Tag Archives: Ria Masae

Poetry Shelf classic poem: Jordan Hamel picks Ria Masae’s ‘Jack Didn’t Build Here’

 

Jack Didn’t Build Here

 

This is the house that Dad built.

Foundation laid with stories

from sitting under the ulu tree

to learnings from palagi scholarship:

for wife, for offspring, for aiga.

Sunday School teachings echo in his mother-tongue

dotted with Oxford Dictionary words.

 

This is the house that Lange built.

Southside Prime Minister. The only home

in the hood with a pool. He invited the locals

– his Mangere locals – over to swim

and understood the pressures of fa’alavelave,

cos he brown on the inside like that.

 

This is the house that Mum built.

Chandelier hangs over the heads of churchy

poker players, cheating and laughing on

the woven fala. Celebration trestle tables

laden with islands of sapasui, oka,

fa’alifu taro, palusami, and umu pork

surrounding a pavlova cheesecake.

 

This is the house that Key built.

Double-glazed windows within a security code gate.

His pool stretches across his Parnell palace

where riff raff are never invited to take a dip,

instead he swims regular laps to drown the reality

of midnight figures huddled inside torn sleeping bags

outside glaring high-fashion mannequin stores.

 

This is the house that I built.

Now in State House central. Wallpaper designed with parents’ language

smudged into Samoglish. One post carved from

the ancient va’a of bloodline ocean wayfarers.

Other post, a mighty kauri etched with Hans fairytales,

and Chinese script I feel but I can’t translate.

 

What house will Jacinda build?

Will her house accommodate the next generation?

Will it enable my daughters to build their own homes

of tangata whenua foundations and fa’a Samoa roofs

in this palagified City of Sales?

 

Ria Masae, originally appeared in Landfall

 

 

poem appeared in latest Landfall 237

 

Note from Jordan:

I was lucky enough to see Ria Masae perform poetry last year and I’ve been a fanboy ever since.  I fell in with love this poem when I read it in Landfall instantly because of how it delineates the relationship between the personal and political. While those with power have the ability to create structures and systems that shield them from one or the other, the two spheres of experience are inherently and inevitably reciprocal.

Ria shows us the house as a place of learning, eating, sharing, a place to nurture Whanaungatanga. But she also shows us the house as something unattainable, surrounded by barriers and surveillance, somewhere that can spread fear, otherness or indifference. We spend our whole lives as house guests: we consciously and subconsciously pick and choose experiences and lessons as we build our own, deciding who to invite in, how we speak inside, what wallpaper to put up. Ria has built a house that is a sum of her, her knowledge, her language, her whakapapa, her space within a nation, where the treatment of its guests fluctuates with the whims of those sitting at the head of the table. Ria ends with a question:

What house will Jacinda build? Will it enable my daughters to build their own houses/of tangata whenua foundations and fa’a Samoa roofs/in the palangified City of Sales?

This ending resonates in a time where Aotearoa is asking more of it’s leaders, asking how they will allow rangatiratanga to flourish, how they will create a sustainable future and undo the harms of colonialism and capitalism, how they will celebrate and protect the unique experiences and histories of all its guests, how they will rectify their positions of power and privilege with the whenua they stand on. Ria will have an answer to her question sooner or later. In the meantime, I’m getting a grappling hook, a balaclava, a bottle of whisky and going for a midnight skinny dip in John Key’s forbidden pool, who’s coming with me?

 

Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based poet and performer. He was raised in Timaru on a diet of Catholicism and masculine emotional repression. He is the current New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and has words published or forthcoming in Takahē, Poetry NZ, Mimicry, Sweet Mammalian, Glass Poetry, Queen Mob’s Teahouse and elsewhere.

Ria Masae is a writer, poet and a spoken word artist. Her work has appeared in various writing outlets such as, Landfall, Circulo de Poesia / Circle of Poets (Mexico), and Best NZ Poems 2017. She is a member of the South Auckland Poets’ Collective.

This year Ria was accepted for the 2019 New Zealand Society of Authors Mentorship Programme in which she is working on new material for her sole poetry collection. She is also compiling poetry to be published by Auckland University Press, alongside two other emerging poets in a book series, New Poets #6. This is due to be released next year.

