I’m scared of losing my faith
I’m scared of losing my face
when I look into silver
your lips kiss all the shit away
I want an electric guitar
with a big circle amp
someone beautiful could sit there
& fuss over me
I like controlling the sea from my bedroom
bleeding & tearing the moon
I like howling at my octopus tits
one in every room
I’m a virgin
a baby grand
next to mops and brooms
please keep calling me
so I can watch
your name flash angry blue
under my pillow
electric lines smile in the sky
with my smallest finger
in the smallest hour
I trace the maze
you were good at holding me
when the rain had nobody to fall on
you were good at knowing
souls from bodies
I still wear my organs like 80s leather
I still hear your voice in the corner be light be light
©Courtney Sina Meredith
Author note: I was 22 when I wrote this and in a lot of pain, I had no idea what was ahead of me, ignorance really is bliss. Months later I would undergo my first major operation and my endometriosis would be confirmed. I was channeling ancestors and trashing lovers and asking myself to keep on giving when I really felt like there was nothing left to give.
Courtney Sina Meredith is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician based in Auckland. She’s held a number of international writers’ residencies including the prestigious Fall Residency at the University of Iowa. In 2012 Meredith published her first book of poems, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick, and in 2016 launched a collection of short stories, Tail of the Taniwha, with Beatnik Publishing.
Courtney Sina Meredith, 2017 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence, will talk to Annie Te Whiu of Queensland Poetry Festival about her poetry, and the importance of place and politics in her writing, see here.
From Paula: For Poetry Shelf’s Winter Season, I invited 12 poets to pick one of their own poems that marks a shift in direction, that is outside the usual tracks of their poetry, that moves out of character, that nudges comfort zones of writing. It might be subject matter, style, form, approach, tone, effect, motivation, borrowings, revelation, invention, experimentation, exclusions, inclusions, melody …. anything!
New Zealand writers making waves at home and abroad will present their work and participate in the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.
A new partnership between the festival, WORD Christchurch and Creative New Zealand has resulted in the talented line-up of New Zealand writers, all with acclaimed books, set to make an impression at the renowned literary event.
The writers are award-winning and wildly popular Wellington poet Hera Lindsay Bird, critically acclaimed Auckland poet, playwright and fiction writer Courtenay Sina Meredith, and best-selling Wellington novelist, comic artist and blogger Sarah Laing. They will be accompanied by Rachael King, author and programme director of WORD Christchurch, who has worked with the festival to select the writers and curate their events.
Participation in the festival is part of the New Zealand at Edinburgh 2017 season which sees the return of a New Zealand season across the various Edinburgh festivals taking place in August. This follows an ambitious and successful presentation in 2014.
With the theme of Brave New Words, this year’s book festival programme features more than 1000 authors from 45 countries.
Hera Lindsay Bird will appear with recent Ted Hughes prize-winner Hollie McNish in Poetry Superstars, and perform in a late night spoken word showcase. Courtney Sina Meredith will join a 21st Century Women panel, curated by guest selectors Roxane Gay and Jackie Kay. Meredith will also appear alongside Scottish poet and musician MacGillivray in Reshuffling the Pack. Sarah Laing will host a reading workshop of Katherine Mansfield stories, as well as talk about her book Mansfield & Me alongside English comic creator Hannah Berry in Graphic Novels of Influential Women. Rachael King will also appear in the children’s programme.
“We are thrilled that the relationships developed during previous seasons have resulted in this new partnership. It will expose the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s audiences to new and talented voices from Aotearoa and provide a dynamic international networking opportunity for the writers,” said Creative New Zealand senior manager for international, Cath Cardiff.
The festival expressed an interest in working with a local partner to bring New Zealand authors to its programme. This worked well with WORD Christchurch’s aspirations to engage more with international partners and to promote New Zealand literature overseas.
“We are delighted to be working with WORD Christchurch this year and we are very much looking forward to welcoming some of New Zealand’s wonderful writers to the book festival in August,” said Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Nicky Barley.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Edinburgh International Book Festival on programming New Zealand writers into some fantastic events that will showcase their talents and ensure maximum exposure for their work,” said Rachael King.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival began in 1983 and is now a key event in the August festival season. It has grown rapidly in size and scope to become the largest and most dynamic festival of its kind in the world. In its first year the book festival hosted 30 events, now it programmes more than 800 events attracting around 220,000 visitors.
To support the writers to attend the festival Creative New Zealand has provided $20,000 towards airfares, accommodation and administration costs.
Hera Lindsay Bird has an MA in poetry from the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington where she won the 2011 Adam Prize for best folio. Her debut, self-titled book of poetry HERA LINDSAY BIRD was published in July 2016 by Victoria University Press (VUP). It has become the fastest selling, most popular book of poetry the VUP has ever published, and won Best First Book of Poetry at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Courtney Sina Meredith is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician. Her play Rushing Dolls (2010) won a number of awards and was published by Playmarket in 2012. She launched her first published book of poetry, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick (Beatnik), at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, and has since published a short story collection, Tail of the Taniwha (2016) to critical acclaim. She has been selected for a number of international writers’ residencies. Meredith describes her writing as an “ongoing discussion of contemporary urban life with an underlying Pacific politique”. She is of Samoan, Mangaian and Irish descent.
Sarah Laing is the author of two novels, Dead People’s Music and Fall of Light, and a short story collection, Coming Up Roses. With a background in illustration and design, she runs the popular comic blog Let Me Be Frank, which she started when she held the Frank Sargeson Fellowship in 2008. She has contributed comics to magazines, illustrated children’s books, and co-edited Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women’s Comics. Her latest book, Mansfield & Me, is a graphic biography and memoir, which compares the life of New Zealand’s most famous writer Katherine Mansfield, to Sarah’s own life of creativity, insecurity and celebrity obsession.
Rachael King has been the programme director of WORD Christchurch since 2013. She is the author of two books for adults, The Sound of Butterflies (winner of Best First Novel at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards) and Magpie Hall (long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), and one for children, Red Rocks, which won New Zealand’s longest-running literary award, the Esther Glen Medal. Her work has been translated into eight languages and has garnered critical praise worldwide.
For more information contact:
04 473 0187
May 25 2017
20 February, 2017
For the rest of this, and pieces by Courtney Sina Meredith, Gina Cole, Ben Young, Ashleigh Young, Lawrence Pratchitt, Renata Hopkins and Airini Beautrais and more, see here.
Form-bending writer and 2017 Ockham long-lister for Tail of the Taniwha, Courtney Sina Meredith opens her notebooks to us, from her prestigious 2016 residencies at the International Writing Program, University of Iowa, and at the Island Institute in Sitka Alaska.
Iowa City September
Because she was so unlike moonlight
Because the night arranged itself according to height
Because everyone read the same books and said the same things
Because the buses were dependable
Because she settled like dust
Because the days were numbered according to weight
Because she was impatient
For the full journal see here.
Photo credit: Thomas Langdon