31 July 2008

Sharon Olds

I just wanted to share with you a link to this interview I stumbled upon with American poet Sharon Olds, which was in the Guardian. I found it really interesting, especially her humbleness – she’s one of the most well-known poets of our time (at least in the US), but she says: ‘As for feeling my work is an achievement - there are little passages, maybe 15 of them, like a line and a half each, that I really like.’

She also says:

‘I think for me the impulse to write has to do with making something, with capturing, recording, preserving, honouring, saving - or not turning away from, if it's a ghastly human thing one is driven to write about.’ And what does it offer the reader? She laughs. ‘Well . . . companionship. And pleasure: musical pleasure, in hearing it - and, to the inner ear, in reading it on the page. And recognition: “Someone else has felt what I've felt.” And surprise: “I never thought of that.” Reading poems can give us information about emotional states, or subjects, give us virtual experience which may be very different from our own. Yes! Maybe this is it! I think that the arts are for showing us ourselves -
including what's dangerous about us - holding a mirror up to nature.’
Have any of you read much of Sharon Olds’s work? I’ve read everything that is in Wellington Public Library – which isn’t much. Actually, that’s a lie, because while I started reading The Father, I couldn’t finish reading it. It just repulsed me. It’s about watching her father die of cancer. It was just too much for me.

But I really, really loved The Wellspring, and I think it’s been a really important book for me. It reads like a sort of autobiography, starting with the narrator’s parents, and then tracing through her life. I’m a bit hesitant to definitely identify the narrator with the poet, because she herself keeps a bit of distance there.

Olds is particularly known for her poetry about sex – she writes with an honesty that some people think borders on pornographic. What I have read so far has just been truthful, honest and real.

Note to self, read more of Sharon Olds’s poetry.

27 July 2008

My Iron Spine update

Publication edges closer!

As I mentioned earlier, My Iron Spine is going to be launched at the second of three Winter Readings, on 28 August. Soon after (date not yet confirmed) we'll be having another launch party, hopefully in the Arts Centre Gallery.

Tim Jones was kind enough to include the cover of My Iron Spine in a list of 'likeable things' (along with Sean's blog), which was lovely. We've since slightly changed the cover - this is the new version. The title needed to stand out a bit more, and now the text creates a sort of spinal column. I also like that, because the text is left justified rather than centred, it feels just slightly off balance.

And now My Iron Spine even has a back cover blurb:

The things that give us strength are often the same things that suffocate or cage us.

Empress Elisabeth’s iron spine was her corset, tightly laced, constricting her but giving her backbone. Reclusive poet Emily Dickinson found caged comfort in her room. Ada Byron’s mother tried corseting her with numbers, to counteract the madness she may have inherited from her father.

Other characters in the poems of Helen Rickerby’s new collection My Iron Spine, including the poet herself, find ‘iron spines’ in family, love, society, isolation, religion, knowledge and radiation.

The first section weaves an autobiographical narrative, while the second exquisitely brings to life the stories and voices of women from history. The two combine in the final section, where the poet sunbathes with Joan of Arc, goes swimming with Virginia Woolf and parties with Katherine Mansfield.

The poems in this original and playful collection resonate and connect with each other, building a coherent whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Helen Rickerby’s first collection, Abstract Internal Furniture (HeadworX 2001), was described as ‘an avant-garde, indoor garden full of strange images and intriguing ideas where things turn topsy-turvy’ (Harvey McQueen, New Zealand Books). She was a co-founder, and now co-managing editor, of JAAM magazine, and runs the small publishing company Seraph Press. She lives in Wellington, where she is employed as an editor.

23 July 2008

If fonts were people

Most writer-types, which I suspect more of my readers are, have a bit of a thing for fonts. I wouldn't go so far as to say that we're 'font geeks', but we certainly know fonts (or possibly typefaces - I once knew the distinction, but then I forgot again), and know what we like. If that sounds like you, you'll enjoy this fabulous little movie, Font Conference.

The only thing I thought they got wrong is Old English (he should have been a monk or something). Century Gothic and Futura are my favs.

