Tag Archives: Anahera Gildea

Poetry Shelf fascinations – Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word

 

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I have no idea what to call this rebirth

and yet I’m here to name it

to feed the new flame

with wood from the old.

Hinemona Baker from ‘If I had to sing’

 

Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word (University of Queensland Press, 2019) is edited by David Stavanger and Anne-Marie Te Whiu. David is an award-winning poet, performer, editor, cultural performer and lapsed psychologist. Anne Maire, Te Rarawa, born and raised in Brisbane, is a cultural performer, weaver, theatre practitioner and emerging poet. David and Anne-Marie co-directed the Queensland Poetry Festival from 2015 to 2017.

Solid Air showcases over 100 spoken word artists from Australia and Aotearoa, from 2008 to 2018. In the introduction, the editors outline the increasing presence and vitality of spoken word. Festivals for example are willing to feature poets who have not published books but who perform to diverse audiences in diverse settings. As we see in New Zealand, the form resembles an open house that welcomes everyone without preconceptions or misconceptions on what a poem ought to do or be. Community is important: ‘Central to the ecology of spoken word is the artist returning back to the community.’ Here is the concluding paragraph of the introduction – as you can imagine it strikes a chord with me:

The pieces within this collection have their own agency and spirit, we have merely invited them into this space to create a place where they can join as a chorus and amplify each other. There is not one poetry or poetry audience; there are many and all of them are welcome to enter here. Solid Air is not only a gateway to the multiplicities of poetry available in our region – it is a house in which poetry resides, a speculative investment, constructed from open windows and unlocked doors.

One of the key attractions for me is the diverse range of Australian poets that are brought into view.  I wonder if this is the same for Australian readers meeting Ken Arkind, Tusiata Avia, Hinemoana Baker, Hera Lindsay Bird, Ben Brown, David Eggleton, Anahaera Gildea, Jordan Hamel, Mohamed Hassan, Dominic Hoey, Selina Tustiala Marsh, Courtney Sina Meredith, Kiri Piahana-Wong, Ray Shipley, Grace Taylor, Tayi Tibble, Taika Waititi, Jahra ‘Rager’ Wasasala’. It makes a difference when I play an Aotearoa track because I play it in the voice of the performer. There is something electrifying about being in the actual room, about hearing the voices spin and spark. I found myself googling unfamiliar poets with the hope their voices would fill my room.

Yes the book is a wide open house but it is also a map that I can hold in my hand and then navigate richnesses for both my ear and heart.

The poems speak of connection, movement, disconnection, flight, anchors, home, origins, love, not love, war, peace. The poems are personal, the first person pronoun stands up and is speaking. The poems are often political; frequently the personal and the political are steeped in the same poetic brew where the edge of one is the edge of the other, as in Quinn Eades’s magnificent ‘What it’s really like to grow up with lesbians in the 70s and 80s’.

 

You will go to your first peace march before you can walk.

You will say handy person, fire fighter, police officer, and automatically refer to all

doctors as ‘she’ as if their gender has not been defined.

Your favourite song when you are four will be ‘Oh Bondage Up Yours!’ by X-ray

Specs.

 

The poetry is radioactive, heated lines popping with detail and admissions, and then on other occasions the admissions come in quiet waves, small ripples that carry undercurrents of feeling, experience, reflection. One of my favourite poems – Anahera Gildea’s ‘Sedition – a letter to the writer from Meri Mangakāhia’ – makes clear the importance of language, the importance of one’s own nouns and phrases and ‘defiant speak’. I would love to share the whole poem (I respect copyright) but here is the first stanza:

 

Here’s what I had in mind, kōtiro, this

clipping at words like overgrown maikuku –

return the blankets of domestic life; don’t fold

washing or wear shoes, polish these rerenga kē.

If this anthology is an open home, a map, it is also a handbook on existence, on navigating a world under threat, along with its pasts and its futures. I pick a poem, any poem, and then linger upon the way language matters, the way story matters, the way a poem can start with one person speaking, offering words that spring to life in the air/ear and then open our relations with the world in myriad directions. My reading begins close up and personal, and then reaches wide into a global embrace. It’s essential reading.

 

and by default –

an open sea,

what language will not meet me

with rust?

They convince my mother

her voice is a selfish tide,

claiming words that are not meant

for her;

this roiling carcass of ocean

making ragdolls of our foreign limbs.

