Bravo! Poetry at the Auckland Writers Festival is an eclectic mix

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You will also get a chance to hear  Ashleigh Young with her fabulous essays!

AWF programme here.

 

Lots of these events are free entry so get there early if you want a seat. Such an innovative inclusion of poets and clear demonstration that NZ poetry is in very good shape. So many excellent books out in the past year  and only so much room to showcase them here. That surely is testimony to the dedication of local publishers and local poets. Sure there are voices I am sad not to be hearing – but this is a poetry feast! Congratulations Anne O’Brien and team.

 

Tuesday 16th May, 7 until 8.30pm Go see who wind the poetry section of the Ockham NZ Book Awards

Friday 19th, 2.30pm. Catch Courtney Sina Meredith in Pacific Tales.

Friday 19th, 4pm. Poets Hera Lindsay Bird and Anne Kennedy joined three other writers at Auckland War Memorial Museum to seek inspiration for a piece of writing. Hear what they came up with.

Friday 19th, 5pm. Hear the book-award winners.

Hear Carol Ann Duffy with John Sampson on 19th at 6pm or do the World’s Wife on Saturday 20th 7pm until 9.30pm.

 

Friday 19th 6.30 until 8pm. Walk on High looks like a poetry smorgasbord:

Walk on High is an intimate meandering journey, featuring a sampler of Festival talent on a word trail along High Street in the CBD. From 6.30pm to 8pm choose from four fifteen-minute events, repeated four times across the ninety minutes, individually crafted and each as delectable as the next. Formats take in games, Insta-essays, music, spoken word and theatre. Over 20 writers and performers take part, including: Jess Holly Bates, Anthony Byrt, Teju Cole, Glenn Colquhoun, Jonothan Cullinane, Mei-Lin Hansen, Ali Ikram, Simone Kaho, Sarah Laing, Last Tapes Theatre Company, Michelle Leggott, Lana Lopesi, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Doug Poole, Randa, Rosabel Tan, Apirana Taylor, Tourettes, Steven Toussaint, Ian Wedde, Rewa Worley and Sonja Yelich. A full schedule and event descriptions will be posted to our website early April so check it out and start planning your Walk on High: writersfestival.co.nz/walk-on-high

 

 

Check out the Old Guard New Guard with Bill Manhire and Hera Lindsay Bird 4.30 Saturday 2oth.

 

There is an electric group on offer at the Spoken Word Showcase Saturday 21st 7.30 until 9.30pm:

Five of the brightest spoken word artists take to the stage in an unprecedented showcase of talent from Tamaki Makaurau, including Marina Alefosio (Rising Voices, South Auckland Poets Collective), Mohamed Hassan (New Zealand Poetry Slam and Revival Sessions), Tim Heath (Poetry Idol finalist), Jennifer Rockwell (Word the Front Line) and Rewa Worley (Rising Voices). Former Poetry Idol winner and judge Zane Scarborough hosts an evening of signature pieces, improv, and a little crowd participation with international guests Paul Beatty (The Sellout), Ivan Coyote (Tomboy Survival Guide) and Rupi Kaur (Milk and Honey) punctuating the evening with performances. A special night not to be missed.

 

You can hear Apirana Taylor on Sunday 21st at noon.

Bill Manhire joins in Questions of Time (with the fabulous Frances Hardinge). Sunday 21st 10.30.

 

Ian Wedde is in Family Dynamics with his new Selected Poems. Sunday 21st at noon.

Simone Kaho and Rupui Kaur are in Those Were the Days. Sunday 21st at 3pm.

 

Check out the winner of the Sarah Broome Poetry Award on Sunday 21st at 4.30pm.

 

Fiona Kidman is the 2017 Honoured New Zealand  Writer. Sunday 21st 6pm until 7pm.

 

Ian Wedde is launching his Selected Poems  on Friday 19th 3.30pm until 5pm.

