The man who fell to earth
The man who gave birth
The man who stole the sun
The amazing transparent man
The incredible shrinking man
The flying disc man from Mars
The man of a thousand faces
The man who knew too much
The man who saw tomorrow
The man who was Thursday
The man with the deadly lens
The man they couldn’t hang
The most dangerous man alive
The man who died twice
The man with the oxblood leather brogues
The man who never was
The man who never returned
The man who was not alone
The man named Dave
The man in the shadows
The man who made way
The man who was in a rush
The man who mistook the moon for a candy bar —
a dream for a Cadillac
a riverbed for a road,
a flowerbed for a home,
a treetop for a diving board,
— that man.
©David Eggleton Edgeland and other poems Otago University Press 2018
David Eggleton is a poet and writer who lives in Dunedin. Earlier this year he held the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
Otago University Press page
What I want from a poetry journal
More and more I witness clusters of poetry communities in New Zealand – families almost – that might be linked by geography, personal connections, associations with specific institutions or publishers. How often do we read reviews of, or poems by, people with whom we don’t share these links? Poetry families aren’t a bad thing, just the opposite, but I wonder whether the conversations that circulate across borders might grow less and less.
I want a poetry journal to offer diversity, whichever way you look, and we have been guilty of all manner of biases. This is slowly changing.
When I pick up a journal I am on alert for the poet that makes me hungry for more, that I want a whole book from.
I am also happy by a surprising little diversion, a poem that holds me for that extra reading. Ah, this is what a poem can do!
Editor Jack Ross has achieved degrees of diversity within the 2018 issue and I also see a poetry family evolving. How many of these poets have appeared in Landfall or Sport, for example? A number of the poets have a history of publication but few with the university presses.
This feels like a good thing. We need organic communities that are embracing different voices and resisting poetry hierarchies.
Poetry NZ Yearbook Annual offers a generous serving of poems (poets in alphabetical order so you get random juxtapositions), reviews and a featured poet (this time Alistair Paterson). It has stuck to this formula for decades and it works.
What I enjoyed about the latest issue is the list of poets I began to assemble that I want a book from. Some I have never heard of and some are old favourites.
Some poets I am keen to see a book from:
Our rented flat in Parnell
Those rooms of high ceilings and sash windows
Our second city
Robert Creeley trying to chat you up
at a Russell Haley party
when our marriage
from Bob Orr’s ‘A Woman in Red Slacks’
Bob Orr’s heartbreak poem, with flair and economy, reminds me that we need a new book please.
There is ‘Distant Ophir’, a standout poem from David Eggleton that evokes time and place with characteristic detail. Yet the sumptuous rendering is slightly uncanny, ghostly almost, as past and present coincide in the imagined and the seen. Gosh I love this poem.
The hard-edged portrait Johanna Emeney paints in ‘Favoured Exception’ demands a spot in book of its own.
I haven’t read anything by Fardowsa Mohamed but I want more. She is studying medicine at Otago and has written poetry since she was a child. Her poem’ Us’, dedicated to her sisters, catches the dislocation of moving to where trees are strange, : ‘This ground does not taste/ of the iron you once knew.’
Mark Young’s exquisite short poem, ‘Wittgenstein to Heidegger’, is a surprising loop between difficulty and easy. Again I hungered for another poem.
Alastair Clarke, another poet unfamiliar to me, shows the way poetry can catch the brightness of place (and travel) in ‘Wairarapa, Distance’. Landscape is never redundant in poetry – like so many things that flit in and out of poem fashion. I would read a whole book of this.
Another unknown: Harold Coutt’s ‘there isn’t a manual on when you’re writing someone a love poem and they break up with you’ is as much about writing as it is breaking up and I love it. Yes, I want more!
Two poets that caught my attention at The Starling reading at the Wellington Writers Festival are here: Emma Shi and Essa Ranapiri. Their poems are as good on the page as they are in the ear. I have posted a poem from Essa on the blog.
I loved the audacity of Paula Harris filling in the gaps after seeing a photo of Michael Harlow in ‘The poet is bearded and wearing his watch around the wrong way’. Light footed, witty writing with sharp detail. More please!
I am a big fan of Jennifer Compton’s poetry and her ‘a rose, and then another’ is inventive, sound-exuberant play. I can’t wait for the next book.
I am also a fan of the linguistic agility of Lisa Samuels; ‘Let me be clear’ takes sheer delight in electric connections between words.
Finally, and on a sad note, there is Jill Chan’s poem, ‘Poetry’. I wrote about her on this blog to mark her untimely death. It is the perfect way to conclude this review. Poetry is everywhere – it is in all our poetry families.
Most poetry is unwritten,
denied and supposed.
Don’t go to write it.
