greatness of his literary oeuvre.

Charles himself has published two collections of poetry in Spain, Sr Citizen and Antípodas, and his poems are included in recent editions of Landfall, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and Blackmail Press.

For New Zealand’s Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day in August he will be running the competition Given Words, now in its third year, and to celebrate receiving the award he will choose words from one of Antonio Machado’s poems with which participants must weave their own poem. The Given Words competition, open to all New Zealand citizens and residents of any age, will go live on 1 August and has prizes for Best Poem and Best Poem by Under-16s, donated by Massey University Press and Mākaro Press. The winning poems will also be translated into Spanish.

 

 

 

 

Rachel McAlpine: to take up writers in residence at Yeonhui Art Space in Seoul

 

Great news for Rachel McAlpine. Full post here

From Rachel:

I am excited and honoured to have been chosen as one of the writers in residence at Yeonhui Art Space in Seoul for the month of September. Everything about this residency gives me such a buzz.

  • The programme is part of the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, a well organised government body
  • The buildings look charming and so does the setting
  • The thought of a whole month in which writing comes first thrills me top to toe
  • Everyone says the people of Korea are super friendly
  • I’m sure to be involved in some literary events
  • It’s in Seoul! My first visit to a legendary city! In autumn!
  • I will have time to explore the city including the famous flea markets and temples and daytime discos for old people.

 

 

 

 

 

Caselberg International Poetry Prize opens June 1st

Now Open: International Poetry Prize

 

Entries are now open for the Caselberg International Poetry Prize, judged by David Eggleton. The winning poem will be published in the Spring edition of Landfall, and the winning poet will receive a $500 Prize and a week long stay at the beautiful Caselberg House out on the Otago Peninsula.

 

Information for Entrants

The competition opens 1st June and closes on 31st July. Entries are judged blind. First Prize is $500 (plus one-week stay at the Caselberg house at Broad Bay, Dunedin). Second Prize is $250; and there are up to 5 Highly-Commended awards (no monetary prizes).

The first- and second-placed poems will be published in the Spring issue of Landfall, and all winning and highly-commended entries will appear on the Caselberg Trust web-site (copyright remaining with the authors).

Entry fee: $20 for up to four poems from any one entrant. Payment may be made to any branch of the ANZ National Bank to the credit of the Caselberg Trust, a/c no. 06-0901-0353698-00, giving your name as the payer reference; or by cheque made out to ‘Caselberg Trust’, or in cash.

Note – entry fees must be paid prior to submitting your entry, and where payments are not received, poems will not be submitted for judging

  • Poems must be the original work of the entrant, previously unpublished, and not submitted elsewhere.
  • Poems must be no more than 40 lines in length.
  • Entries must be typewritten, and each poem should be laid out on a separate page (or separate word document if attached via email) and any style or subject will be considered.
  • The poet’s name must not appear on the typescript.

Entries may be submitted by e-mail to poetry@caselbergtrust.org or post to:

Caselberg Poetry Prize
PO Box 71
Portobello
Dunedin 9014
NZ

Along with your entries, whether by e-mail or as hard copy, please provide your name and postal address and phone number, and your e-mail address (for receipt of your entry fee when this is received). If you have no e-mail address, and you want receipt of entry please send a stamped addressed envelope.

 

No entries received after 31st July 2016 will be considered.

Winners only will be notified of their success. A copy of the Judge’s report will be posted on the Caselberg Trust website , and as always, the Judge’s decisions will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.

David Eggleton lives in Otepoti/Dunedin, where he is a poet, writer, reviewer and editor. His first collection of poems was co-winner of the PEN New Zealand Best First Book of Poems Award in 1987. In 2015 he received the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry. His collection of poems, The Conch Trumpet, won the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry. Also in 2016, he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry. A new collection, Edgeland and other poems, is being published by Otago University Press in July 2018.

Click here to read about last year’s winning poem.

