Tag Archives: Vaughan rapatahana

Poetry Shelf noticeboard: at Jacket 2 – Vaughan Rapatahana on Kiwi Asian women poets

 

in a few months, i will fly

away from these streets, out of

skin. in a few months, i will spend

two new years in vegetable markets

and watching lazy susans

spin our chipped china plates around.

 

from ‘Ancestors’ by Joanna Li

 

This is an excellent post (part one of two) by Vaughan on a cluster of Kiwi Asian women poets: Vanesssa Crofsky, Wen-Juenn Lee, Joanna Li, Renee Liang, Aiwa Pooamorn and Nina Powles.

 

Here is a taste of the introduction:

I was completing a chapter in the forthcoming 2019 book, English in the South, edited by Kyria Finardi and published by Eduel, Brazil, when I thought that I really must write a commentary regarding the influx of young Asian poets, who were born in Aotearoa New Zealand, or have arrived to live here for long periods. Why? Because my chapter is entitled Confronting the English language Hydra in Aotearoa New Zealand and bemoans the lack of recognition given to Asian languages in the country because of the domination of English language exponents and their monolingual expectations, and the concomitant definite lack of deference to Asian peoples per se — despite the fact they will be the second largest cultural demographic here by 2026.

This resolve further strengthened when I read poems in a chapbook provided me by Renee Liang, and entitled Tasting Words (2017) — in which there was considerable strong emotion displayed by these younger New Zealand women poets, of Asian heritage. The excellent Poetry Shelf postings, which Paula Green so wonderfully provides, further highlighted other poets, whom I had not been aware of, or insufficiently aware of. This is no arbitrarily superimposed grouping either, because their voices and verse are distinct. They need to be heard.

More than this, my own family, which is Asian (Chinese and Filipina), was forced to learn English —  or not (!) when at school in both Hong Kong SAR and Philippines — while I have observed them somewhat caught between cultures at times. When they came to live in this, the skinny country of New Zealand, they were compelled to adjust. (Just as I tried to do when living in Brunei Darussalam, PR China, and Hong Kong SAR for so many years, in a sort of reverse diaspora. In fact, I spend considerable time in Asia nowadays and feel more comfortable there, by the way.)

 

Full post here

Poetry in Multicultural Oceania 2 – a teaching resource for Years 6 to 9

 

 

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Poetry in Multicultural Oceania Book 2

edited by Vaughan Rapatahana, Essential Resource, 2018

 

‘mountains once roamed/ this land’  Apirana Taylor

 

Vaughan Rapatahana has edited a second collection of poems with associated activities to encourage the reading and writing of poetry and to further develop a student’s multicultural awareness. Vaughan is committed to drawing upon diverse poetry voices: Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika, Aboriginal Australian, Asian.

This issue includes: Mere Taito, Renee Liang, Apirana Taylor, Gregory Kan, Alan Jeffries, Simone Kaho, Paula Green, Michelle Cahill, Reihana Robinson, Alison Wong, Serie Barford, Michele Leggott, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Iain Britton, Makyla Curtis, Lionel Fogarty, Shasha Ali.

Each section includes the poem, a warm-up, focus on vocabulary, tips on reading aloud, consideration of the language and layout, questions to explore understandings and evaluations, followup suggestions.

The subjects are wide ranging but generally attached to identity issues.

 

I love the way this book will expose new and familiar poets to students and teachers and offer accessible and stimulating entries into poems. Bravo Vaughan for continuing to celebrate local poetry. This is an essential resource.

 

‘I am told that the wai of who/ is the water of our veins’  Makyla Curtis

 

Vaughan Rapatahana commutes between Hong Kong SAR, the Philippines and Aotearoa New Zealand. He is widely published in several genres in Māori, English and other languages.  His latest poetry collection is ternion (erbacce-press, Liverpool, England). Vaughan has a PhD in existential philosophy from the University of Auckland. Vaughan has written commentaries for Jacket2 (University of Pennsylvania), including a 2015–2016 series and a new series currently in progress.

 

Essential Resource page

 

 

 

At Jacket 2: Vaughan Rapatahana and Tusiata Avia – poems and conversation

 

 

Full piece here

Vaughan Rapatahana’s interview with Tusiata Avia  – with a generous serving of poems – is unmissable. Here is just one question that got me musing:

 

Would you define yourself as a Kiwi poet having a perspective that is different than the ‘normal’/mainstream (i.e. generally, Pākehā New Zealander) one? If so, how so?