Go where you’ve never been.
And it may come.
And where is poetry?
What is it you seek?
Jill Chan, from ‘Poetry’
Poetry NZ Yearbook page
Landfall Essay Competition winners share prize for radically different topics
Two New Zealand essayists writing on very different topics – life as an army recruit and the power of scent – are joint winners of the 2017 Landfall Essay Competition.
Laurence Fearnley, of Dunedin, and Alie Benge, of Wellington, will share the $3000 cash prize and both will receive a year’s subscription to Landfall.
The judge of the annual award was outgoing Landfall editor David Eggleton.
Of the 64 entries received, the two finalists’ essays proved especially difficult to separate, though their topics and their strategies are very different, he says.
“Alie Benge’s essay, ‘Shitfight’, which is about raw army recruits in Australia being prepared for a theatre of war in the Middle East, has a physicality and dynamic urgency to it that stopped me in my tracks,” says Eggleton.
Whereas he says Laurence Fearnley in her essay ‘Perfume Counter’ makes scents – at once treasurable, resonant, mysterious – synaesthetic emblems of how we perceive the world.
“Her assured and measured writing brings her surroundings alive with sharp, descriptive clarity.”
Their winning entries will be published in Landfall 234, available later this month. Landfall is published by Otago University Press.
There are five shortlisted essays: ‘Gone Swimming’ by Ingrid Horrocks, ‘Reaching Out for Hear’ by Lynley Edmeades, ‘A Box of Bones’ by Sue Wootton, ‘I Wet My Pants’ by Kate Camp and ‘Trackside’ by Mark Houlahan.
For more information about the Landfall Essay Prize and past winners, go to http://www.otago.ac.nz/press/authors/awards/otago065482.html
Alie Benge is a writer and copy-editor living in Wellington. She has previously been published in Headland and has work coming out in Takehē and Geometry. She is working on a novel inspired by her childhood in Ethiopia.
Laurence Fearnley lives in Dunedin. In 2016 she was the recipient of the Janet Frame Memorial Award and the NZSA Auckland Museum Grant and she is currently researching and writing a book of essays and stories based on landscape and scent. For the past year she has also been co-editing an anthology of New Zealand mountaineering writing with Paul Hersey. This work has been generously funded by the Friends of the Hocken Collections and will include non-fiction, archival material, fiction and poetry and will be published by Otago University Press in 2018.
Laurence has published ten novels and two books of non-fiction, as well as short stories and essays. She was awarded the Artists to Antarctica fellowship and in 2007 the Robert Burns fellowship at the University of Otago.
Accomplished poet, editor, art critic and journalist David Eggleton has been awarded the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writers’ Residency.
He will use the $30,000 award to complete a collection of poems exploring his Pasifika heritage. These will include poems inspired by the myths and legends of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa and will incorporate work about Mana Moana, the power of the ocean and ancient Pasifika connections.
“I hope to research and begin a prose memoir about my mother’s extended family, my cousins, scattered across the Pacific,” said Eggleton.
David Eggleton is of Rotuman, Tongan and Palagi descent. He grew up in Fiji and South Auckland, and now lives in Dunedin. Formerly a factory labourer and city council gardener, he is now a full-time editor, poet, art critic, reviewer and freelance journalist whose reviews, articles, essays and short stories have appeared in a large number of publications since the mid-1980s. These include the Listener, Art New Zealand, New Zealand Books, Art News, Architecture New Zealand, Urbis, Metro, Landfall.
“My Pasifika heritage runs all through my writing from the beginning as part of my personal context and background and I have always drawn from this heritage and history, but not necessarily overtly: instead it is there as a presence or part of a dialogue with ideas about cultural crossover,” said Eggleton.
As the recipient of this year’s award, David will be based at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in Honolulu for the Spring (February-May) semester of the US academic year.
Hawai‘i has been identified as a strategic location for artists and is considered the hub of Pacific writing with its numerous universities, library resources, networks, writers’ forums and publishers. It is also an important link to the mainland US and has a strong indigenous culture.
“I heard about the Fulbright residency through conversations with a number of Pasifika writers and have been aware of it since its inception, but this is now the time I feel ready to take it up and use it to allow me to develop a particular Pasifika-based project, namely to complete a collection of poems exploring my Pasifika heritage.”
The Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writers’ Residency is for a mid-career or senior New Zealand writer of Pacific heritage to carry out work on a creative writing project exploring Pacific identity, culture or history at the University of Hawai‘i for three months. One award valued at NZ$30,000 is granted each year, to be put towards the costs of three months of writing.
Previous recipients have included poets Tusiata Avia, Karlo Mila and Daren Kamali, filmmakers Sima Urale and Toa Fraser, and playwrights Victor Rodger and Miria George.