 

Celebrating the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize winner 2018: Jane Arthur

 

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Photo credit: Kelley Eady Loveridge

It was with great pleasure I announced Jane Arthur as the winner of the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize 2018. I had not heard Jane read before, had read a few of her poems here and there, but her reading just blew my socks off. Poems have first life on the page but poems also have infectious life in the air. So I cheekily asked her to record two of the poems she had read. Jane is a poet on my poetry radar – I can’t wait to hold her first book and review it on the blog. Warm congratulations!

 

Jane’s acceptance speech:

When I found out I was shortlisted for this prize, I said to my partner, “This is the flashest thing that’s ever happened to me.” And he looked at me and at our baby and back at me, and raised his eyebrows. I mean, it’s a close call, though. Sarah Broom and Eileen Myles? This is definitely the coolest I’ve ever been.

In 2010, a year after I’d moved from Auckland to Wellington, my friend Harriet sent me a gift in the mail, with a note along the lines of “This is essential reading”. It was a copy of the newly released Tigers at Awhitu. I’ve read it a number of times since then, and Gleam, too – and they’ve meant different things to me each time. I’ve read them for pleasure, and I’ve examined their craft. Most recently was this month, and it’s the first time I’ve read them since becoming a parent – it was harder this time. But they’re so brave, and kind and clear-eyed. I’m thrilled to have my name associated with Sarah Broom.

The poems I submitted for this competition were mostly ones I wrote when I did my MA in creative writing at Vic in 2015. Since then, I’ve had a couple of jobs, moved house twice, got a second dog, launched a website, had a baby – and lost entirely my confidence in my writing. It’s always been tenuous, but I had quietly come to the realisation that I’m not a writer. Definitely not a poet. Not good enough. Not proper-writer enough. I’d stopped writing. I was embarrassed at myself for entering this competition.

Then I got a phone call. And I spent a few days feeling like I’d had too much coffee. And then I wrote a poem.

The way this competition runs means the poems are judged blind – the judge doesn’t know who wrote them, how famous or accomplished or awarded the poet is. They simply read the poems. And the judge is different each year. This is a wonderful way to even the playing field and let different tastes and styles rise to the surface. I mean, here I am. Eileen freaking Myles read my poems. 

The prize means – I can barely believe this – I join the likes of Hera Lindsay Bird, who I did a Unity Books stocktake with once, and Elizabeth Smither, who’s from NP like I am. Once it’s sunk in, this prize will seriously up my confidence and give me ammunition to fire back at my imposter syndrome, and it will help me write a book.

Thanks again to the trustees, and the judge. And to the other finalists whose work I’ve really enjoyed discovering. But mostly thanks to Grisham – you are pretty flash.

 

Two poems from Jane’s reading at the festival:

 

“To check up on the state of your heart you must lie back”

 

“Keanu is afraid (a triolet)”

 

From our conversation on Poetry Shelf:

Paula: Which poem in your selection particularly falls into place. Why?

Jane: To check up on the state of your heart you must lie back” is one of those rare poems that burst out of me in one sitting (having been rolled around my brain for a day or so) and didn’t change significantly after that. An earlier version was published in Ika and two years later only a few words have changed. I wish I knew why some poems come out easily, it’s much more efficient. I am typically the world’s most painfully slow and fussy writer … more of a deleter.

 

 

 

Jane Arthur was born in New Plymouth and lives in Wellington with her partner, baby and dogs. She has worked in the book industry for over 15 years as a bookseller and editor, and is a founder of the New Zealand children’s literature website The Sapling. She has a Master’s in Creative Writing from the IIML at Victoria University, where her supervisor was Cliff Fell, a 2017 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize finalist. She also has a Diploma in Publishing from Whitireia Polytech and a Master’s in English Literature from Auckland University. Her poems have appeared in journals including SportTurbineIka, and Sweet Mammalian.

