Tag Archives: Landing Press

Two poems from More of Us, launched by Landing Press today on World Race Relations Day

 

 

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More of Us, edited by Adrienne Jansen with Clare Arnot, Danushka Devinda and Wesley Hollis, Landing Press 2019

46 writers from 29 countries, all now living in New Zealand, award-winning poets and high school students

 

The journey of football

Lebanon

In Lebanon my brother and I
used to play football on the street.
There were shops on the right
and houses on the left.
The shops were a dairy, Express (fast coffee),
a farouge that sold alive and dead chickens.
The houses were old, full of Syrian families.
We passed the ball between each other,
wasting time because the days were long.
The sun was shining with no cloud,
the birds were standing on the trees,
their heads were darting, but they were singing.
Then I joined them and started to sing,
‘I believe I can fly’.

 

New Zealand

I feel nervous, scared,
happy and strong.
I hear the whistle
and we are all running
to get the ball.
We are running like hedgehogs
to score a goal.
It starts to rain,
the wind bashes you back
if you try to run forward.
It is raining so hard
our clothes are all wet.
The grass is muddy and slippery.
I can see people falling.

It is cold, but it gives me a very good feeling.
It makes me forget everything hurting,
it makes me forget all the sad moments.
It makes me live here in this moment.

Mohammad El Fares

 

Mohammed: I’ve been in New Zealand for two years and I love playing
football. My high school teachers say I’m a very friendly
student who gets on well with everyone, and I’m happy
about that.

 

When we came here

I didn’t know how to sleep
in Aokautere’s silence,
the hush of darkness
was something I didn’t know
how to touch.

My childhood had been a field
of people. They didn’t feature
in our photo albums or come
round for tea. Instead they made
a clatter, rumble, shuttle, rush
just outside the window.

Kirsten le Harivel

 

Kirsten: I am a writer, programme manager and mother based on
the Kāpiti Coast. I was born in Scotland and am of Scottish,
English and French descent. I have an MA in Creative
Writing from Victoria University and run the annual
Kahini Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat and Kāpiti Workshop Series.

 

 

Landing Press page

Landing Press is a small cooperative press based in Wellington that focuses mainly on poetry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 poems and a conversation – All of Us by Adrienne Jansen and carina gallegos

 

homework

 

she waits

for her children

to fall asleep

before she opens

their schoolbags

and studies their homework.

they learn

so much faster

and she’s falling behind.

they speak her language

with an accent now

and she can’t

understand what they say

when they speak

among themselves

in their new

mother tongue.

 

carina gallegos

 

 

 

Lost in translation

 

Lev has learnt

the word in English.

Rabbit.

He points at the book

and says in his thick accent

‘Rabbit.’

It’s freezing cold,

frost on the window.

‘Rabbit’ comes out

in a rush of smoke.

‘No’ I say,

‘that’s not a rabbit.’

I point at the book.

‘It’s a pig.’

He breathes heavily,

clouds of white steam

rising around him.

He goes to the window.

A dog is running

on the white grass.

‘Rabbit!’ he shouts

‘Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!’

and bursts into tears.

 

Adrienne Jansen

 

 

©Adrienne Jansen and carina gallegos All of Us, Landing Press, 2018

Watch a clip from the book launch

 

 

Adrienne and carina  gave me kind permission to post their conversation which forms the  introduction to the collection.

 

Where did these poems come from?

Adrienne: I wanted to write a series of poems from two perspectives: what does someone from Syria, for example, experience when they go to a railway station, compared to what I experience going to a railway station? What would happen if we each wrote about our experience of the railway station?

So I started to write a series of poems that were about ‘there’ and ‘here’. One of the reasons it appealed to me was because I didn’t want to take on the voice of the migrant or refugee. I might be recording the stories and experiences they’ve told me, but I’m not taking on their voice.

Now you can talk about where your poems came from.

carina: my poems aren’t imagined either, they’re just sharing the experiences that people have shared with me. they’re the observations of ‘here’ and ‘there’, when you work with people or communities from refugee backgrounds, you hear these stories over and over again. the stories go on for days and people experience them in their heads every day, and to tell them in a poetic context brings them alive in a more succinct way. but we don’t get to experience the ‘there’, we only experience the ‘here’.

coming from a migrant background it was easy for me to relate to some of their stories too.

Adrienne: Both of us are retelling the stories that we’ve heard and heard and which we think are very important to pass on, and in this case, we’re recording them in poetry.

carina: exactly. it’s storytelling poetry.

that was the other part of the vision – that we were going to write poetry that was accessible to a wide range of people. it wasn’t conceptual poetry, it wasn’t difficult, it was poetry that a lot of people could read and understand, even if there were other layers of meaning, even if there were stories between the lines. there was something there, regardless of whether you could read between the lines or not.

Adrienne: Tell me why you don’t use capital letters.

carina: because i don’t like capital letters.

Adrienne: Because … ?

carina: ever since i was a little girl i’ve had an issue with authority (that’s a longer conversation). i don’t mean for the lack of capital letters to be an obstacle for people. it’s quite common for poets to play with capital letters and punctuation and with the aesthetics of letters and words. i love full stops and commas and use them in a very traditional way. i just don’t like capital letters. i don’t even use them to spell my name.

Adrienne: So that was a challenge for us, how to combine two quite different styles. I use capitals and punctuation because I see them as a kind of small signpost to the reader and a kind of fine-tuning for the writer. That would be my approach.

But there are other differences in style too. Like yours – would you describe your style as Latin American style? It’s more discursive.

carina: we talk a lot. latin americans, i mean.