 

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Landfall page

Poetry Shelf review: Landfall 237

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Landfall 237 edited by Emma Neale

 

Landfall 237 offers rich pickings for the poetry fans: familiar names (Peter Bland, David Eggleton, Elizabeth Smither, Ria Masae, Lynley Edmeades and Cilla McQueen) to emerging poets (Rebecca Hawkes, Claudia Jardine, essa may ranapiri) and those I am reading for the first time (Robynanne Milford, Jeremy Roberts, Catherine Trundle to name a few). The reading experience is kaleidoscopic, pulling you in different directions, towards both lightness and darkness, risk and comfort. And that is exactly what a literary journal can do. I was tempted to say should, but literary journals can do anything.

Landfall has a history of showcasing quirky artwork – and this issue is no exception. Sharon Singer’s sequence, “Everyday Calamities’ with its potent colour, surreal juxtapositions, strange and estranging narratives, and thematic bridges, is an addictive puzzle for heart and mind. I am circling humanity, the power of connection, the individual both tenacious and frail, the state of the planet. Paintings whirling and tipping you into moments that soothe, bewilder and provoke. I adore these.

I turned from these to Rachel O’Neill’s prose poem ‘The Supernatural Frame’ and get goosebumps:

You may look upon the painting through these special

foiled binoculars. We are at a safe distance. Afterwards you

may feel a chill or a fever linger for two days and a night,

accompanied by an infernal cough.

 

 

On the centennial of the birth of Ruth Dallas in Invercargill, I am also delighted to see John Geraets spotlight her poetry. Certain Dallas poems have always had a place in NZ literary anthologies (think ‘Milking Before Dawn’) but as readers we may less familiar with the wider expanse of her work. Like so many women poets of the twentieth century she is in the shadows. In his intro John suggests it is not clear how to include her ‘within more recent nexus based on gender, ethnicity, ecology, avant-gardism, faith or political affiliation’. He responds by assembling her words – culled from Landfall editor-contributor responses and her autobiography Curved Horizon – on the left-hand pages and his words on the right. He first sees in her poetry – compared with contemporary writing choices – predictability, regularity, un-excitement, regionalism; and then, by paying attention and refreshing his routes, he opens up poems to different movements. He moves in close to the poem. I love that. Much I could say on how we approach the women from the past! Expect 568 pages soon.

 

I absolutely love the poetry in this issue; it is both fresh and vital! I see neither formula nor dominating style but shifting stories, musicality, feeling, political bite, muted shades, bright tones.

 

Here are some highlights:

 

Joanna Preston’s poem ‘Allegrophobia’ carries you from birth to tardiness to spring in a layered on punctuality – a perfect little package.

Jasmine Gallagher’s ‘Be Still’ sent me to her bio because I want to read more by her. She is a doctoral student at the University of Otago and has previously been published in brief. Her poem is poetry as brocade – glinting for the eye and chiming for the ear.

 

Slattern: a

hoar frost:

a rime

Cold seed bed

Rot and slime

 

Another poet, Catherine Trundle, also sent me scavenging for more. She writes poetry, flash fiction and experimental ethnography. Her poem ‘The Caravan behind the Plum Tree’ is also an exquisite brocade.

 

This lush cusp of spring rides

pinkish, amoebic, wilding

the inside, every flesh ’n’ cranny

while the sunlight lunges in

through winter tidelines

of curtain rot

 

Tam Vosper’s ‘Ailurophilia’ was an equal hook for me. He is working on a PhD at Canterbury University that considers Allen Curnow and the poetics of place. Again this is brocade poetry: so rich in effect.

 

All Gallic pluck

and casual loft

you claim a suntrap,

slump sidewise down,

and unhinge your barbed yawn:

           a shark to shoaling mice.

 

And I want to add Medb Charleton’s ‘I think I Saw You Dreaming’, Rebecca Hawkes’s ‘If I could breed your cultivar / I’d have you in my garden’ and Gail Ingram’s ‘The Kitchen’ to my list of brocade poetry. Glorious.