Plus Ian Wedde is doing this intriguing workshop you can be part of:

The poetic Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, and rap, poetry slams, and online publications have expanded the definitions of and audiences for poetry. In some countries – in Palestine, for example, with Mahmoud Darwish – the form has long been a vital aspect of public discourse. Bring your work to this session with Ian Wedde, for a practical investigation of the porous borders of poetry.

Limited to a maximum of 40 participants.

 

Finally you can see Pop Poetry in the Square each evening:

Festival week sees a corner of Aotea Square come alive each night with text projections. Every evening a
combination of curated and live writing will emanate from the mysterious Pop Poetry hut, inspired by the theme ‘Love Letters’.

A sparkling collection of intrepid writers join the fun, with one a night writing live but anonymously and only revealing themselves as they sign off… expect poems, letters, lyrics and other treats.
Pop is an annual series of public art projects made for and by Aucklanders, supported by Auckland Council and the Waitemata- Local Board. Its mission is to create unexpected experiences in Auckland’s neighbourhoods; creating surprise, making fun and forming communities. Pop Poetry is in its second year of activating urban sites around the city though large-format, typographic projections by night. Pop Poetry is designed by Alt Group.

Pop Poetry will take place each evening from 6:00pm – 9:00pm, from Tuesday 16 May until Sunday May 21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesse Mulligan and Simone Kaho in conversation (in case you missed it because it is excellent!)

13 Mar 2017

Poetry: Lucky Punch by Simone Kaho

Auckland poet, Simone Kaho, is from New Zealand and Tongan ancestry. She earned her MA in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her poetry has been published in journals such as JAAM, Turbine, and The Dominion Post. She joins Jesse to read from her book Lucky Punch.

Lucky Punch, Simon Kaho

White Night event at the Pah Homestead: a collaborative art project with Simone Kaho and Ria Masae

WHITE NIGHT at the Pah Homestead: ASSEMBLY

March 18 @ 6:00 pm9:00 pm

Assembly: Collections and Crafts at the Pah Homestead

Assembly is a White Night celebration like never before. Bringing together collections, treasures, beats, words and craft, this is a gathering of all things creative.

 

Throughout the evening visitors are invited to BRING | MAKE | TAKE as part of our collaborative artwork project and make connections with other local White Night venues.

 

Download a copy of our Neighborhood Map here

 

If you have an interesting item you always wanted to know more about, join expert Yvonne Sanders for our very own Antiques Roadshow.  Pre-register your prized possession and bring it on the night for a short valuation and discussion by Yvonne.

Simply send a short description and a photo to enquiries@wallaceartstrust.org.nz

We will also be joined by local fibre artists from the Handweavers and Spinners Guild, also members of the Auckland branch of Creative Fibre, who will demonstrate their skills in felting and weaving.

Artist Collective Tiger Murdoch (Kelly Pretty and Matt Dowman) will be creating a unique installation in the front entrance to the Arts Centre throughout the evening.

To complete the Assembly of local creative talent at the Pah, Simone Kaho and Ria Masae will craft beats and words into lyrical magic in a live poetry performance.

 

There will also be a free shuttle linking the Pah Homestead with Greenwoods Corner – hop on any time between 6pm and 9pm and see what else is happening on and around Pah Road.  Shuttle leaves from the Korma Road entrance to Monte Cecilia Park, there will be guides showing the way from Pah Homestead.

 

Please join us in celebrating the Auckland-wide White Night with our family-friendly evening of MAKING & CREATING at the Pah Homestead!

 

 

About our Collaborators

Yvonne Sanders Antiques is a landmark destination shop located in Epsom, Auckland.  As an International Dealer, Yvonne herself has successfully traded for over 40 years having established the business in 1971.

Creative Fibre is the New Zealand organisation for all fibre crafts. It brings together spinners, weavers, knitters, dyers, flax workers, felters, crocheters, free form fibre artists and all other people involved in the use of fibre. We have over 3000 members throughout New Zealand and around the world who share a passion for fibre.