 

 

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Photo credit: Kelley Eady Loveridge (Michael Gleissner with Paula Green, Stuart Airey, Jane Arthur and Robyn Maree Pickens)

Celebrating Elizabeth Smither’s Best Book of Poetry Award

 

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Elizabeth Smither, Night Horse – winner of the Best Poetry Book Award at the Ockham NZ Book Awards 2018

 

Paula: Your new collection is a delight to read and offers so many poetic treats. I was thinking as I read that your poems are like little jackets that can be worn inside out and outside in. In stillness there is movement and in movement there is stillness; in musicality there is plainness and in plainness there is musicality. In the strange there is the ordinary and in the ordinary there is the strange. What do you like your poems to do?

Elizabeth: I want them to do everything. Everything at once. I want them to feel and think (and feel the thinking in them as you read). I want them to be quick, in the old sense of the word: the opposite of dead. I want them to not know something and try to find it out – I would never write a poem with prior knowledge – I think ignorance can be bliss or at least start the motor. And as I write more I find out more and more about musicality. Isn’t one of the loveliest moments in music when harmony breaks through discord as though it is earned and you know that discord, instead of being a thicket or a dark wood, is part of it?

 

Paula: I especially love the ongoing friendship and granddaughter poems, but I particularly love the first poem, ‘My mother’s house.’ Kate Camp and I heard you read this at the National Library’s Circle of Laureates and were so moved and uplifted that we asked for copies! Unseen, you are observing your mother move through the house from the street (you gave us this introduction) and see her in shifting lights. The moment is extraordinary; are we are at our truest self when we are not observed? There is the characteristic Smither movement through the poem, slow and attentive, to the point of tilt or surprise. The final lines reverberate and alter the pitch of looking: ‘but she who made it/who would soon walk into the last room/of her life and go to sleep in it.’  Do you have a poem or two in the collection that particularly resonate with you?

Elizabeth: I’m fond of ‘The tablecloth’ after I observed my friend, Clay, scrubbing at a corner of a white damask tablecloth in the laundry after a dinner party. It reminded me of the old-fashioned way of washing linen in a river. It’s both a doll-sized tablecloth and something almost as large as the tablecloth for a royal banquet around which staff walk, measuring the placement of cutlery and the distance between each chair. ‘Ukulele for a dying child’ tumbles all over itself in an incoherent manner because the subject is so serious and no poet can do it justice. The grandmother poems will probably be ongoing because it is such an intense experience: something between a hovering angel and a lioness. Going back to your remark about ‘My mother’s house’ I agree with the truth that is available in our unobserved moments. Perhaps there is a balance between our social and our private moments which might comprise something Keats called ‘soul-making’.

from our interview

 

 

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

 

 

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Paula: Have you seen a festival poetry session (anywhere) that has blown you off your seat (or had some other significant impact)?

Elizabeth: Margaret Atwood and Hans Magnus Enzensberger at the Aldeburgh festival. I read first and sat down between them, shivering.

Paula: If you could curate a dream poetry session at The Auckland Writers Festival which poets would be there and who would mc or chair it?

Elizabeth: I  think I’d do a Dead Poets session. Keats and Shelley, Robert Lowell, William Empson, John Crowe Ransom, Tomas Tranströmer, Szymborska, of course… the possibilities are endless. It might have something of the bitchy tone of ‘The Real Housewives of Melbourne’.  To chair it one of the Paulas: Green or Morris.

 

from Poetry Shelf  ’12 Questions for the Ockham New Zealand Book Award Poetry finalists’

 

Elizabeth will appear at the Auckland Writers Festival 

Sunday May 20  1.30 – 2.20 Disappearances  (4 readings) Limelight Room, Aotea Centre

 

Auckland University Press Night Horse page and author page

Booksellers review by Emma Shi

Radio NZ National review by Harry Ricketts with Kathryn Ryan

 

Award night

 

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Celebrating Hannah Mettner’s Best First Book of Poetry Award

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Hannah Mettner, Fully Clothed and So Forgetful – winner of the Best First Book Award at the Ockham NZ Book Awards 2018

 

We believe in the steps.