Adrienne: You talk a lot. Right. And of course, New Zealanders don’t talk so much. This could be very interesting!

carina: we’re long-winded people.

Adrienne: That’s why you’ve got longer poems than mine. We’re both being true to type.

 

carina: and there’s also the weather factor. we’ve been told that in the poems it rains a lot. the weather here is not tropical. if we lived in central america or south america, we’d be writing about mugginess or bad hair days. but in new zealand the challenge is the weather, even for people who were born here. it’s the cold weather that challenges people.

Adrienne: So that’s why it rains a lot.

carina: that’s why it rains a lot.

Adrienne: In the poems.

carina: because in new zealand it rains a lot.

 

From All of Us, published by Landing Press November 2018

 

Carina Gallegos has a background in journalism and development studies. She grew up in Costa Rica, moved to New Zealand thirteen years ago, and has worked with refugee-background communities since 2011. She lives in Wellington with her family.

Adrienne Jansen has published numerous books (poetry, novels, nonfiction). She teaches on the Creative Writing Programme at Whitireia Polytechnic. For ten years she was part of the writing team at Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. She lives in Wellington.

An invitation from Landing Press for poetry by migrants and those with refugee backgrounds

If you know someone that might be interested – please share. I know there are some creative writing groups that might take this up but don’t know how to contact them – Paula

 

Hi there,

I am writing to you on behalf of Landing Press based in Wellington.

We are working on a collection of poems by migrants and refugee-background individuals living in New Zealand and want to invite you/your organisation to send us poems. And please help us spread the word about this great opportunity.

The only requirement is that the poems must be written by migrants or refugees, whether they have lived in New Zealand for a month or fifty years.

 

·         You can send up to 3 poems.

·         Email them to landingpresspoems@gmail.com. Include your name and phone number.

·         Or you can post them to 97 Tireti Road, Porirua 5022. Include your name and postal address. (Keep a copy of your poem).

·         Send us your poems by Monday, 16th July.

 

A selection of poems will be published later in the year as a companion to a book of poetry on the themes of migrants and refugees, written by Adrienne Jansen and Carina Gallegos. Both books will be published by Landing Press. All writers whose work is included in the selection will receive a copy of the book.

Landing Press is a very small press, but we have a big vision. We believe that poetry is a powerful way in which our many voices can be heard. 

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

 

Kind regards

Devinda Senanayake

 

For Landing Press

Trish Harris’s My Wide White Bed is an astonishing uplift

 

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The Wide White Bed Trish Harris  Landing Press 2017

 

Trish Harris spent eight weeks in the Orthopaedic Ward at Hutt Hospital as people – visitors and patients – came and went about her. Someone brought her a journal and that became both her private room and the subsequent resource for My Wide White Bed.

The poetry is airy, with acute observations, luminous things, and an awareness of community experience rather than a single perspective. It is immensely readable; I gobbled it in a flash, loving the sweetly crafted lines, the wit and the reflection.

The sequence comprises untitled poems that begin with the idea of a ship:

 

The hospital sails

like a tall ship

down the crease of the valley.

I am stabilised

mid-mast

laid out on a wide white bed

head facing east.

 

The book struck such a cord with me because it took me right back into the thick of hospital stays where intimacy thresholds dissolve, discomfort displaces comfort and walls and windows are unsteady.

This is not a bitter grim read but an essential read in the light of the current state of hospital care. The politics are subtle and various:

 

They arrive

as elderly women with

broken bones

strained muscles.

Back home

they are the strong ones

caring for senile husbands

sick sisters

dying mothers.

They come to this place

of illness

for a rest.

 

Trish pulls us into the lives of others as much as she exposes her own story, and that is what elevates the reading experience. Names are changed but the dialogue, the situations and the revelations sound out as vital human truths. This is poetry of connection, of empathetic relations in tough circumstances. Single lines glow:

 

Merle is doing crosswords.

That’s why she buys the newspaper.

At home her husband grows daisies and dementia.

 

The book should be in the drawers beside every hospital bed, and in the gift shop, because the book, like the boat with the wind in its sails, is an astonishing uplift. Plus I recommend placing a journal and pen in bedside drawers, so patients can open up their own privates rooms to write or doodle windows and doors and secret sails.

 

Then again pick up this book for a wet Sunday and savour the rewards. I love it.

 

 

All night long I ease

the white blanket over shoulder

across belly and over hip

dreaming of transformation.

 

In the morning the nurse says

You look like a cocoon.

 

I smile. The covers bulge

with antennae buds and

the scratching of wings.

 

©Trish Harris The Wide White Bed

Trish Harris has a BA of Applied Arts (Creative Writing) from Whitireia New Zealand. She has worked with words – editing, writing, creating and tutoring – for over thirty years. In 2016, Escalator Press publisher her memoir, The Walking Stick Tree. Her poetry has appeared in various journals.

 

 

 

 

Trish Harris’s My Wide White Bed to be launched on Saturday

Next Saturday, Landing Press will be launching their newest collection of poetry – My wide white bed by Trish Harris.

My wide white bed, Trish’s first collection of poetry, is inspired by her long stay in an orthopaedic ward. Navigating daily hospital life and the path to recovery, the poems capture a unique view of hospital life from a patient’s point of view and demonstrates, as Glenn Colquhoun puts it in his endorsement of the book, ‘how crucial imagination is to being well’.

At a time when health care is a much talked-about issue, this book contributes to the conversation in an insightful way with measure and hopefulness.

The launch will be held at Pātaka Art + Museum in Porirua, Wellington from 2.30pm.

 

Here is a clip of Trish reading a poem from the book.

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