Whitecliffe lecturers Kelly Pretty and Matt Dowman are working together as artists and grass roots activists, posing confronting questions about social welfare, gentrification, political turmoil and global injustice to the public.  Together they form the collective ‘Tiger Murdoch’ referring to the surname of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and ‘tiger’ referring to an action or cartoon character name.

Simone Kaho joined the Literatti in 2011 as a scholarship-winning graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, who count Eleanor Catton and Hera Lindsay Bird among their Alumni.  Noted for her lyricism and powerful stage presence, she’s now a performer in demand – at bars like The Thirsty Dog and theatres like Galatos, The Basement and The Mercury.

In 2015, Ria Masae won the ‘New Voices: Emerging Poets Competition’, as well as the ‘2016 Cooney Insurance Short Story Competition’. Also in 2015, Ria was thrilled to see a collection of her text come to life in a brilliant performance called, ‘MAKAI – Black Sand: Ocean Bones’. She was honoured to have her poetry translated into Spanish on the online Mexican literary website, Círculo de Poesía. Her work has been shared in several New Zealand and Australian publications including, Landfall, Blackmail Press, Snorkel, Ika, and Otoliths. Ria is a proud member of the South Auckland Poets Collective (SAPC).

 

 

Details

Date:
March 18
Time:
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Event Category:

Venue

The Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre
72 Hillsborough Road, Hillsborough
Auckland, 1042 New Zealand
+ Google Map
Phone:
09 639 2010

Three new books by three VUP authors get an art gallery outing

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We warmly invite you to a reading from three new books
by three celebrated VUP writers.

The internet of things, new poetry by Kate Camp
Some Things to Place in a Coffin, new poetry by Bill Manhire
Lifting, a new novel by Damien Wilkins

on Wednesday 12 April, 5.30pm–7.30pm
at Adam Art Gallery,
Gate 3, Victoria University, Kelburn Parade.

Refreshments will be served.

All three books will be for sale courtesy of Vic Books. Guests will also be able to purchase Tell Me My Name, a collaboration between Bill Manhire, composer Norman Meehan, vocalist Hannah Griffin, and photographer Peter Peryer.

All welcome.

Poetry Shelf interviews Hannah Mettner: ‘I want to be emotionally moved by a poem, and nothing less’

 

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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’

 

Hannah Mettner is a Wellington-based poet from Gisborne. Her poems have appeared widely in literary journals, including Sport, Turbine and Cordite. She is co-editor with Morgan Bach and Sugar Magnolia Wilson of Sweet Mammalian, an online poetry journal launched in 2014.

I first heard Hannah read at the Ruapehu Writers Festival last year and I was immediately hooked. To celebrate the arrival of her debut poetry collection,  Fully clothed and so forgetful (Victoria University Press), Hannah agreed to do this interview. As you will see from my comments in the interview, this collection has struck a chord with me on a number of levels. I absolutely adore it.

 

The book is launched tonight: 16 March 2017 from 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm

The Guest Room, Southern Cross, 39 Abel Smith St, Wellington

 

 

 

PG: You include two quotations at the start of the book—one by Eileen Myles and one by Adrienne Rich—that underline your status as reader, while the book itself is infused with your reading life.  Can you name three non-poetry books that have sparked you any time from zero until now? And three poetry books, from any point in your reading timeline, that have also affected you?

