Category Archives: Wellington poetry reading

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.

James Brown launching new collection

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Victoria University Press warmly invites you to the launch of
James Brown’s brand new poetry collection

Floods Another Chamber

on Wednesday 4 October, 6pm–7.30pm
at The Guest Room, Southern Cross Garden Bar,
39 Abel Smith St, Te Aro.

Greg O’Brien will launch Floods Another Chamber

Books will be for sale courtesy of Unity Books.
p/b, $25
About Floods Another Chamber

 

 

 

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

From Claire O’Loughlin: Writers on Mondays with Marianne Boruch

 

It is midday on Monday 31 July, and I am one of around a hundred people who have gathered in Te Marae at Te Papa to hear visiting American writer Marianne Boruch in discussion with Chris Price. On the way in I meet up with my friend and fellow IIML student Mia. We’re both elated and windswept from our brisk bicycle rides through the city to get here. Outside the wind is ferocious, making a high-pitched whistling sound against the building and pushing clouds out of the sky, letting multi-coloured sunlight to pour in through the stained-glass windows in the marae. After an introduction from Chris, Marianne steps up to the lectern and says she thinks the whistling is a good spirit. Te Marae is peaceful, warm and light. It does feel full of good spirits.

Opening with an acknowledgement of spirits is appropriate at a marae, and even if Marianne doesn’t know that, I feel immediately that she is, for all her international success, an utterly humble writer. She wants first and foremost to let us know that even though it seems we are here to talk about her, she is putting herself aside.

Today’s talk is called The Little Death of Self, which is the title of her new collection of essays published by The University of Michigan Press earlier this year. But this notion, the death of the self, relates to all her writing, and today she continually comes back to the idea of removing the self/the writer/the personality from the writing, and allowing its own life, or spirit, to come through.

She talks about her poetry collection, Cadaver, Speak, in which the poems are in the voice of a cadaver. In 2008, as part of a faculty fellowship at Purdue University in Indiana where she is Professor of English, Marianne took an anatomy class in the medical school studying corpses. She was drawn to one cadaver in particular, the body of a 99-year old woman. The result of her study was the collection of poetry, published in 2014 by Copper Canyon Press.

At first, she tells us, she struggled with voice in the Cadaver poems, which were all in third person pronoun. It felt wrong, she said, like she the writer was speaking for someone, rather than letting them to speak for themselves. She wanted a ‘self’ there, but it was the wrong one. A simple but profound switch solved the problem: she changed the poems to first-person pronoun. Suddenly it was like the real cadaver’s voice coming out, and the poems seemed to live on their own.

She reads us three poems from Cadaver, Speak; an essay on audibility; and a hilarious section from her memoir The Glimpse Traveller (Indiana University Press 2011), in which a high school nun gives her and her friends dating advice for keeping boys “at bay.” The advice that is so absurdly unique it is almost surreal, such as carrying around a little bag of stones to drop in any puddles one has to step over, in order to break the reflection.

She tells us that her memoir is really a “we-oir,” because it’s not just her story, it’s the story of a generation in 1970s America. Here again she’s putting the ‘me’ aside. She talks about the idea of intention as almost worthless in writing – intention can get you started, she says, but the work has to be allowed to be what it wants to be. Get the self out of the way. Let the spirit of it out.

It strikes me that this idea of intention as inherently selfish, and the idea removing the self, are both about allowing for empathy. They are both about putting yourself, whether you are the reader or writer, through feeling and imagination, into another’s shoes.

I am one of this year’s Masters students at Victoria’s IIML. My background is all in theatre, which I’ve studied and worked in for the past decade, and this year I suddenly find myself trying to be a non-fiction writer. At first it felt alien, but more and more I’m struck by the core values that cover all art forms. For me, theatre is also all about empathy. Marianne is a poet, essayist and memoirist, all seemly different forms. I’m beginning to see that you can switch between forms and mediums and be effective in them, but only if in every instance, you get rid of the ego and let the self die.

The wind is still whistling when we finish, blowing in from the harbour. I hop on my bicycle and the gusts push me all the way home, back to my desk and the spirits waiting there.

 

Claire O’Loughlin, August 2017

 

 

 

2017 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement announced

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Paula Green, Peter Simpson (photo: Marti Friedlander), Witi Ihimaera.

 

 

Creative New Zealand has announced the winners of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement. They are internationally renowned Māori novelist Witi Ihimaera, literary historian and fine arts writer Peter Simpson and popular poet and children’s author Paula Green.

Each will be awarded $60,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature. Witi Ihimaera will be honoured for fiction, Dr Peter Simpson for non-fiction, and Dr Paula Green for poetry.

Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan said, “Our congratulations to this year’s recipients who are being recognised for their extraordinary legacy of literary achievement. As leaders in their respective crafts, they have engaged New Zealand readers with their story telling and have inspired other New Zealand writers to build on their literary legacy.”

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at Premier House in Wellington, on Wednesday 9 August. The 2017 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship winner, Dr Philip Norman, will also be honoured at the ceremony.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement were established in 2003. Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of a writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. New Zealand writers are also able to nominate themselves for these awards.

Nominations are assessed by an expert literary panel and recommendations forwarded to the Arts Council of Creative New Zealand for approval.  This year’s selection panel was Rachael King, Nicola Legat, David Eggleton and Briar Grace-Smith.

A full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.

The Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship is open to established writers of any literary genre who have already published a significant body of work. Valued at $100,000, it is awarded annually for a project that will take two or more years to complete.

 

Creative New Zealand and Unity Books invite you to a free literary event

The recipients of the 2017 Prime Ministers Awards for Literary Achievement will read and discuss their work with author Kate De Goldi.

This is a free event at Unity Books, 57 Willis Street, Wellington on Thursday 10 August, 12.30-1.15pm. All welcome. More info: http://bit.ly/2uD2ATe

 

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jasmyne Chung
Senior Communications & Advocacy Adviser
Creative New Zealand
jasmyne.chung@creativenz.govt.nz
M: 027 838 8868 | DDI: (04) 498 0727

 

 

2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Fiction

Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler, DCNZM, QSM (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Auckland, born Gisborne)

Born in Gisborne, Witi Ihimaera is a novelist, short story writer, filmmaker, anthologist, librettist and playwright. He is of Te Whānau a Kai, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou and Tūhoe descent. He has the distinction of being the first Māori writer, in 1972, to publish both a book of short stories and a novel. His novel, The Whale Rider, became an internationally successful feature film and Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood won the General Non-Fiction Award at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. His most recent books are Black Marks on the White Page, co-edited with Tina Makereti, and Sleeps Standing, with te reo translation by Hemi Kelly, about the Battle of Orakau.

Regarded as one of the world’s leading indigenous writers, Witi has held numerous writing residencies and fellowships. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University of Wellington, and in 2009 he was honoured as an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate as well as the supreme Māori arts award Te Tohu mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu at the Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Awards. He was named a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004. Last month the French Government appointed him a French Knight of the order of arts and letters (Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres) for his contribution to literature.

The selection panel described Witi as one of New Zealand’s most important post-colonial writers, who has consistently proved to be an outstanding storyteller, celebrated as a voice for Māoritanga and a literary leader.

 

2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Poetry

Dr Paula Green, MNZM (Auckland)

Paula Green is a poet, reviewer, anthologist, children’s author, book awards judge and blogger. She has published ten poetry collections, including several for children. In 2017, she was admitted to The New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to poetry and literature.

Paula has also co-edited a number of highly regarded anthologies, including 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry, with Dr Harry Ricketts, which was short-listed for the 2010 NZ Post Book Awards. She runs two influential poetry blogs, NZ Poetry Box and NZ Poetry Shelf, and has been a judge for the NZ Post Book Awards, the NZ Post Secondary School Poetry Competition, and the inaugural Sarah Broom Poetry Prize in 2014.

Her recent publications include a collection of her own poems for children, The Letterbox Cat and Other Poems, which won Children’s Choice at the 2015 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and an anthology of children’s verse, A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children. Her latest adult collection, New York Pocket Book, was published in 2016.

Paula has a Doctorate in Italian and was Literary Fellow at The University of Auckland (2005). She is a regular guest in New Zealand literary festivals and frequently performs and undertakes workshops in schools from Year 0 to 13.

The selection panel said Paula stood out amongst the nominees for this year’s Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Excellence in Poetry as an accomplished all-rounder, with special distinction as an author of children’s poetry. They described her as “a significant figure in New Zealand poetry as an anthologist and commentator” and as a leading poet.

 

2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Non-fiction

 

Dr Peter Simpson (Auckland, born Takaka)

Peter Simpson is a writer, editor, critic, curator and academic who has been writing about New Zealand literature, art and culture for more than 50 years. His first book, on Ronald Hugh Morrieson, was published in 1982; since then he has published eight sole-authored books, edited 12 other books, made substantial contributions to 25 other titles, published more than 100 articles in journals in New Zealand and overseas, and scores of reviews in newspapers, periodicals, scholarly journals and online.

He has taught at several universities in New Zealand and Canada between 1964 and 2008. Peter was co-founder and director of Holloway Press, 1993 -2013, publishing some 40 books. He has curated six exhibitions on Leo Bensemann and Colin McCahon for Hocken Collections, Auckland Art Gallery, Christchurch Art Gallery, Lopdell House Gallery and New Zealand Portrait Gallery.

Peter was awarded the 2012 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship. The book written during that Fellowship, Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953, was shortlisted for the illustrated non-fiction category of the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards.

The selection panel said Peter’s many books and other writing attest to his ability – both as a literary historian and as a writer on the fine arts – and that he has contributed significantly to the nation’s literary culture over many years.

2017 Michael King Writer’s Fellowship

 

Dr Philip Norman, CNZM (Christchurch)

Award-winning author and composer Dr Philip Norman has compiled three editions of the Bibliography of New Zealand Compositions, including biographies of some 120 New Zealand composers and descriptions of 4,000 of their works.

He has co-authored, edited or contributed to numerous other books and publications on New Zealand music. From 1980-1991 he was the principal music reviewer for The Press in Christchurch, writing more than 700 reviews.

In addition to being a writer Philip has composed more than 250 works, from orchestral, chamber music and opera through to choral works, musicals and ballet. He composed music for Footrot Flats, New Zealand’s best-selling musical, and for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s successful Peter Pan, which is shortly to receive a repeat season in Perth, Australia.

About the Michael King Fellowship 2017:

The $100,000 Michael King Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Phillip Norman to create a history of New Zealand composers and their work from the start of European settlement to present day. Philip will use the fellowship to complete a lifetime of work studying New Zealand classical music identifying influential composers, works and performances, and tracing key developments through the decades.