20 July 2008

Poetry is like fashion: one day you’re in, the next you’re out

I’m not talking here about poets in the poetry scene, though that may also be the case, I’m talking about individual poems in my collection My Iron Spine, which is finally ready for publication (I think).

Since I first assembled the collection, I’ve slowly been removing poems. Generally I think things can be improved by stripping back, and so, after reflection and feedback, I’ve taken out about six or seven poems.

The last decision was yesterday. After some feedback, I’d come to suspect that the middle section (which contains biographical poems, many of them quite long) might be too long. As you might expect, I want to try to make it the best book I can, so I had a good look at that section, and considered which poems I could bear to cut. After more discussion, I narrowed it down to one five-page poem, and then agonised for a few days.

The poem is called ‘The Happiness of Mary Shelly’, and is in the voices of Mary Shelly, Victor Frankenstein, and the monster from Frankenstein. I see it as a kind of triptych of voices – they take turns to speak, often about similar things, echoing each other. So it’s kind of about the themes from the novel, and interlinking them with themes from Mary’s own life – and kind of seeing the other two as aspect of her. I’m very fond of it, but have always felt slightly unsure about it.

Last week I wavered back and forth about keeping it in, taking it out. I think it’s pretty good, it belongs there, versus it’s long, I could rework it a bit to make it better (especially after Steve read it and suggested something about Victor’s relationship with his father), it’s kind of in the wrong place anyway (I’m trying to keep it away from another, short, poem about Mary Shelly).

Yesterday morning, while checking my proofs against the originals, (yes, it is very late in the process!) I looked at the poem before ‘The Happiness of Mary Shelly’, and the poem after, and realised they work well next to each other – the ‘envious light’ of ‘Marie Curie’, is echoed in the first lines of ‘Elizabeth Siddal’: ‘His light/hits the side of my face’.

And so it was decided; ‘The Happiness of Mary Shelly’ is out. I hope to find another home for her in the future – perhaps in a series of poems about fiction and fictional characters (I already have a couple about Mina Harker from Dracula – she’s so cool!).

And now My Iron Spine is one step closer to publication!

19 July 2008

Happy belated poetry day!

So yesterday was Montana (the NZ wine brand rather than the US state) Poetry Day. Unfortunately, I failed to do very much poetry-related, except continue to agonise over whether to take a poem out of My Iron Spine or not (still agonising), but I did publish this blog post about poetry on Te Ara.

Itwas also the day they announced the winner of the poetry section of the Montana Book Awards, which was Janet Charman for Cold Snack. I haven’t yet read Cold Snack, but I’ve generally enjoyed Charman’s work. The other finalists were Johanna Aitchison for A Long Girl Ago and Fiona Farrell for The Pop-up Book of Invasions.

16 July 2008

Word Collective events

Wellington poetry events info from the Word Collective:

Kia ora Spoken Word Whanau

A couple of updates:

Newtown library is hosting a spoken word evening this Friday July 18

"Read your own or someone else's"

Call Monty Masseurs (whata poetic name!) at the library for more info

Belfast Touring Poets
Monday 28th July

You may remember these hep cats from a Howltearoa show last year - they are big on the Poetry against Racism Kaupapa and are great performers. Apparently they want some Word Collective whanau to get up and speak and are keen to catch up with us before or after to nut out some ideas, re: World Domination or some such folly.

And of course if you need your weekly fix of spoken word, don't forget one of Wgtn's longest running open mics, at a new venue:

Poetry Studio is a weekly open mic poetry venue. Established in April 2004, it has happened every Sunday since then. It now runs from 3 til 5 pm at 128 Abel Smith Street. It's a relaxed gathering where you can listen to poetry of all shapes and sizes, or have a go at performing poetry yourself. Come along! Gold coin koha.

Get along and tell Steve Booth you heard about it from the Word Collective and he'll look after you!


13 July 2008

Anne Carson's 'The glass essay'

As promised in my previous post, to help out the folks who stumble upon my blog looking for help with the essays on Anne Carson's long poem The glass essay, I'm posting my piece I wrote about it, which was originally published in the New Zealand Poetry Society magazine, A Fine Line (May 2008).