HM: Ah yes, I mean, it wasn’t meant as any kind of political statement, choosing two gay poets to front the book, although it definitely can be, I just love their writing, and those particular poems. And then those parts of those poems stuck out as handy things to highlight at the outset of the book. As to my reading, well, I’ve always liked reading, and I wonder if it’s partly a control thing: I find people quite hard work, they’re so fascinating and unpredictable and needy, with a book you can just shut it when you get to satiety, and come back to it when you’re ready. Then I studied English Lit at uni, and I work at the Turnbull Library now, so books are very thoroughly part of my comfort zone, and I get a bit panicked if I don’t have one nearby, to serve as a social safety blanket. I remember being completely transported by a Margaret Mahy book The Door in the Air and Other Stories, as a young person. Strange little vignettes into other possible lives: very like one of the stories in that book about a girl who meets a wizard with a house full of different windows depicting different worlds. Obviously all of Mahy’s books are fantastic, and that magical realism has definitely been a thing that has kept my interest over the years, both as a reader and a writer, she’s so good at combining the very mundane with the extraordinary. Another book I’ve come back to again and again (a big deal when you’re a bit blind and reading is a pleasure/pain situation like it is for me) is Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body, which is scorchingly personal and profound. Those two books are really my sun and moon, there are heaps of other books I’ve read and loved, but nothing quite like those. Poetry books are perhaps too numerable to mention? Though I distinctly remember that James Brown’s first book Go Round Power Please was the book that got me reading and eventually writing poetry. I checked it out from the public library in Gisborne not long after having my first baby, and discovered that poetry was a great way to ‘get more bang from my buck’ when I was too tired and busy to make much headway with novels. Those poems are so humble and personable, and so varied, so I could read a couple, then turn them over in my head until I could get to the next couple (which is a great way to read poetry in my opinion).

 

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PG: Your debut collection, 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 your book. But then I start accumulating a list of what I think your poetry is doing: the poems are inventive, unpredictable, melodic, on the move, strange, love-soaked. What key things matter when you write a poem?

HM: Thank you! That is a lovely thing to have someone say about my writing, and quite strange because these poems have become so familiar to me now that I’ve almost become disenchanted by them: you know, the feeling of old outfits you’ve worn too many times and are giving way at the knees or something. 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.

 

PG: I feel the same way. Your book generated strong emotional engagement for me, which is why it mattered so much. I am particularly excited by the way you create poetic movement. Is this something organic and unconscious or deliberate and cultivated?

HM: I guess it must be unconscious, because it’s not something I’ve gone in thinking about or worked at. Maybe it’s because I’m a chronic fidgeter? Or maybe because lots of my poems come to me when I’m walking. Or maybe it’s because I have a terrible attention span?

 

PG: The first poem, ‘Higher ground,’ is memorable, resonant and fablesque. I fill to the brim with it and don’t want to undercut the way I absorb its magical effects—the poetic side lanes and underpasses and overbridges—by explaining what I think it is doing. But I would say, as a tiny hinge into the poem, it reminds me how we can so easily become immune to what we see and hear. How do you feel about talking about the poetry you write?

HM: Ah yes, well this poem is an example of one that came to me while walking! In Wellington, as you know, there are lots of hills, and my old house was up one of them, and then up ninety steps. This made walking home from school with my kids kind of a drag, and so this poem, with its promise of glories to come, is really just an exaggeration of the daily bribery of walking home from school up what is basically a mountain. We totally become immune to life, it’s kind of tragic eh? One of the things that was promised to me when I had kids was that “they’d make me see the world with fresh eyes” and more parental romanticisations like that, and I really don’t know if that’s been true or not. But I do spend a lot of time trying to look at things like that anyway. I used to think I was going to be an artist, so maybe it comes from that? Experiencing the world, then deconstructing it in order to be able to reconstruct it on the page?

 

PG: I loved the oblique appearance of Gertrude Stein and her Tender Buttons in your ‘Gender buttons.’ While your poetry does not replicate the anarchic and playful syntax of a Stein poem, your phrasing is deliciously agile and surprising (‘I wake to you nuzzling into my bed/
complaining of the quick-sand carpet in the hallway’). Do you feel Stein influenced your language in any way or your inventive links between object-self-word-love?

HM: Well actually I’m not a huge Stein fan, I find her poetry difficult to engage with, and I suspect she was kind of a horrible person. In fact, this poem came about because I told the person I was in love with at the time that I thought she looked like Stein (who she also hated), and then I felt so bad that I wrote a love poem by way of apology. But I am interested in Stein’s idea of ‘Cubist writing’, which I guess in my poems isn’t even close to the exaggerated effect she achieves, but I like the idea of multiple things going on, multiple ways to access a work, multiple planes of understanding, gaps in meaning which the mind auto-fills. And I like the idea of language constructing a world, rather than merely referencing it, you know, then I can say each of my lil poems is its own world, like one of the windows in the wizard’s house. I would love it if that’s how they were read, like objects to be picked up and transported by, either a snow-globe or a portkey.