In contrast you have the spare deliciousness of Ariha Latham’s ‘Waitangi’. Another poet whose work I want to track down.

 

When I read Ria Masae’s “Jack Didn’t Build Here’ I can hear her performing its sharp mix of personal and politics  – and it cuts into my skin. Six houses built. She carries us from the father’s house full of stories to David Lange’s Mangere home open to the locals: he ‘understood the pressures of fa’alavelave,/ cos he brown on the inside like that’. She bears us from the house her mum built with its’ celebration tables’ to the house Key built with its ‘security code gate’. She ends with a question (the house to be built?):

 

What house will Jacinda build?

Will it enable my daughters to build their own homes

of tangata whenua foundations and fa’a Samoa roofs

in this palagified City of Sales?

 

You can move from political bite to the glorious wit you often find in an Erik Kennedy poem. His ‘All Holidays Are Made-Up Holidays’ is no exception. Meet Cabinet Day – ‘we went along/ from house to house hanging little doors / around each other’s necks to hide our secrets’. Or the Feast of Holy Indifference. Genius!

Claire Orchard’s poem, ‘Breakages’, swivels on a set of shelves, on the objects that they hold, and in that satisfying movement speaks of so much more; the poem resembles a shelf of family history with peaks and troughs.

 

I enjoyed the way it had begun to display time

in the style of tottering, elderly people

 

I heard Joan Fleming talk about new poetry she was writing at the Poetry & Essay conference at Victoria University in 2017. The poems came out of her experience of camp life in Nyrripi and surrounding areas in Australia’s Central Desert. I was moved by her discussions of collaboration and consent, her attentiveness to the local. Two poems here – ‘Alterations’ and ‘Papunya is Gorgeous Dirty and I Second-guess my Purposes’ – come out of this experience. I can’t wait to see this in book form.

 

Finally a treat from Cilla McQueen. She has written ‘Poem for my Tokotoko’; it is personal, physical and abundant with the possibilities of poetry. Pure pleasure.

 

Sometimes I see you as an enchanter’s staff,

scattering poems like leaves to the west wind;

at others you’re practical, a trusty pole

by means of which, through quarrelling

undercurrents, I can ford turbulent water.

By means of which I put myself across.

 

This is such good issue – there are reviews and fiction I haven’t read yet, and the announcement of the Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition 2019 – but on the poems only, it warrants a subscription. Yep – Landfall has its finger on the pulse of NZ poetry.

 

Landfall 237 page

 

 

White Night event at the Pah Homestead: a collaborative art project with Simone Kaho and Ria Masae

WHITE NIGHT at the Pah Homestead: ASSEMBLY

March 18 @ 6:00 pm9:00 pm

Assembly: Collections and Crafts at the Pah Homestead

Assembly is a White Night celebration like never before. Bringing together collections, treasures, beats, words and craft, this is a gathering of all things creative.

 

Throughout the evening visitors are invited to BRING | MAKE | TAKE as part of our collaborative artwork project and make connections with other local White Night venues.

 

Download a copy of our Neighborhood Map here

 

If you have an interesting item you always wanted to know more about, join expert Yvonne Sanders for our very own Antiques Roadshow.  Pre-register your prized possession and bring it on the night for a short valuation and discussion by Yvonne.

Simply send a short description and a photo to enquiries@wallaceartstrust.org.nz

We will also be joined by local fibre artists from the Handweavers and Spinners Guild, also members of the Auckland branch of Creative Fibre, who will demonstrate their skills in felting and weaving.

Artist Collective Tiger Murdoch (Kelly Pretty and Matt Dowman) will be creating a unique installation in the front entrance to the Arts Centre throughout the evening.

To complete the Assembly of local creative talent at the Pah, Simone Kaho and Ria Masae will craft beats and words into lyrical magic in a live poetry performance.

 

There will also be a free shuttle linking the Pah Homestead with Greenwoods Corner – hop on any time between 6pm and 9pm and see what else is happening on and around Pah Road.  Shuttle leaves from the Korma Road entrance to Monte Cecilia Park, there will be guides showing the way from Pah Homestead.

