Tag Archives: simone kaho

Poetry Shelf Audio Poem: Simone Kaho’s ‘UFO’

 

185870_192461794120533_5708862_n.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simone Kaho is a graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) in Wellington. She’s noted for her powerful stage presence and is an MC at Poetry Live, the 38-year-old weekly open mic event in Auckland. Simone’s first book, Lucky Punch, was launched in November 2016 to a warm reception from Metro, The Herald, Pantograph Punch and Landfall.

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket 2: Vaughan Rapatahana on Hera Lindsay Bird, Simone Kaho and Mere Taito

 

from Vaughan Rapatahana at Jacket 2:

 

‘Kia ora. Talofa lava. Malo. Greetings, once more.

I am honoured and humbled to continue to commentate on poetry and poets in Aotearoa New Zealand, which swerve away from so-called ‘traditional’ ways to write a poem and concomitantly, away from traditional topoi.

In this commentary, I will extend from my final commentary post of March 2016, which was entitled ‘Coda 2,’ although that title is obviously a misnomer, as this country just keeps on producing poets of great ability, with serious credentials and a willingness to  s t  r  e  t  c  h  the paramaters of what a poem is, should be.

So, I am privileged to here introduce three further women writers — Hera Lindsay Bird, Simone Kaho and Mere Taito. All have recently had published new collections of poetry: the ‘new’ in this commentary title refers to this aspect — for all three have been writing poetry for some time. For me, they are intelligent, rather intensely tremendous talents.

I think that I will here replicate what I wrote in that ‘Coda 2’ piece, as the sentiments are exactly the same —

All three fit, if you will, the parameters I claimed would establish the future direction of an increasingly multicultural country. None of them could be classified as pākehā middle-class poets and all tend towards the experimental and/or performance and/or indigenous striates of poetry. Significantly and obviously, all three are women. Theirs is the future of poetry in the skinny country of Aotearoa — inevitably, for as I have stressed several times previously — the demographic of Aotearoa is rapidly and rather radically on the move into major diversity.’

Full article here

 

See my reviews:

Hera Lindsay Bird

Simone Kaho

Mere Taito and a poem

 

 

 

Poets on Tour: Airini Beautrais and Maria McMillan take to the road, July 2017

Airini Beautrais and Maria McMillan have written up their poetry road trip. I am so hoping this becomes a thing – two poet friends on tour with new books.    

 

 

Flow_cover__41926.1492985261.jpg  The_Ski_Flier__98472.1493171166.jpg

both Victoria University Press, 2017

We’ve known each other since the early 2000s, and both of us have been writing poetry for even longer than that. Some common threads in our work include feminism, social justice, environmentalism, and an interest in the possibilities of form. Over a cup of tea one afternoon in Maria’s lounge we agreed that as we both had books coming out this year, we should go on tour. Maria had been working hard in non-poetry related paid gigs, Airini was battling some difficult personal circumstances, and some time on the road reading with other women poets seemed like just what the doctor (of creative writing) ordered.

Somehow the tour got planned amidst the mad mess of everyday life. Sarah Laing kindly agreed to let us use her drawings for promotional purposes. Airini made a DIY poster with the help of scissors, glue, wallpaper and blu-tack. The word went out. The car got packed.

 

On Friday 14 July Airini held a book launch for Flow: Whanganui River Poems, at the Whanganui regional museum. Maria was the main support act on the night, reading from her recently-released The Ski Flier (Airini had also read at Maria’s launch a month earlier). Jenny Bornholdt read a poem by Joanna Margaret Paul. Other local booklovers read some favourite Whanganui-linked poems. VUP publicist and talented novelist Kirsten McDougall gave a fantastic launch speech.

IMG_3930.JPG

Accidental ankh, Dannevirke

In the morning it was coffee, porridge and a quick trip to Whanganui’s famous SaveMart ‘The Mill’. Then onto the back roads of the Manawatu with a battered road atlas and smartphones which were largely ignored. We made it over the Pohangina Saddle, and lunched on launch leftovers in Dannevirke, where we discovered a church with a possibly accidental (we think maybe not) ankh – a perfect opportunity for posing with our books. On to Napier where it appeared we had entered a time warp. Airini’s dirty old Honda suddenly looked new alongside the vintage cars sweeping around the waterfront, driven by flappers and dapper gentlemen. The thought occurred to us that it was Deco weekend.

 

IMG_3937.JPG

Beattie and Forbes Booksellers with Marty and Emily

Beattie and Forbes Booksellers is a must-visit independent bookstore near the sea in Napier. They opened up on a Saturday evening so we could read, with Marty Smith and Emily Dobson. Old friends and new turned up, along with members of local poetry groups. It seems that anywhere you go in New Zealand, there’ll be a poetry group of some sort, and a reading will draw at least some of them out of the woodwork. A highlight of the evening was Emily reading a poem owing a debt to her young daughter, called ‘Thea’s ‘gina song,’ which ended ‘It’s a ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-BAGINA!’ Both Marty and Emily are accomplished poets and readers and it was a privilege to read alongside them.