It’s a funny old thing defining myself. Certainly other people: reviewers, academics, and the like define me as different to the mainstream, but in my experience they like to use their pegs to stake me out in a certain shape. It would be disingenuous to say I wasn’t (different to the Pākehā mainstream) but the defining always makes me squirm. I get really uncomfortable with the binary of mainstream and other. I don’t like being other. Or othered.

My good friend Hinemoana Baker once said something along the lines of: I reserve the right to be what ever it is I am feeling at the time. I think she was quoting someone else — but it was in reference to being of mixed heritage. The point being, right at the moment, as I write this I don’t feel like claiming the Pasifika space, the Samoan space, the mixed heritage space or the Kiwi space. As a poet/ writer, there is a much broader space I can move about in.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Shelf audio spot: Vaughan Rapatahana’s Te Henga

 

 

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Vaughan Rapatahana continues to write and to live across three countries. Several new books in different genre are due out soon in Hong Kong SAR, Aotearoa New Zealand, France, United Kingdom. Thank you also for this opportunity.

 

Poetry Shelf review of Ternion

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket 2: Vaughan Rapatahana in conversation with Bob Orr

 

Full piece and a few poems here

 

Bob Orr has been a well-regarded New Zealand poet for several decades, having eight collections of poetry produced to date, with a new collection due out soon. He is also rather different to so many ‘modern’ poets, in that he has always paddled his own poetic waka (or canoe) in and through his own currents. Oaring across his own ocean, if you will.

Bob never completed any tertiary education. He never attended any  university ‘creative writing’ classes in an endeavour to craft his poetry ‘better.’ Up until very recently, when he was the 2017 University of Waikato Writer in Residence, he eschewed any applications for literary grants. He rarely, if ever, uses a computer to write with or on — he doesn’t even have an email address. Indeed, he continues to write with an old style ribbon-fed typewriter. Bob Orr is a bit of a Luddite — all of which ensures that his stream of poetry flows deep from his heart and mind and is never obfuscated by the trends, tropes, and trivialities of the latest poetic fad. Like another key New Zealand poet, Sam Hunt, Bob Orr has always remained a people’s poet, by which I mean, a writer who keeps it simple, who never overreaches into pretentiousness and amorphous cleverdickism.

 

At Jacket 2: Vaughan Rapatahana talks to expatriate poets John Gallas, Blair Reeve and Orchid Tierney

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‘As I strive to spread out any potential ingrained clench as to what makes for Kiwi poetry, any Kiwi poetic, away from ‘mainstream’ clutches that demand ‘appropriate’ ways of writing, presenting and publishing a poem, in this commentary I take into consideration what three expatriate Kiwi (aka Aotearoa New Zealand) writers think/reflect about Kiwi poetry from afar.

All three are themselves poets of note and all three certainly widen the avenues away from the tarsealed main road of poetry in New Zealand, precisely because they are overseas: outside, looking back in from the perspective of physical distance and the concomitant cultural capital involved. After initially establishing their overseas locale and history there, I asked them all the same simple questions regarding Kiwi poetry, as follows.’

Full article here

 

 

 

 

 

At Jacket 2: Vaughan Rapatahana interviews Robert Sullivan and includes new poems

Vaughan Rapatahana’s interview here

 

What would you like to see more of in Aotearoa poetry from your point of view as a poet? In other words is there sufficient recognition, publishing scope, critical space given to poets who craft their work in ‘different’ ways?

I’d love to see new voices find publication from a wide range of styles and personal backgrounds so that we reflect our diverse community in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, and beyond to be as inclusive as possible. Poets have never had greater access to media and to publishing than now, although our mainstream publishers no longer have deep pockets. It’s always a writer’s task to convince, or make curious, or satisfy, or entertain a readership, and it’s a lyric poet’s task to evoke the particulars of being and a sense of the flow state that created the feelings attached to being ‘somewhere’ at the time. A poem might be on the fridge next to a flat roster, or on the edge of a windswept cliff facing the ghosts of Kapiti Island. There are so many other kinds of poetry I wouldn’t know where to begin, except to encourage that too.

 

Paula: I am dead keen to see a new book of poetry – love the new ones.