Tag Archives: Jacket2

Jacket 2: Vaughan Rapatahana on Hera Lindsay Bird, Simone Kaho and Mere Taito


from Vaughan Rapatahana at Jacket 2:


‘Kia ora. Talofa lava. Malo. Greetings, once more.

I am honoured and humbled to continue to commentate on poetry and poets in Aotearoa New Zealand, which swerve away from so-called ‘traditional’ ways to write a poem and concomitantly, away from traditional topoi.

In this commentary, I will extend from my final commentary post of March 2016, which was entitled ‘Coda 2,’ although that title is obviously a misnomer, as this country just keeps on producing poets of great ability, with serious credentials and a willingness to  s t  r  e  t  c  h  the paramaters of what a poem is, should be.

So, I am privileged to here introduce three further women writers — Hera Lindsay Bird, Simone Kaho and Mere Taito. All have recently had published new collections of poetry: the ‘new’ in this commentary title refers to this aspect — for all three have been writing poetry for some time. For me, they are intelligent, rather intensely tremendous talents.

I think that I will here replicate what I wrote in that ‘Coda 2’ piece, as the sentiments are exactly the same —

All three fit, if you will, the parameters I claimed would establish the future direction of an increasingly multicultural country. None of them could be classified as pākehā middle-class poets and all tend towards the experimental and/or performance and/or indigenous striates of poetry. Significantly and obviously, all three are women. Theirs is the future of poetry in the skinny country of Aotearoa — inevitably, for as I have stressed several times previously — the demographic of Aotearoa is rapidly and rather radically on the move into major diversity.’

Full article here


See my reviews:

Hera Lindsay Bird

Simone Kaho

Mere Taito and a poem




Slam, slam … & thank you Mams – Vaughan Rapatahana’s take on Slam Poetry & NZ stalwarts


Vaughan Rapatahana has just posted a piece on Jacket2 that casts a spotlight on various poetry activities in New Zealand. Great to see. Thanks, too, for the thumbs up Vaughan.

‘In this, my last commentary post of this series — apart from a brief Coda next week — I want to talk about two distinct areas of the Aotearoa-New Zealand poetry scene that I have alluded to previously, but nor really covered copiously as yet.

One is the vital and brimming Poetry Slam situation in this multicultural land — a scene that is really expanding fast, most particularly among younger poets, and certainly among Polynesian poets who tend not to live in stuffy urban areas, but more likely in places like Mangere, where I grew up. I reckon this bodes extremely well for the future of (their) primarily oral-delivery focussed work, for they seem less interested in being seen in print in established/mainstream journals and much more energized by the live performance, the audience, the competition, the sometimes Americano rap/hip-hop, often Pasifika, definite ngā mōteatea rhythms and beats running through their pieces. Mind you, some DO already have print collections out there … Kei te tino pai tēnei (This is very good.)’


and part two:


‘So I also want to focus on another essential aspect of New Zealand’s poetry scene — the Stalwarts, the people — very often women, thank you Mams, who keep poetry in this country alive and kicking via their commitment to writing about it; reviewing it as in the several online blogs, like The Tuesday Poem as organised by Mary [McCallum] and Claire Beynon, which ‘carries a poem and commentary on the poet’s work every Tuesday’; publicizing it; organising it — often  regionally: mostly unpaid and as dedicated labours of love.’


Full blog here