The Glass Essay, by Anne Carson

Three silent women at the kitchen table.
My mother’s kitchen is dark and small but out the window
there is the moor, paralyzed with ice.
It extends as far as the eye can see

over flat miles to a solid unlit white sky.
Mother and I are chewing lettuce carefully.
The kitchen wall clock emits a ragged low buzz that jumps

once a minute over the twelve.
I have Emily p. 216 propped open on the sugarbowl
but am covertly watching my mother.

A thousand questions hit my eyes from the inside.
My mother is studying her lettuce.
I turn to p. 217.

“In my flight through the kitchen I knocked over Hareton
who was hanging a litter of puppies
from a chairback in the doorway. . . .”

It is as if we have all been lowered into an atmosphere of glass.
Now and then a remark trails through the glass.
Taxes on the back lot. Not a good melon,

too early for melons.

[. . . ]

Out the window I can see dead leaves ticking over the flatland
and dregs of snow scarred by pine filth.
At the middle of the moor

where the ground goes down into a depression,
the ice has begun to unclench.
Black open water comes

curdling up like anger. My mother speaks suddenly.
That psychotherapy’s not doing you much good is it?
You aren’t getting over him.

My mother has a way of summing things up.
She never liked Law much
but she liked the idea of me having a man and getting on with life.

Well he’s a taker and you’re a giver I hope it works out,
was all she said after she met him.
Give and take were just words to me

at the time. I had not been in love before.
It was like a wheel rolling downhill.
But early this morning while mother slept

and I was downstairs reading the part in Wuthering Heights
where Heathcliff clings at the lattice in the storm sobbing
Come in! Come in! to the ghost of his heart’s darling,

I fell on my knees on the rug and sobbed too.
She knows how to hang puppies,
that Emily.

Rather than quote the whole of The Glass Essay, I’ve quoted a couple of representative chunks from it – the whole thing is almost 45 pages long, so too long to quote here. But you can read it online at www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=178364, or in Carson’s book Glass, Irony and God.

The Glass Essay is my favourite poem and has been since I first read it in 2005. I’m sure I won’t be able to encapsulate all of the reasons why I love it so much, but I’m going to have a go at unpicking some of them.

The Glass Essay is a narrative poem, though not all that much actually happens. The narrator goes to visit her aging mother. She reads work by Emily Brontë, her favourite author, who she fears she may be turning into. She wanders on the moors feeling bad about being left by her lover. She and her mother visit her father, who has Alzheimers, in a rest home. By the end, the narrator seems to have undergone some kind of emotional healing.

Told like that, the story doesn’t sound like much, but don’t be fooled. It’s all in the way it’s written, and it’s written with language so cool and clear, it’s like the glass of the title. It doesn’t have the intense, full-of-images language of some poems, but it isn’t like prose either; it’s richer, and more cut-back and careful. There are some images in it of course, a simile here: ‘Black open water comes/curdling up like anger’; a metaphor there: ‘A thousand questions hit my eyes from the inside’.

For a poem that deals with such emotional subjects, it has a very cool, detached tone. Actually, I think it’s partly because of that distance that the poem can deal with strong emotion; I have a theory that poetry can turn the most heartfelt emotions into the most banal clichés unless you’re very careful. This narrator isn’t gushy. She tells us plainly, ‘I fell on my knees on the rug and sobbed too’, and then immediately undercuts it with a bite of humour: ‘She knows how to hang puppies,/that Emily.’

Certainly, this is a long poem, but for a little while after reading it, I find that in comparison ordinary-length poems seem pinched and ungenerous. Unsatisfying. Of course, there is a lot to be said for paring poems back, and usually I’m all in favour of it; but I find the length of The Glass Essay gives it space to consider things slowly, time to lead you places. Space for you to breathe.

Another thing that gives you space to breathe is the white space between the short stanzas. The poem is predominantly arranged into three-line stanzas, with the occasional variation for emphasis. And I’ve just this minute realised that each of the nine sections of the poem begin and end with a four-line stanza, acting as bookends.