 

PG: Another reason the collection affected me so much is that is deeply yet originally personal. I felt like making a caption to go over my desk: poetry is personal. Your poems demonstrate that you can dig deep into personal experience and self-scrutiny in ways that are inventive and quiet. There are some big things faced: a teenage pregnancy and not meeting expectations to marry a man.  So many of the poems, with strong personal origins, are effervescent with possibilities. I am thinking of ‘In the Forest of the night,’ inspired by William Blake’s ‘The Tyger,’ but hovers like a miniature, fully-formed autobiography (the fearful child, the maternal embrace, the maternal anxiety, the supressed feelings, the broken relationship). Did you have lines you would not cross in order to protect those close to you?

HM: Well yes, poetry is personal. Very personal. I do hope no one reads these and recognises (a part of) themself, and is upset. The relationship poems are unnamed for this exact reason, but the family ones are probably more problematic. Funnily enough the ones about my parents are pretty tidily summed up by saying they’re about miscommunication (or lack of communication), and I hope they’re grown-up enough to understand that everyone sees things differently, and that this is my version of events, so to speak. The kid-ones are the most worrying, as I don’t want them to be like some shameful or burdensome photo brought out at a 21st party. But there aren’t many of them, and I’ve tested them out on Lucia and Jethro, who seem ok with them. We talked about this a lot in Hera’s TMI course last year: what is too personal, what sorts of things make you a ‘bad person’ for disclosing about someone else in a poem, etc etc. I try to think ‘how would I feel if someone said this about me?’ and bear that in mind, and there are lots of excruciatingly personal disclosures about myself in here, so maybe that balances it out? But also, that responsibility can be a bit crippling and sometimes you think ‘well fuck it’ and just write.

 

PG: I love the way you place a personal revelation within intriguing and inventive contexts and layer it like an artichoke so that is exquisitely simple yet flavoursome on the tongue. I am thinking of ‘Trip with Mum,’ where you go to Disneyland and take rides with your aging mother—real or imagined—and have difficult conversations until you spin away from probing questions to a far-off planet: ‘I’d try shouting things like, What do you know about pain?! and I’m afraid! and finally, I love you! as I grew smaller and smaller and she grew older and older and everything just kept spinning.’ Is the autobiographical thread a significant part of how you write?

HM: Well I guess so, erm. I don’t know if that’s just narcissistic and unimaginative or what, but I guess I just don’t want to speak for anyone else, or tread on any toes, and other people are better qualified than me to tell their own stories. But also it’s a by-product of the way I think and experience the world: by relating information and experience directly to my personal history and developing self. I remember our MA class having a near-fight early in the year when Chris presented us with a reading which basically posited that people assume poetry is autobiographical, and that the narrator is the writer. We, mostly, railed against this on principle, wanting perhaps to protect our right to mystery, but I think we all secretly knew that the ‘I’ is the I. I’ve been emboldened by the opening poem in Hera’s book, which gives the reader permission to read it as a book about her (and the title), and Greg’s book which is openly autobiographical while looking outward at people and events to hang his history on in the complicated and beautiful way that true life does.

 

PG: Are you after some kind of autobiographical truth when you write, however elusive that might be? I am wondering if this is why the book has so intricately hooked me.

HM: Autobiographical truth? I guess so, in the sense that I’m prone to self-reflection. I’m quite a socially anxious person, and a major introvert, and one of those people who analyse social interactions excessively as they’re happening and potentially going on for days afterward just in the normal course of things. Looking at your actions in the world so closely is perhaps not healthy, but it is interesting, especially the way different people work in given situations and relations.