We tell our children and then our

grandchildren about the cool

pond at the top where sun-

carp clean our feet and where

we can sleep. The steps are one of

the beautiful mysteries of

life, like how did we get here,

fully clothed and so forgetful?

 

from ‘Higher ground’

 

Paula: ‘Fully Clothed and So Forgetful gave me goose bumps as I read and took me beyond words to that state where you stand somewhere wild and beautiful and just stall beyond language to absorb the world. My initial reaction is simply to tell the reader to read the book. But then I start accumulating a list of what I think the poetry is doing: the poems are inventive, unpredictable, melodic, on the move, strange, love-soaked.’

Hannah: The key thing that matters to me in a poem (whether one I’m writing or reading) is that it gets me in the gut. I get very frustrated by poetry that feels empty, or emotionally disengaged or distant, or is teasing the reader or holding them at arm’s length. I just find it boring, I mean, I know that different poems and poets have all sorts of intellectual fare to offer, but I want to be emotionally moved by a poem, and nothing less.

from our interview

 

My children are abducted by 17th-century French courtesans

In the rose garden near the big house
where somebody famous was either
born, or not, all the ladies spread their
pinks out in the sun. Pretty young ladies
with expensive, dewy faces who want
my children for their photogenic walls.
They look as though they’re picnicking
with their floral bubbles and their green
men but their stiletto fingers give them
away. And my children were just feeding
ducks, but where have they gone?! Quick
say the birds Find them Find them, gobbling
their trails of bread. The ladies strengthen
in the light and their prickles rise and my
nose is so full of their French scent that
I start to sneeze. The ladies wilt a little in
revulsion. Their corals and blushes and rouges
are falling brown, then grey; old ladies with
shallow bones and prickles blunted with
age. And where are your children they
want to know and I want to know too.
I’ve looked everywhere. There’s a low
graze of desperation in my throat, which
stings as I call their names. I uproot one
of the ladies and use her to beat back a
path through the others, until they look
almost young again in the freshness
of their bruises. When I get back to the
pond most of the spinsters have frosted
in the ground. The children are there
wearing new fur coats. One is putting logs
on a fire, while the other pulls dinner
from the snow.

©Hannah Mettner, from Fully clothed and so forgetful (Victoria University Press, 2017)

 

Author note: This is the poem that helped me realise that there was a way to integrate the emotional authenticity that I want my poems to convey (in this case the fear of ‘losing my children’) with something less literal. For me, this meant that rather than merely ‘stating facts’ in a pleasant or interesting way with line breaks, I was able to tease out multiple concepts and feelings simultaneously in an environment less concretely related to the real world. So, this poem deals with my fear of losing my children after the breakup of my relationship with their father, but holds with that the fear of a potential ‘stepmother’, and the fear of them doing fine without me, but because none of this takes place in a recognisable world (rosebushes don’t usually turn into young women), I felt freer to say all that.

 

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Victoria University Press page

Radio NZ  National: Harry Ricketts reviews the book with Kathryn Ryan

 

Award night:

 

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Bill Manhire and Albert Wendt recognised as Icons

 

 

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Last night The Arts Foundation recognised Bill Manhire and Albert Wendt as Icons. Both  Bill and Albert have produced writing that is a significant part of our literary landscape, yet both have done so much more. Their mentorship of and generosity towards other writers is noteworthy. Their writing stands as uniquely theirs, offering nimble and wide ranging voices, an ability to tap into the humane, the surprising, the musicality of the world. I find their poetry utterly nourishing.

Congratulations from Poetry Shelf on this well deserved honour.

See here for more details. The other Icons were: artist Billy Apple, composer Dame Gillian Karawe Whitehead and sculptor Fred Graham.

 

Albert’s poem ‘New Coat’

Bill Manhire talks to Poetry Shelf