The short stanzas work to pen in the words and emotions, keeping them in check. They stop the long poem from running away with itself. In my own work, I had previously avoided any kind of formal structure, preferring to let the stanzas grow and end organically. But this poem taught me the value of short, regular stanzas, which I’ve been experimenting with in my own work. And, following on from this, I’ve recently discovered that pretty much anything sounds much more profound if you put it in couplets. Give it a try sometime!

I’ve found that I like my literature to be educational. I enjoyed learning about New Orleans when reading Queen of Beauty, by Paula Morris, and the only benefit I think I gained from Moby Dick was an increased understanding of the business of whaling. The Glass Essay gave me new insights into the life and work of Emily Brontë, with its dabblings in literary criticism. It introduces us not only to Wuthering Heights, but also to her poems and what other critics say about her and her work.

The final reason I love The Glass Essay is because it inspires me. It was either during or immediately after reading this poem that I sat down and wrote my own Emily Brontë poem, ‘Passion’. The idea for it had been sloshing around in my head for some time, but I hadn’t known how to write it. Reading The Glass Essay unlocked something, and it just poured out.

12 July 2008

Scandal in Montana and Google Analytics

So late the-week-before-last, I was surprised to discover that 101 people had looked at my blog in one day. This is quite a lot, compared to my usual daily audience of about 10-20ish (which I’m very happy with). How on earth did these extra people find me?

Turns out they were mostly coming to my post about the book awards furore, and they were mostly coming from Ron Silliman’s popular poetry blog. In a long list of various links he’d included one that said ‘The scandal in Montana’. So I’m sure many of the people who clicked it were expecting to find some kind of sex expose in the US state, and were probably very disappointed to discover that it was just some little book awards thing in New Zealand. Nevertheless, I was terribly excited to have had so many visitors.

The reason I know how many people look at my blog, and how they get there, is through Google Analytics, a handy wee thing that tracks your blog (and/or website) stats. It doesn’t tell me who my visitors are, or anything so creepy as that; but it does tell me how many visitors I've had, where they are geographically (the most specific you get is by city), how they got there (ie referring sites) and, if they got there via a search engine, what their search terms were.

I find it childishly exciting to see that I’ve had readers from cities I’ve never even heard of, it parts of the world like Japan, US, South America, the Middle East. Even if they never come back, it’s still quite exciting.

It’s also been interesting to learn what people who get to Winged Ink via search engines are looking for. I recently wrote a post on my work blog (Signposts: a blog about Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand) about some of the most amusing search terms people used to get to it. Some my particular favs were ‘4 jocks surfer fight’, ‘obscene signposts competing for love with another suitor’ and ‘hot women around foxton’. I think those searchers would have gone away empty-handed from Signposts.

People who get to Winged Ink via search engines mostly have much more sensible and understandable search terms, like ‘poetry’, ‘book awards novel’, ‘jaam’ and ‘putting together a poetry manuscript’. Some people are actually even looking for my blog: ‘winged ink’, ‘helen rickerby’.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people (North American students I think) seem to be looking for stuff to help with essays about poets I’ve written about, especially Anne Sexton and Anne Carson. For you, I plan to republish a piece I wrote about Anne Carson for the Poetry Society Newsletter. I'm, of course, quite sure you won't rip it off for your essay, and will rather use it as a jumping off point for your own thoughts.

However, there are a few oddish search terms that people have used to get to Winged Ink, which might amuse:

  • china special ink for decal paper omnipotent
  • digital printing on concrete
  • discipline corset fainting stories
  • essay on my favourite poem [how would I know what your favourite poem is?!]
  • quiz to see what i am going to be when im older.

05 July 2008

Empress Elisabeth

I mentioned this poem in an earlier post - it's about Empress Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary, aka Elisabeth of Bavaria. So far, it's the longest poem I've ever written. It's going to be in My Iron Spine, taking up rather a lot of pages, but I'm extremely fond of it. It also contains the line 'my iron spine', from which I have taken my title.