In the end our brown skin

married to seabed,

Eunice Andrada from ‘ (Because I am a daughter) of diaspora’

 

University of Queensland Press page

Landfall Review Online offers bilingual review of Tātai Whetū

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‘The ‘stars’ of Tātai Whetū, a collection of seven poems by seven Māori women poets, take the reader on a wistful journey that traverses the boundaries of the spiritual and physical realms. The poets who composed these poems will inevitably pass on from this physical world – he tātai whetū ki te whenua, ngaro noa – but their words and thoughts are hung in the metaphysical space of the heavens above as guiding lights never to be extinguished – he tātai whetū ki te rangi, tū tonu.

A highly charged current of feminine strength underlies the poems in this collection. Māori history is rich with narratives featuring strong female figures who defy the odds and are a powerful force to be reckoned with: ‘I heard their karanga, the dawn voice, centuries of women rising up in a vocal wiri from the motu …’ Anahera Gildea reminds us that we are a continuation of those who have gone before us and our karanga will add to the resounding echoes of quivering voices that will be heard for generations to come.’

 

‘Ko ngā whetū o te pukapuka nei, Tātai whetū, he kohikohinga o ngā rotarota e whitu kua tuhia e ngā kaiwhakairo kupu wahine Māori tokowhitu. Ka kawea te kaipānui e ā rātou kupu i tētahi haerenga whēnakonako e whakawhiti ana i te ao wairua me te ao kikokiko nei. Tāria te wā, ka matemate haere ngā kaiwhakairo kupu nei – he tātai whetū ki te whenua, ngaro noa – engari ka whakairia ō rātou whakaaro, ā rātou kupu ki te rangi hei tohutohu i a tātou mō ake tonu – he tātai whetū ki te rangi, tū tonu.

He roma mana wahine e rere ana hei pūtaketanga o ia rotarota i tēnei kohikohinga. E hia kē nei ngā kōrero pūrākau a te Māori e whakanui ana i te mana o te wahine, i tō rātou kaha, i tō rātou ūpoko mārōtanga i tā rātou i kōkiri ai. ‘… I heard their karanga, the dawn voice, centuries of women rising up in a vocal wiri from the motu …’ Ka whakamaumaharatia tātou e Anahera Gildea, he uri whakaheke tātou nō rātou kua mene atu ki te pō. Ka āpitihia ā tātou karanga ki ā rātou karanga e whakapaorotia ai i ngā reanga e haere ake nei.’

 

Full review here

 

 

 

 

 

 

A gorgeous trio of poetry reviews by Anahera Gildea at Landfall Review Online

‘He waka eke noa: we’re all in this together’

 

Go here to read 3 divinely crafted reviews of new poetry collections from

Tayi Tibble, Sam Duckor-Jones and Jan Fitzgerald.  Best review treat in an age.

 

A taste of Sam’s review:

If the waka analogy holds, then Duckor-Jones’s waka is his tribe, his allied kinship group, and in this case his golems. ‘Bloodwork’ is easily the most arresting piece. It’s a sequence of 20 poems that speak to the ‘making of a man’. Throughout his work, the poet evokes tropes of masculinity like lovers: dandies, brutes, pools boys, dudes, blokes, Jeff and more. These crowd his pages, but it’s the hoard of clay men that affix in my mind, along with the keen instructions on creation:

to wield the tools

to make an eight-foot man

to make him look like he’d sweat

 

 

 

 

 

Four highly talented wāhine at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi

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Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi
Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Tel: 04 463 6835
Email: adamartgallery@vuw.ac.nz
www.adamartgallery.org.nzClockwise from top left: Anahera Gildea, Arihia Latham, Tayi Tibble, Te Kahureremoa Taumata

In situ: writers reading in and about place
Friday 14 September, 6pm
Adam Art Gallery
Refreshments provided
Please join us for an evening of live readings generously organised by writer and art theorist Cassandra Barnett, who will moderate the evening. This series of readings uses the occasion of the exhibition The earth looks upon us / Ko Papatūānuku te matua o te tangata as an opportunity to hear from four highly talented wāhine.

We are pleased to host Wellington-based writer Anahera Gildea (Ngāti Raukawa-ki-Te-Tonga, Kāi Tahu, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Toa, Ngāi Te Rangi), author of Poroporoaki to the Lord My God: Weaving the Via Dolorosa (Seraph Press, 2016); poet and short story author Arihia Latham (Ngāi Tahu, Kāi Tahu); singer, songwriter and storyteller Te Kahureremoa Taumata (Ngāti Kahungungu, Ngāti Tuwharetoa); and Tayi Tibble (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui/Ngāti Porou), who recently published her first collection of verse titled Poūkahangatus though Victoria University Press.

Poetry Shelf 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 (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,

 

 

 

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.