Tag Archives: Poetry Shelf connections

Poetry Shelf connections: Bernadette Hall’s ‘the landscape of longing’


the landscape of longing

in memory of Gerry Melling, poet and architect 1947-2012



I shall explain herein the arrangement and symmetry

of private buildings from the position of the heavens in respect of the earth,

the inclination of the zodiac and from the sun’s course


just the cold left now like a smooth glove on the top of my hand

though the joint between my fingers is still warm


an object under the eye will appear very different  from the same object in an open space       


think of the shell as part of the architectural setting, a shallow canopy

over the Madonna who, with her child, has been gathering raspberries


the injury which nature would effect is evaded by means of art


take, for example, the more tensile forms of tiny fish that dart,

a little more weighted with their body mass,

more straightforwardly down, slewing side to side like footballers

shaping new subtleties of line to distract the eye


it is the part of a skilful (wo)man  to consider the nature of the place, 

the purpose of the building and the beauty of it


think of the falcon and the falconer,

of words in circular and ovoid shapes like the seventy-one

cervical vertebrae that held up the neck of the plesiosaur

think of Beethoven’s Quartet No. 15 in A minor

think of the Sky Box overlooking the West Bank in Wellington

think of Gerry and Geoff and Celeste and all the other beautiful people



Bernadette Hall


italicised text taken from the writings of the Roman architect, Vitruvius 80-15BC



Bernadette says:  Here is my lockdown poem. Some of the lines have been floating around for a while. I’ve long wanted to write something for Gerry. How good that this week Geoff Cochrane and Celeste should join him.  I’ve no idea who Celeste is. She appears in one of Geoff’s poems. She sounds beautiful. All I can say is, here’s to love and friendship, they are timeless. And thank you to all who are working to keep us all safe.













Poetry Shelf connections: Frances Edmond celebrates Lauris Edmond’s birthday by reading a poem


Lauris Edmond & Frances.jpeg





Frances Edmond reads ‘Late Song’ by her mother Lauris Edmond

Night Burns with a White Fire: The Essential Lauris Edmond (Steel Roberts, 2017)





Lauris Edmond, 1924–2000, grew up in Napier, and attended Wellington Teachers’ College, Victoria University College (1942–44) and Canterbury College (1944). She completed an MA in English literature with First Class Honours at Victoria University of Wellington. She wrote poetry, novels, short stories, stage plays, autobiography and edited several books, including a selection of A. R. D. Fairburn’s ltters. She published seventeen volumes of poetry, including several anthologies, and a CD, The Poems of Lauris Edmond, which was released in 2000. Her debut collection, In Middle Air (Pegasus Press, 1975), wri tten in her early fifies, won the PEN NZ Best First Book of the Year (1975) and Selected Poems (Oxford University Press, 1984) won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1985. She received numerous awards, including the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship (1981), an OBE for Services to Poetry and Literature (1986), and an Honorary DLi from Massey University (1988). Edmond was a founder of New Zealand Books. The Lauris Edmond Memorial Award was established in her name. Her daughter, Frances Edmond, and poet Sue Fitchett published Night Burns with a White Fire: The Essential Lauris Edmond (Steele Roberts), a selection of her poems, in 2017.

Today Emma Neale was announced as the 2020 winner of the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry.


Frances Edmond is a writer and reviewer who works across disciplines in film, theatre and literature and is Literary Executor for her mother, poet, Lauris Edmond. Her most recent completed projects include: Night Burns with a White Fire: THE ESSENTIAL LAURIS EDMOND (with co-editor Sue Fitchett and published by Steele Roberts Aotearoa) and she is now working on a companion piece tentatively titled, Burning Substance: a Lauris Edmond Companion, which explores the origins, sources and inspiration of her mother’s writing through a daughter’s eyes. Frances was the 2018 recipient of the Shanghai Writing Residency and spent two months in Shanghai working on a new draft of her screenplay about New Zealand Missionary Nurse, Kathleen Hall, and her experiences in China. With Ken Rea who teaches at the Guildhall in London, and who was the founder of the Living Theatre Troupe (1970-76), Frances is working on a history of the Troupe based on completed oral histories that were funded with a Ministry of Culture and Heritage Oral History Award. She has also written and directed her own short film, The Apple Tree.


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Poetry Shelf connections: essa may ranapiri’s ‘TANGIHANGA IN THE TIME OF COVID19’





how do we say      farewell how


do we make sure that our loved


ones make it over the cape


when we can’t stay with them


in their last


it’s only two









essa may ranapiri




essa told me they would like this poem to be the start of a conversation among Maaori and Pasifika writers. ‘Poetry can bring us together,’ they hope.

I am happy to offer a connecting space ‘for Maaori and Pasifika writers to deal with and or celebrate whatever during this time’.

paulajoygreen@gmail.com   If I don’t answer your email within three or four days nudge me please.


essa may ranapiri, Ngāti Raukawa, is a poet from Kirikiriroa, Aotearoa. They graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington (2018) and their work has appeared in many local journals. They are the featured poet in Poetry Yearbook 2020 (Massey University Press). ransack has been longlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards 2020.


essa may ranapiri website

Victoria University Press page

The Pantograph Punch Jackson Nieuwland reviews ransack

RNZ interview

Poetry Shelf: essa reads ‘Glass Breaking’

essa on being at IIML with Tayi Tibble