Tag Archives: Landfall

Just out: Landfall 230 is a strongly multicultural issue – includes Grattan Awards poems

Landfall 230


Press release:


Landfall 230 is a strongly multicultural issue, reflecting the diversity and energy of contemporary New Zealand writing, with contributions by, among others, writers of Mexican, Samoan, Rotuman, Chinese, Irish and Indian backgrounds.

A significant series of just-completed small oil paintings by Jeffrey Harris make up the first stunning art portfolio in this issue, followed by a series of 2015 paintings by Emily Karaka.


Featuring new poems by Riemke Ensing, Michael Harlow, Fiona Kidman, Cilla McQueen, Robert Sullivan, Peter Olds, Bernadette Hall, Airini Beautrais, Olivia Macassey, Kay McKenzie Cooke, Carolyn McCurdie, Hannah Mettner, Joanna Preston and Rogelio Guedea (translated by Roger Hickin) — Landfall 230 demonstrates the vitality and range of current poetic practice in New Zealand.

The Landfall Review includes, among other reviews, William Dart’s commentary on a recently published collection of writings by composer Douglas Lilburn; Peter Simpson’s review of Charles Brasch: Selected Poems; David Herkt writing about novelist James Courage; and Paul Moon’s review of Tony Ballantyne’s Entanglements of Empire: Missionaries, Māori and the question of the body.

Emma Neale, judge of the 2015 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award, takes us through the difficult process of choosing a winner; and there is a showcase selection of the four best essays from the 2015 Landfall Essay Competition – eloquent, passionate, exhilarating non-fiction delivered by Tracey Slaughter, Philip Braithwaite, Louise Wallace and Therese Lloyd.

Celebrating the power of the literary imagination with inside stories and true confessions, short fictions and thoughtful critiques, Landfall 230 is testament to the rich variety and dynamism of the current state of New Zealand culture.



Landfall 230

Edited by David Eggleton

Release Date: November 2015

ISBN 978-1-877578-91-5, $30


Ten things to love about Landfall 229



Shortly after Sport arrives in my box, I get a bright new issue of Landfall. My little list below maps my ‘loves’ so far — like little ‘like’ ‘share’ ‘favourite’ or ‘retweet’ buttons. Editors might compile a journal with an arc of contours (aural, thematic, emotional pitch, genre, experimentation, quietness and so on) as I have always done with an anthology so you move through shifting readerly experiences from start to finish. However, I never read a journal like this.  It’s dip and delve.

1. Straight to the review section to books I have missed, and books I have reviewed. Ha! I Have missed (all meanings intended) reading Ian Wedde’s The Grass Catcher: A digression about home (Victoria University Press). Martin Edmond’s scintillating review meditates on the implications of writing the past alongside his critique of Ian’s illuminations of his own. ‘Home’ was a key notion that came under scrutiny within my doctoral thesis and within the context of Italian women writing novels in the twentieth century. It still fascinates me. This review has sent me scuttling to buy the book. In particular: ‘This is not one of those writer’s memoirs that says: here is how I became the resplendent creature I am today. It is too multi-faceted, too in love with the world, you might say, to serve such a purpose.’

2. Rata Gordon’s poem  ‘Tinkering’ is like an electric train on electric tracks. You get to the end and you want to travel that route again. Wow!

3. Discovering Michael Harlow picked  Sue Wootton’s poem, ‘Luthier,’ as the winning entry in The Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize (2015). This poem is sumptuous in detail and that detail evokes mood, music, character, place in a transcendental kind of way. I would love to hear this poem read aloud to hear the poet lift and connect and pause, the hit of certain words on the line (flitch, slink, Sitka, bedrock). Sue demonstrates the way a poem can take a small moment/thought/action/thing and then open out intimately for the reader. A word that comes to mind and that is so overused when speaking poetry is luminous. But this poem is utterly and breathtakingly luminous.

4. Discovering Christina Conrad still writes poems.

5. Short poems can be very very good. So much happens in the white space that holds them This is the case with Louise Wallace’s ‘Mirage/Arizona.’

6. Tina Makeriti’s essay, ‘This Compulsion in Us.’ Strikes a chord because I am fascinated by museums too; enthralled by the things that stick to the objects that only you can see or hear or feel. Loved Tina’s exploration of a museum’s paradox, in that it preserves treasures yet ‘also captures and immobilises things that make sense only in motion, that should breathe and transform.’

7. Runner-up in The Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize (2015), the opening lines in Jessica le Bas’s ‘Four Photographs from a Window’ : ‘The first is a shot in the dark/ buttoned up and black suited’

8. An Elizabeth Smither short story that underlines what an exquisite hand she has when it comes to fiction (‘The Trees’).

9. The way Sue Reidy’s poem, ‘The primitive,’ became etched on my skin.

10. Lots more delights but I have to mention the Unity-Books, standout ad. A child reading a book, thank you!



Landfall 228 highlights

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The latest issue of Landfall contains the essays by the winner (Diana Bridge) and runners-up (Sarah Bainbridge, Simon Thomas, Scott Hamilton) of the 2014 Landfall Essay Competition. Judge, David Eggleton, selected 11 finalists (all listed) from 39 entries before selecting the winners. He is also publishing the essay by another finalist, Tina Makareti in Landfall 229. Having read the judge’s comments, I am now interested to read the essays themselves.

What I have done though is read all the poetry. Four poems particularly stood out for me.

Carolyn McCurdie’s ‘Hut’ The opening lines are tremendous: ‘If I come back as a building/ it will be as a tramping hut.’ The poem deposits you in in its heart which is the heart of the hut. Right there in a place where words so frequently stop, yet Carolyn’s lines are memorable.