 

Please join us in celebrating the Auckland-wide White Night with our family-friendly evening of MAKING & CREATING at the Pah Homestead!

 

 

About our Collaborators

Yvonne Sanders Antiques is a landmark destination shop located in Epsom, Auckland.  As an International Dealer, Yvonne herself has successfully traded for over 40 years having established the business in 1971.

Creative Fibre is the New Zealand organisation for all fibre crafts. It brings together spinners, weavers, knitters, dyers, flax workers, felters, crocheters, free form fibre artists and all other people involved in the use of fibre. We have over 3000 members throughout New Zealand and around the world who share a passion for fibre.

Whitecliffe lecturers Kelly Pretty and Matt Dowman are working together as artists and grass roots activists, posing confronting questions about social welfare, gentrification, political turmoil and global injustice to the public.  Together they form the collective ‘Tiger Murdoch’ referring to the surname of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and ‘tiger’ referring to an action or cartoon character name.

Simone Kaho joined the Literatti in 2011 as a scholarship-winning graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, who count Eleanor Catton and Hera Lindsay Bird among their Alumni.  Noted for her lyricism and powerful stage presence, she’s now a performer in demand – at bars like The Thirsty Dog and theatres like Galatos, The Basement and The Mercury.

In 2015, Ria Masae won the ‘New Voices: Emerging Poets Competition’, as well as the ‘2016 Cooney Insurance Short Story Competition’. Also in 2015, Ria was thrilled to see a collection of her text come to life in a brilliant performance called, ‘MAKAI – Black Sand: Ocean Bones’. She was honoured to have her poetry translated into Spanish on the online Mexican literary website, Círculo de Poesía. Her work has been shared in several New Zealand and Australian publications including, Landfall, Blackmail Press, Snorkel, Ika, and Otoliths. Ria is a proud member of the South Auckland Poets Collective (SAPC).

 

 

Details

Date:
March 18
Time:
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Event Category:

Venue

The Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre
72 Hillsborough Road, Hillsborough
Auckland, 1042 New Zealand
+ Google Map
Phone:
09 639 2010

2015 NEW VOICES – Emerging Poets Competition – the results

Congratulations!

Ria Masae 1

2015 NEW VOICES – Emerging Poets Competition

The Divine Muses Poetry Reading and Penguin Random House New Zealand are pleased to announce the winner, runner up and highly commended entries in the 2015 NEW VOICES – Emerging Poets Competition.

The winner of the 2015 NEW VOICES – Emerging Poets Competition is Manukau Institute of Technology student Ria Masae for her poem, ‘Native Rivalry’. Writing of the winning entry, our judge commented, “I chose this poem as the winner because it is a beautiful poem, with layers I can ruminate on, and though I read this poem over and over, I never tired of it, in fact I always found a little something more to enjoy each time. It is a sharp observation, yet written with affection, and is very easy to love.”

Our huge congratulations to Ria who holds a BA from the University of Auckland, and is currently studying towards a BCA at MIT.  Her work has been accepted for publication by Blackmail Press, Potroast, Ika,and Otoliths. She is a member of SAPC (South Auckland Poets Collective).

Runner up this year was Auckland University of Technology Masters in Creative Writing graduate, Georgina Monro for her poem, ‘Student Nurse’. This, says Allan, “is a compassionate poem, which utilises figurative language to express modes of communication in unusual forms.”

Monro is a graduate of the Masters in Creative Writing program at Auckland University of Technology. She has been a finalist in the Going West Poetry Slam and the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival Slam.

Additionally there were two Highly-Commended entries are, ‘Murmur’ by Auckland University Philosophy graduate, Sahanika Ratnayake and ‘Colour me true’ by Michelle Chote who is in her 2nd year of study in Italian and French.

Ria Masae and Georgina Monro join our winners and runners up, many of whom have gone onto have work widely published in journals here and overseas, including Elizabeth Welsh, Elizabeth Morton and Rosetta Allan.

There were over 70 entries to this year’s competition. Of those works submitted, Allan said, “The breadth of subject matter was vast, and the forms of poetry went from Rhyming iambic pentameter, right through to freeverse.”

 

 

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