Tag Archives: Maria McMillan

Poets on Tour: McMillan & Beautrais at the Big House in Auckland

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‘Poets at the big house. Airini Beautrais (brand new book ‘Flow: Whanganui River Poems’, Maria McMillan (brand new book ‘The Ski Flier’, Tulia Thompson and possibly an awesome guest who I don’t have confirmation of when I created this invite but she’s awesome and I’ll update when we know. Bring wine (or not), sit by the fire, listen to us read things, watch us perform things. We’ll sign our new books (cash sales only).’

Note from Paula: Not sure of exact address

Some details here on Facebook

Flow: Whanganui River Poems – Airini Beautrais’s poetry launch

Nau mai, haere mai. Come and help celebrate the launch of Airini Beautrais’s new collection, Flow: Whanganui River Poems.
Featuring stories from the catchment, river and town.
Shipwrecks, floods, soldier-settlers, surveyors, missionaries, protests, poets, petrolheads, deviants, sly-groggers, environmentalists, heroes, anti-heroes and complicated characters.

With readings by Airini, Maria McMillan, and special guests.

All welcome. Drinks and nibbles will be served (in adjacent space as food and drink can’t be consumed in the museum. Please do not bring these items).

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Paekākāriki Launch: The Ski Flier by Maria McMillan

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You are warmly invited to the launch of

The Ski Flier
by Maria McMillan

4–6pm on Saturday 17 June
at St Peter’s Hall, Beach Road
Paekākāriki

All welcome.
About The Ski Flier

Vimeo page

My two poetry readings to launch my new book feature some of my favourite poets

Like so many poets, I loathe people making speeches about me or my work. Much better to stage a poetry reading and celebrate the pull of cities.

My new poetry collection comes out of ten exceptional days I spent in New York with my family awhile ago. So I have invited a bunch of poets I love to read city poems by themselves and others. Big line-ups but it will free flow and leave time for wine and nibbles.

Once I got to fifteen I realised what poetry wealth we have in these places. I could have hosted another 15  in each place easily. That was so reassuring.

If I had time and money, I would have staged similar events in Christchurch and Dunedin where there bundles of poets I love too.

Please share if you have the inclination.

And you are ALL warmly invited!

Auckland:

 

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Wellington:

 

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Reading Sport 44 on a wet Sunday keeps the blues away

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The new edition of Sport includes 8 essays along with the usual spread of poetry and fiction. At the start of the book is an impressive advertisement for Victoria University Press’s forthcoming publications. This Press is a consistent and exemplary supporter of New Zealand writing whether poetry, fiction or non-fiction.

 

Why I am singing VUP’s praises:

There are 15 poetry collections in the offing (okay some might not appear until next year, but still!). We are going to see books by Tusiata Avia and Hera Lindsay Bird over the next few months.

Sarah Laing‘s new book is out in October (Mansfield and me: A Graphic Memoir).

There are 4 works of fiction (Catherine Chidgey has a new novel out in November!)

And I am looking forward to the collection of essays Ingrid Horrocks co-edited having tasted some in Ruapehu and Ashleigh Young‘s essays (November).

 

Sport 44

some preliminary highlights:

Usually, I read all the poems first but this time I was in the mood for a bite of fiction so I dove straight into Kirsten McDougall‘s ‘A Visitation.’ The story responds to the collapse of the internet and the arrival of Clarice Lispector to make a batch of eggs to tempt an indifferent palate. I adored this story so much it made me want to take up writing short fiction. It is sweet writing; warm, witty, funny, thoughtful, polemical. I do hope there is a new collection in the pipelines. I read this on a plane with two hours sleep and it was such an uplift. ‘I saw anew the detritus in the house I had allowed to build up like a plaque to the heart.’

The journal always puts in me in touch with writers I am unfamiliar with. This time a glorious suite by Oscar Upperton: ‘The ship is a sort of dark undoing.’

And Philip Armstrong‘s utterly inventive narrative, ‘Life of Clay,’ which keeps you on your toes as you read: ‘I can tell you it began with nothing/ but the wide white bare and empty endless plain/ but there was something there already there.’

I have already posted some of Rachel Bush‘s poems here.  Movingly, achingly beautiful. Written when life has fingertips against death.

Jenny Bornholdt‘s exquisite haiku: ‘It is eight degrees/and the Thorndon outdoor pool/ is swimming with leaves.’

Ashleigh Young‘s ‘Process’ which is sad and happy and a little bit witty and a little bit true: ‘On this day our city is a perfect haircut, its losses gently layered/ and what is left, falling gracefully.’ Oh word shivers!

Tusiata Avia‘s ‘Gaza’ which brings heart and politics together and rips your easy Sunday slumbering with poetic teeth: ‘I cannot write a poem about Gaza because I cannot eat a whole desert.’

The stillness, the extraordinary image, the enigmatic bridge between title and poem in Louise Wallace‘s ‘The body began to balance itself’. You just have to read the whole thing!

Hannah Mettner‘s ‘The day Amy died’ that takes a moment that pricks with sharp detail and pricks even deeper when the moment is declared and time and noise go haywire.

Maria McMillan‘s ‘The Ski Flier’ is a whoosh of a poem that sucks you up into story and music and is so evocative: ‘And/ there is a moment when they pass,/ the snow and the ski flier,/ each taking on the character of the other.’

Harry Rickett‘s ’14A Esmonde Road’ exudes the mood of place, that historic property where Janet and Frank lived; and you can just feel the phantoms stalking the poem until you get to the perfect ending.

The first poem, ‘Falseweed,’ is by Bill Manhire and was published as a little pamphlet by Egg Box Publishing in Norwich. It has a different feel to some of Bill’s recent poems. The words are scattered like seeds on the expanse of white page. Or pebbles. But I like the idea of seed as they are so fertile. I can see the roots and buds bursting out. There is linguistic inventiveness that boosts both music and image, particularly in compound words:

leafcandle  pencilheart  wintertwig  scribblegrass  anchorwhite  tongue-true.

I felt like I was following a dandelion kiss and pausing to see where it landed. The poem is about childhood and writing and a mind floating, roaming. Words floating, roaming. It is beautiful and mesmerising: ‘I began to recall/ how the words came knocking.’ ‘Oh pencilheart –/ oh smudge of lead.’

 

And still much to read; more poems, more fiction and the bundle of essays. This is a terrific issue.

The VUP ad:

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Poetry Shelf, Poet’s Choice: Maria McMillan makes her picks

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I loved Australian writer Mireille Juchau‘s barely speculative novel The World Without Us. It’s an insightful portrayal of disturbance on many levels, and the workings of survival. It is wonderfully grounded, if that makes sense, full of palpable place and people, and so lush it highlights how sparse much contemporary writing (the stuff I come across anyway) is.

I decided to try and read all the writers coming to Writers Week as part of the NZ Festival next year. My hands down favourite pick so far is Nnedi Okorafor. I read both Who Fears Death and its prequel The Book of Phoenix. Both are vivid, splendid affairs melding existing and imagined dystopias.

At the Paekākāriki annual book fair I  found two treasures from my childhood. You talk to practically any New Zealander my age and we were all petrified by a TV series whose name none of us can remember which had a girl trapped in a house surrounded by giant watching stones that were getting closer. The series was based on Marianne’s Dreams by Catherine Storr, which was my first find. Marianne is in bed sick and draws frightening pictures which come true. The second was Ruth Park‘s marvellous Playing Beatie Bow. A time slip novel set in Sydney. I don’t remember many friends knowing about it here but apparently when it was released in Australia in 1980 it was huge. I read this book multiple times as a child, and can now resume the practice.

Maria McMillan