Reihana Robinson’s ‘And Blessed Be’ The lively word play of this poem is utterly infectious.

Semira Davis’s ‘White Girl: Māori World’  The poem has a razor-sharp edge that stops you in your tracks. Is it okay for a skinny white girl to speak Te Reo?

Rhian Ghallager’s ‘The Speed of God’ is a stunning example of poetry that is original (yes!), breathtaking, spare and refreshes repetition. Some poems rise above all the pother poems we write, and for me, this is one of them. Here is the opening stanza:

‘What if God had slowed down after making the grass and the stars and the

whales and let things settle for a bit so the day could practise leaving into the

arms of the night and the tides tinker their rhythms and the stars

find their most dramatic positions.’

I was capitivated by Michele Leggott’s essay, ‘Self-Portrait: Still Life, A Family Portrait.’ It is both inventive and moving. I don’t want to say anything more but let it unfold for you as you read it.

Oh and I also loved the portraits by Lorene Taurerewa. One features on the cover.

And as for the fiction, that is part of my summer reading.

Great issue, David Eggleton.

Landfall 227 Vital Signs Autumn 2014 I really appreciate picking up a journal that places critical thinking alongside the telling of tales and the musical lift and surprise of poems.

9781877578465     9781877578465     9781877578465


Landfall 227 Vital Signs Autumn 2014

The latest issue of Landfall does indeed celebrate vital signs of life in our writing communities. This is a writing smorgasbord that not only offers tremendous fiction and poetry but that also presents writing that defies genre. There is writing here that sits in the non-fiction category but that veers in other directions. I really appreciate picking up a journal that places critical thinking alongside the telling of tales and the musical lift and surprise of poems. And that that critical thinking is full of welcome signs as opposed to the by-products of gated cul-de-sacs.

There were few poems that couldn’t hold my attention, some of the very best writing was near the back, and my accumulation of standout poems just grew and grew. Bouncing off the title, clichés abounded; New Zealand poetry is in good and diverse heart, there is vital blood pumping through our poetic veins. Ahh! I loved the way this selection made links to past and present, mainstream and offbeat, familiar and unfamiliar, and satellite poetry endeavours.


Here is a wee tour of my stallings:

Morgan Bach’s eye-catching moment in ‘Postcards,’ provides a sweet, melodic lull, vibrant detail and a catchy miniature narrative.

The delicious, nostalgic drive of Philip Armstrong’s ‘Portolan’ takes you right back to ‘when.’

There is the heady dislocation in a heritage library courtesy of Airini Beautrais’s ‘Finding the Dead.’

In Annalyse Gelman’s ‘My Legacy’ I loved the syncopated pattern of long and short lines.

Murray Edmond’s ‘Solomon’s Throw: Memoir of a Name’ is an inventive and agile response to the stunning tie between the West Indies and Australian cricket terms in 1960. Murray bounces from Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ to the childhood Solomon-Grundy chant to ‘The Song of Solomon’ in his surprising musings.

One of a number of poignant poems in the issue, Angela Andrews’s ‘Grandfather reacts to the way death and almost death are great prompters of story, of roads back into the past. Her detail is acute.

Each poem Sarah Jane Barnett writes just gets better and better. In ‘Relief,’ each line is nimble, the story fablesque, the poem rich in direction.

Carin Smeaton’s ‘Wishing Bone’ is like dialect in short snappy lines, with urban edge, getting into the head and ache of a woman/mother dispossessed.

Peter Black’s photographs, ‘Simple Beauty,’ are luminous poems.

Gregory O’Brien and Robin Kearns converse in ‘A Weekend on the Chathams’ (a geographer and a poet reflect back). Gregory’s poem-paintings (or painting-poems) are one response to how poet and geographer found it difficult to find ‘a voice to inhabit the elusive and often contested reality of the Chathams.’ Both looking for ‘crossed circuits, connections, conversations, rhymes and assonances.’ This lightness of touch from Gregory:


If there is

a moon

it is carved into

a dark tree. If

there is

a tree. But

there is always

an ocean.


Lynley Edmeades’s ‘Faute de Mieux’ offers musicality of detail and momentum.

Some of my favourite poems were sheltering near the back. Bernadette Hall’s piece, an extract from ‘Maukatere: Floating Mountain’ defies compartments. It is like a floating memoir that hooks imagination as much as recollection. It is poetry, and in that poetry, promotes curiosity. I want to read more!

I stalled on the moving twinges, revelations and contours of Vivienne Plumb’s ‘Nothing Trivial.’

I have already sung the praises of Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle’s Autobiography of a Margurite (there is an extract) here.

Alice Miller shows she is an exquisite wordsmith in ‘Observatory.’ Here is a taste:


Night comes for the ten thousandth time, sky growing

muddy with cloud, light squeezed out.

Are you there, a man says into his phone.

A storm is coming.


At the back are the results of The Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize 2014. Sue Wootton’s comments include ‘eight [terrific] ways to make a poem that proved robust enough for my shortlist.’ Her final comment on the winning poem is equally astute: ‘[it] goes on giving up a little something new no matter how many times it’s read.’ I read Brian Turner’s winning ‘Mulching’ and I totally agreed. It quietly keeps creeping up on you. Runner-up was Annalyse Gelman’s ‘Auden.’


Submissions for Landfall 228 now closed. Due November 2014.

Submissions for Landfall 229 close January 10th 2015 (there is no theme). Due May 2015.