Tag Archives: Sarah Broom

Poetry Shelf The Summer Season: Poets pick poems – Simone Kaho picks Sarah Broom

 

Rain

She’s been lying
on the jetty for weeks,
cheek flat on the wet
wood, mouth an inch
from a fishgut stain
knife at her elbow.

The rain just keeps
coming down.

She’s as naked
as a shucked scallop,
raw and white
on the splintered planks.

Her breath is as slight
as the sea’s sway

Up there in the bush
all the trees lean down
and inwards, longing
for the creek
which longs
for the sea.

And the grey ocean
nuzzles the sand,
its waves as gentle
as tiny licks of kisses,
their small collapse
an everytime surrender.

Don’t touch her.
Let it rain.
Let it rain.

 

©Sarah Broom, Tigers at Awhitui  Auckland University Press, 2010.

 

 

I find this a terrifying poem, I feel it offers me hopelessness and acceptance intermingled.  There is spiritual movement away from a body before the body is dead, an exquisitely rendered vulnerability, a painfully sensual strength.

The poem opens on a woman who has been lying on a jetty ‘for weeks’; stopped in the middle of gutting fish, to drop her knife and be still, her mouth close to the fouled wood, which has not been cleansed by the continuous rain.

Some violence has been done on her, she is naked, shucked from her clothes, her position of power – she is as a scallop, an image both sensual and visceral. She has swapped places with the sealife – someone/thing else now holds the knife.

The image of the scallop caught me, an icon of fine dining. It’s tender vulnerability is its delectability; I see the taut white quiver of her on the splintered wood.

In the next line we learn she is still alive, breathing, aware. Unable, then, to move – or unwilling. Is she being punished – is she being defiant?

The likening of her breath to the sea’s slight sway is a dizzying; she is at once barely alive, and conversely, a goddess; inexorable and elemental.

We move up and away into the bush with the curved yearning trees, and the sustaining creek – all longing for the sea, which is far away, with this woman.

The sea in the sixth stanza is like an animal or a lover:

‘its waves as gentle
as tiny licks or kisses,
their small collapse
an everytime surrender.’

This verse holds all the tension of lovemaking.  The woman on the jetty is soothed by the sea, it surrounds her, supporting her breath – the elements are the only things that can reach her now.

This is confirmed for us in the next line where for the first time we are given instructions:

‘Don’t touch her.
Let it rain.
Let it rain.’

We are powerless like her. We must not touch her, we must allow nature.

I think of the rain. How we rush to be out of it because of its wetness and coldness. How I knew my cats were ready to die when they didn’t move out of the rain. Here, it replaces human touch, releasing, relentless.

This poem is spare; precisely descriptive and rhythmic. Small sways of lines like shallow breathing. It presents us injury, danger and paralysis – a helpless naked female, who has not lost her allure despite her diminishment, and her vulnerability – yet prevents us from helping or even empathising. Rather asks us to bear witness to her passage. Her transcendence into an elemental rhythm which we cannot take part in.

I feel this poem has helped me understand my father’s death from cancer more, and given me a glimpse into a pain beyond anything I have experienced or imagined.

Simone Kaho

 

Simone Kaho is an Auckland performance poet and a graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington. Lucky Punch, Simone’s first book, was launched November 2016. It bridges poetry and memoir as the narrator comes of age in New Zealand’s rich and confusing intersection of pacific and colonial culture. Simone has been interviewed on TV by Tagata Pasifika and will be featured in an upcoming Landfall.

 

The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize is now open for entries, closing March 2nd. Details here.

 

 

 

Sarah Broom Poetry Prize – Entries now open

SARAH BROOM POETRY PRIZE

The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize is New Zealand’s most valuable poetry prize and aims to recognise and financially support new work from an emerging or established New Zealand poet through a $10,000 award.

The prize was established in 2013 in honour of the New Zealand poet Sarah Broom (1972-2013), the author of Tigers at Awhitu (2010) and Gleam (2013).

Entries open on 6 February and close on 2 March 2017

The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize is now in its fourth year, and we are pleased again to be working together with the Auckland Writers Festival to showcase and celebrate New Zealand poetry. The prize will be announced at the Auckland Writers Festival in May 2017. Shortlisted poets will be invited to read their poetry at a dedicated poetry event at the Festival, where the winner will be announced.

The judge for the 2017 prize is Carol Ann Duffy. Duffy is Britain’s Poet Laureate and is the first woman in the role’s 400 year history. She is one of the most significant names in contemporary poetry and the author of books for children, plays and many celebrated poetry collections including Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award and the Forward Poetry Prize, The World’s Wife (1999), Love Poems (2010) and The Bees (2011). She has been awarded numerous awards and prizes for her work including the T.S Eliot Poetry Prize.

 

For more information about the prize and Sarah Broom see here.

For more information about the Auckland Writers Festival, which will be held from 16 – 21 May 2017, visit here.

 

HOW TO ENTER

The prize is awarded on the basis of an original collection of poems by a New Zealand resident or citizen. Entries will be accepted from from 6 February 2017 until 2 March 2017.

Poets are required to submit six to eight poems, of which at least five must be unpublished. The recipient of the prize will be announced in May 2017 at the Auckland Writers Festival. Shortlisted poets will be invited to attend a dedicated event and read from their work.

Entries should be emailed to poetryprize@sarahbroom.co.nz Any queries should be emailed to enquiries@sarahbroom.co.nz

 

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

1. Poets are required to submit six to eight poems of which at least five must be unpublished. 2. There is no maximum or minimum length – formatting and font size is your choice.
3. Entrants must be New Zealand permanent residents or citizens.
4. Only one entry per person will be accepted.

