Tag Archives: Tuesday Poem

Tuesday Poem draws a circle after five years of poems – and what of my blogs?

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There are a number of unpaid people who work tirelessly and creatively to promote NZ books and authors.  I was sad to see the end of this wonderful project but completely understand that circles need to be drawn. Bravo on five wonderful years. We will miss you. Thanks Mary McCallum and the Tuesday Poem team.

Perhaps a fitting moment to salute Graham Beattie! Cheers for all your hard work! Wonderful!

Every December I face my blogs and question their survival – I assess the toll on me and my own writing. This year it seems worse as I need to protect time to write my big book in 2016/ 2017. Yet I can’t cope with the loss of the blogs. I see two black holes. Poetry gets so little attention in media in New Zealand whether for children and adults.

I can never review all the poetry books that come my way and that does not mean (as one anxious poet proposed) I do not love books I have not managed to feature. This is an anxiety for me at times.

To have so many poets respond to my recent letter to share  favourite reads, is a boost. It seems we have a vital poetry community that stretches beyond localised pockets.

On the one hand I want to reduce the time I spend on these blogs, but on the other hand I want to find ways to strengthen them. To widen the audience. To celebrate the length and breadth of poetry we produce. Hmm!


Happy Birthday (belatedly) to Tuesday Poem

Tuesday Poem recently celebrated their fourth birthday and this is how they did it (follow the link below to find the poems). Michelle Elvy sums the blog up on the birthday entry:


Today marks the fourth birthday of Tuesday Poem. 
The series began on April 13 2010 after a casual start with a bunch of poems on Mary McCallum’s blog O Audacious BookFrom there, the group migrated to this site and grew in contributors and mission. Each week a different Tuesday Poet takes a turn at editing the main page here — selecting a poem, getting permission to run it, and writing up a response. A personal choice and response each week, and many more opportunities to share poetry at members’ blogs as well (see sidebar, left). 

We celebrate poetry every week, but birthdays are special because each year in March/ April we build something collaboratively in one giant poetry celebration. Each of our ‘birthday poems’ has been unique in its blend of voices and rhythms. In 2011, the first birthday saw an ode to Tyr in honour of Tuesdays and the way we celebrate poetry; in 2012 we wrote a collaborative poem line-by-line, each poet building on the previous poet’s cadence and image; last year, we chose a jazzy riff as our theme, with participating poets contributing entire stanzas to a poem that unfolded over weeks in rhythm, repetition and syncopation. 

This year, we tried something a little different. We asked contributing poets to send a line that included something about either birthdays or food or both, and to send the line blind — that is, without seeing any other contributions. We gathered the lines one by one and rearranged them into a whole. We tried several different approaches but we finally settled on four small verses, each creating something special. It was much much harder than we imagined when we set out to paste these lines together — how to fit blue cake with a clarinetist’s curls, or fairy bread with the explosion of candles? In the end, these four vignettes fitted together to form what feels like a whole and including a birth and a light, a cake and a secret, a moment and a memory, and anticipation and celebration.

We hope you are as delighted as we are with how this experiment turned out. What fun to have such rich images to work with. What a pleasure to glue pieces together and watch this poetry page take shape — this line moved from there to here; this image matched with this sound.

I should also add the note that only one of the three editors working on this birthday poem knew the identity of the poets submitting, so it’s a special birthday surprise as well to see who has contributed such delicious morsels to this sweet feast. Thank you all!  

Michelle Elvy, TP Hub sub-editor, with Mary McCallum and Claire Beynon

Three plus one: Four poems for a birthday