 

PG: Feminism is such a complicated, multifaceted, highly contested set of ideas and practices. It always has been and is especially so today. I think your collection is in debt to a feminist engagement with the world that is mobile and probing. Do you think it makes a difference to your poetry that you are a woman? Does feminism matter?

HM: Of course I’m a feminist, though I tend to think in essence feminism is very simple, actually, which is not to say women and womanhood aren’t complicated and gloriously multi-faceted, or that femininity as an identity within feminism (particular for lesbian, bi and trans women) isn’t highly contested. And yes, for sure feminism matters, and I think it needs to keep on mattering, more loudly and insistently than it has to date, for quite a while yet. I think it’s (perhaps too) clear that it matters to my writing that I’m a woman, it matters that I’m a feminist women, that I’m a mother, that I’m a teenage pregnancy statistic, that I’m bisexual, that I grew up in a working-class Christian family etc etc. Those large facts, plus all the more messy detail of just living—that’s my subject matter. I think every writer’s personal history matters to them in their writing to some extent, whether as information or bias, but not all writers are keen to share that information, or maybe they don’t think it’s interesting enough? But the feminist in me wants it to be enough! I want women to write their stories and for them to be enough! I get the sense that it’s sometimes considered not tasteful to be a bit political in poetry, that poetry should be a respite from the real world, but I want to read more poetry about the intricacies of other people’s lives.

 

PG: Are you a solitude poet (you keep poems to yourself) or a community poet (you exchange poems with friends for feedback)? Have you had any poetry mentors?

HM: I’m definitely not a solitary poet! If I was, I don’t think I’d get anything done. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of multiple communities of writers at different times: first my Masters class, then “poetry club” as we fondly call it, and Hera’s TMI school last year. All of those places have been so wonderful for being peopled with other humans who want to think and read and write, and I’m so grateful and in love with and in awe of all those humans! My longest-standing ‘community’ are definitely Sugar Magnolia Wilson and Morgan Bach, who are also my co-editors for Sweet Mammalian. Magnolia’s poems are like crystals, each with special powers, which you can pick up and feel humming through your skin, and which leave you altered and fumbling about on the astral plane. Morgan has this incredible gift for knitting centuries’ worth of narrative weight and detail into small and exacting visions which seep into your subconscious and trick you into thinking they’re your own memories. Those two, phoar, I’m so goddamn lucky to know them, to read their things when they’re vulnerable and new, and to have them do the same for me!

 

I’ve never had an official ‘mentor’, but do you think Anna would be too embarrassed if I claimed her? I think a significant portion of young writers in New Zealand, particularly women, wouldn’t be writing the way that they are if it wasn’t for her. Her writing is so smart, with such a dry sense of humour and openness to silliness too, such a unique voice, such clever observations, but they’re also unashamedly ‘womanly’ poems: they’re about friends and family, they’re domestic and comfortable and they still give you such feels. SO good!

 

Sometimes in your sleep I hear you roar

and it echoes in the back of my jaw, child,

in the forest of the night.

 

from ‘In the forest of the night’

 

 

Victoria University Press page

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

 

 

Poetry and the Essay: Second keynote speaker announced

 

 

 

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We’re really delighted to announce Jenny Bornholdt as a keynote speaker at the Poetry and the Essay conference. We’re especial fans of her essay poems in The Rocky Shore.

Jenny Bornholdt, described by Victoria University Press publisher Fergus Barrowman as “the major New Zealand poet of her generation,” is the author of nine collections of poetry and co-editor of several anthologies. Her many honours include the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Fellowship to Menton, 2002 and the Te Mata Estate New Zealand Poet Laureate, 2005–6, and in 2013 she was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Her 2008 collection The Rocky Shore, winner of the Montana New Zealand National Book Award for Poetry, is made up of six long essayistic poems, described on the book cover blurb as being “as much autobiographical essay as long poem.” As she writes in “Confessional,” “when people talk about poetry / they often mention compression – yes, it can / be that, but it can also be a great sprawling / thing.”