 

IMG_3941.JPG

Maria at Waiomu Cafe

 

Sunday 16th we set off from Marty’s picturesque country house, on our big drive through to Thames. The roads had opened, but were still lined with snow.  We made it to our reading at Waiomu Beach Café with five minutes to spare. The café is in a beautiful spot and draws in regulars driving around the Coromandel coastal road. It’s run by Maria’s cousin Julie, who was an amazing host. Airini also met some extended family members at the reading. More FM were there, and interviewed us. We read in the outdoor courtyard, adjusting our volume according to the passing traffic. Over the road, a cop issued speeding tickets. A kereru landed in a tree alongside. We posed for more book photos under the pohutukawa, took Julie’s dog for a walk, and enjoyed the scenery.

 

IMG_3968.JPG

The Big House, Parnell with Tulia and Emma

Thames seems like the kind of place one could stay in forever, but on Monday morning we carried on to Auckland.  We parked the car and went to hear a reading at the Auckland Art Gallery with Steve Toussaint, Simone Kaho, Elizabeth Morton, Johanna Emeney and Michael Morrissey. Everyone read well, but a disgruntled audience member booed, hissed and heckled during question time at the end. Chair Siobhan Harvey did an excellent job of shouting him down. We looked at each other and wondered if this was how poetry readings always went in Auckland. But our reading that evening at the Big House in Parnell, with Simone Kaho and Tulia Thompson, was a very warm and homely affair. Many of the house’s 25 occupants joined us by the fire to listen and talk, and housemate Emma also read some of her poems with us.

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Airini at Poetry Live, Auckland

 

Tuesday night’s gig was Poetry Live, at the Thirsty Dog on K Road. Like the Big House, Poetry Live is an institution that’s been going for decades. We were lucky to be there for the farewell to regular MC Kiri Piahana-Wong. There was a great turnout and the venue and audience were friendly and welcoming. We read by turns in our guest poet slot, feeling like proper rockstars against the backdrop of a drum kit and stage lighting.

By Wednesday we were tired, and ready to head home. We stopped for tea and toasted sandwiches in the Pink Cadillac diner in Turangi. We parted ways at the Desert Road, after which Maria had some variable hitchhiking experiences, and Airini zig-zagged back and forth around the mountains navigating road closures. We’d had a great time and were looking forward to the second leg.

IMG_3994.JPG

Vic Books in Wellington with Pip and Freya

 

The next leg kicked off on Friday 28 July with a lunchtime reading at Vic Books. We were joined by superstars Pip Adam, reading from her brand spanking new The New Animals, and Freya Daly Sadgrove, whose poetry is performative and highly entertaining. Maria read her poem, inspired by Pip, ‘In which I attain unimaginable greatness,’ in which the narrator attains superhero powers, achieves amazing feats, and at the end declares ‘This is how I begin. This is my first day.’

 

IMG_4001.JPG

Palmerston North with Helen and Jo

Palmerston North City Library on Saturday evening was possibly the highlight of the tour. The library is a great place to read, hosting numerous literary events throughout the year. The big windows feature poems by local Leonel Alvarado, and pedestrians have a way of peering in through the letters, wondering what’s going on in there. We’d decided on a dress up theme of ‘80s trash with our fabulous co-readers Helen Lehndorf and Jo Aitchison, which got us some funny looks in New World, but definitely improved our performances. Helen’s hair was particularly spectacular. We had a small crowd but a great vibe. A kebab and whisky party kept us awake until the wee small hours.

 

IMG_4009.JPG

Maria at Hightide Cafe

Helen’s chickens laid us our breakfast, and we revived ourselves with bottomless pots of tea. Maria’s superpowers became evident when she managed to drive us safely to our last gig, Poets to the People at Hightide Café in Paraparaumu. The sun was setting over Kāpiti as we drank coffee and listened to the open mike. Again, this is an event that’s been running for years, and there’s a sense the regulars know and love one another. We went home to a beautiful roast cooked by Maria’s partner Joe. The tour was over, but the fight continues! We had some great conversations in the car over those two weeks, and some good catch-ups with family and friends along the way. There was a lot of fighting talk, a lot of laughter and also a few tears. A big part of the tour was affirming ourselves as poets, mothers and radical women, and by the end of it, our unimaginable greatness was hard to deny.

 

Airini Beautrais and Maria McMillan, September 2017

 

 

my conversation with Airini

my review of The Ski Flier

VUP page for Airini

VUP page for Maria

 

 

 

 

20/20 May Poets: A Phantom Billstickers Poetry Day celebration

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 8.38.20 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-05-25 at 8.38.40 AM.png

 

Alison Wong and Chris Tse

Apirana Taylor and Kiri Piahana Wong

Vincent O’Sullivan and Lynley Edmeades

Paula Green and Simone Kaho

Jenny Bornholdt and Ish Doney

 

This terrific project forms a little poetry reading house where you enter the rooms off the side and you don’t know what you will find. There is a vitality and a freshness as established and emerging poets and those in-between come together in poem conversations. Love it! (I am part of it but no idea how the poetry house would unfold)

 

 

Jesse Mulligan and Simone Kaho in conversation (in case you missed it because it is excellent!)

13 Mar 2017

Poetry: Lucky Punch by Simone Kaho

Auckland poet, Simone Kaho, is from New Zealand and Tongan ancestry. She earned her MA in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her poetry has been published in journals such as JAAM, Turbine, and The Dominion Post. She joins Jesse to read from her book Lucky Punch.

Lucky Punch, Simon Kaho

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

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.