5. Entries must be the author’s original work. Any use of quotation must be acknowledged by attribution to its source.

6. Entries must be submitted as one electronic file per entrant, as an email attachment in Word or PDF format. No identifying details should be present in this poetry portfolio.

7. Your entry should also include a covering email with a brief personal statement, an indication of how you would use the award money, and contact details. These covering details are not provided to the judge.

8. The judge will assess the merits of submissions, and the Sarah Broom Poetry Trust reserves the right not to award a prize.

9. The prize recipient will be announced at the Auckland Writers Festival in May 2017 and in other appropriate publications.

10. No correspondence with the judge will be entered into.

11. The name and photograph of the prize recipient may be used by the Sarah Broom Poetry Trust for publicity purposes.

The judges for the 2015 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize

The judges for the 2015 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize are:

2015 GUEST JUDGE

2015 JUDGES

S HuntVona Groarke
Vona is an Irish poet. She has published six collections with Gallery Press, the latest being X, (2014), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Others include Spindrift (2010), Flight (2002) – which won the Michael Hartnett Award, and her translation from Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill’s eighteenth-century Irish, Lament for Art O’Leary (2008), which is currently being adapted as an opera by Irish composer, Irene Buckley. In the U.S., she publishes with Wake Forest University Press. Her poems have recently appeared in Yale Review, The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, The Guardian, The Times and Poetry Review. She teaches poetry in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester in the UK and is the editor of Poetry Ireland Review.
S RossSarah Ross, BA (Hons) Canterbury, MSt (Distinction) Oxford, DPhil Oxford
Sarah is a Senior Lecturer in English at Victoria University of Wellington. She specialises in early modern literature, poetry, and women’s writing, and she is the editor of Katherine Austen’s Book M (ACMRS, 2011) and the author of numerous articles on early modern women’s writing, poetry, and manuscript culture.

M GleissnerMichael Gleissner, LLB (Hons), MBA, CPA
Michael met Sarah in 1990 and they married in 1999 before moving to New Zealand. Michael is General Manager Corporate Strategy at the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. Previously he held Chief Financial Officer roles at Pacific Fibre and Sealord Group and various roles at Fonterra. Michael has also worked as a lawyer in London and Auckland. He is an avid supporter of the Arts, and shared a particular strong interest in poetry with Sarah. Michael lives in Auckland with his and Sarah’s three young children.

Kirsti Whalen makes a moving tribute to Sarah Broom

Kirsti has just posted this on her blog. She has the writing life within her, her mother would be proud, and as she took to the stage on Sunday, it shone out for us all.

In Memory of Sarah Broom

It was with a mild hangover and a brimming heart that I greeted the day following my first writers festival reading. I attended a great many luminous events, but read as part of the celebration of the inaugural Sarah Broom Poetry Prize.

I feel incredibly honoured to have been shortlisted for this very special award, especially alongside such distinguished poets as Emma Neale and C.K. Stead, the winner, to whom I offer my utmost, and sincere, congratulations.

This event held a special significance for me, in so many ways. Before I went on stage, my dad told me to do it for my mum, and to imagine her at the back of the room.

I lost my mum to cancer six years ago. Knowing how short these years feel only makes me more amazed at the courage of Sarah’s family and friends, creating this tribute to her life such a short time after she left it.

My mother was a staunch supporter of my writing, and in the diary I inherited after her death she stressed that she hoped I could find a life in which I wrote, above anything else. When I was informed that I had won the Katherine Mansfield Young Writers Award back in 2006, I remember clutching her hands and jumping up and down in the entrance of our old home, with shared excitement.

The submission that I sent for the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize was titled ‘i’m only here because she isn’t,’ a line from one of my poems. This statement is applicable to my both my mother and Sarah, two women who fought their cancer with incredible bravery, and both, in different ways, left a legacy of language.

See the rest of her blog here.

Emma Neale on being shortlisted for the Sarah Broom Poetry Award

This is a terrific piece of writing. Emma offers us a moving tribute to Sarah, her love of her poetry and a poem– amongst other things.

‘Now that I am settling down a bit from the giddy whirl of the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival, I want to repeat here how much admiration I have for Michael Gleissner and the other trust members who set up the Sarah Broom Award. To do this so soon after losing Sarah must have taken an enormous amount of energy and focus at a very raw and vulnerable time. I know from all the positive feedback and well-wishing I was lucky enough to receive even as a short-listee, that the wider poetry community has been highly aware of the award and the chance it offers to local poets.

It was a hoot to meet Sam Hunt at the session, and Kirsti Whalen showed really professional slam-background confidence. I’ve owned Sam’s poems since I was 13: though back then I didn’t have a clue what all the fuss about love and desire was. Adults seemed tortured by such bizarre emotions. Sam not only takes poetry to the people but also does a mean tap dance — look him up on YouTube. Also his interview on National Radio about the Sarah Broom Award is a marvellous recording. It’s the kind of radio that makes you forget how to multi-task. You just end up frozen in place, dishcloth at the window, struck in an attitude of intense distraction.’

See the rest of Emma Neale’s post here.

Sam Hunt recites a Sarah Broom poem to Kathryn Ryan

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Sam Hunt talks about the new Sarah Broom Poetry Award, recites a few poems in his magnificent, melodic way (one by Sarah and one by Seamus Heaney) and tells Kathryn that he always listens to poems first. So many New Zealand poets think the way a poem sounds is the first and crucial point — including me. Interesting interview!

Play it here.

Sarah Broom Poetry Award details here.

My post on Sarah here.

Sam Hunt web site here.

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