Empress Elisabeth
Elisabeth Wittelsbach, Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary

Possenhofen, Bavaria

‘But you have to play my way
My father is a duke
yours just keeps our pigs’
But Gretel wailed
‘I don’t want to play with you anymore’
as she ran off through the corn field
and wouldn’t come back
until I said I was sorry

Papa laughed, as he always did
and tickled me under my arms
Mama sighed and sadly said
‘You should be playing with princesses’

Cousin Emperor

I was planning to run away to the circus
but Mama said, ‘Why don’t you come
to Bad Ischl instead? We are
going to marry your sister
to an emperor, she always was
the prettiest’

We arrived in our travelling clothes
my hair a thick plait heavy
between my shoulder blades
Helene smiles her sweetest smile
There are more people in the room
than I have ever seen

‘Is that the emperor?
But where is his grey hair?
This man has too much sparkle
in his eyes, is too handsome
Why does he keep looking at me?’

Helene won’t speak to me today
but Mama is happy, she says
‘One daughter is as good as another’


In the looking glass
is a bride
I wonder who she is
and what they’ve done with me

Through the carriage windows
every pair of eyes
burns into me
and Archduchess Aunt Sophie snaps
that she thanks God
I am wearing a veil
Do I want the whole country to know
that their empress is a cry baby?
I dig my fingernails
into my palms

Emperor Franzi,
Cousin Franzi, Husband Franzi
alone with you at last
What is it you are doing?
Why ...?
Don’t, no,
stop, please...

‘Have you made me an heir?’
Mother-in-law Aunt Sophie leers

I sleep with the lights on
In this city of millions
I have never been alone before

Mother of the country

I think I am getting fat
I stop eating
‘That’s my grandchild’
says Aunt Archduchess
‘Eat up’

‘I’m so happy,’ says Emperor Husband
and holds me tight against
his warm shoulder
‘Mama says you mustn’t run
mustn’t fall
you know how much she loves you’

She took my babies away from me
one by one
They said I was fragile
I should rest
I should save my strength
So I hoard it and plan my escape


New shoes everyday sounds
like a fantasy, but I am drowning
in jewelled boots, velvet
slippers, delicate leather, fine fur
I feel them crushing against my rib
cage, pushing me down
under the deluge

And after all, I have only
two feet to stand on

Patrician ladies, old enough
to be my grandmama, get
down on their arthritic knees
and kiss my hand
with their brittle lips
I blush red
Last year they would not
have troubled to notice me

Crowning glory

I can’t fit another circlet
even if I wished it
but there is no need

Braids wind and snake
about my head
the colour of leaves in
late autumn

Everyday my tresses
are brushed and dressed
twisted and smoothed
and for hours I sit
while Fanny works her magic
She once curled the locks
of the finest actresses, until
I lured her
with the wages of a professor
She is worth every cent

Every three weeks is washing day
I lie back in a low chair
Fanny applies potions and oils
she massages, moistens, rinses
Today she favours cognac and eggs

‘Your mane eats more
than you do,’ she jokes

Once, when I was alone
I let my hair free
and it waterfalled
to my ankles
I wrapped it around me
a cloak more natural
than royal robes

One night of Venus, a life-time of mercury

The whispers reach even me
and I swell with his betrayal

He whimpers outside my door
I nurse my tight joints, will not see him

I slip through his guilty fingers
to Corfu, I breathe, I recover

And see now, I am alone
on this island surrounded by sharks


There are too many hours
in each day
but I fill them

When I walk out
no one can keep up with me
I leave them all behind
at last

I hang
with the power of my own hands
from rings in midair
I lift and swing
feeling the satisfying stretch
of muscle beneath my skin

And the moment I am sewn
into my riding habit
I become a centaur
No fence is too high
no bank too steep
no mount too wild
I bare my teeth and eat my fear

Most beautiful woman in Europe

I have an album
of the faces of women
Postcards, photos
of queens, princesses
and actresses
the new aristocrats

These are my rivals
I compare myself
with each one, eye for eye
mouth for mouth

little mirrors

I am still the fairest
of them all

Hungarian victory

My enemy’s enemy
is my friend

‘The revolting Hungarians
are revolting again’
yawns Archduchess Sophie
My sudden interest in politics
surprises even me

I slip their language
onto my tongue to antagonise
the archduchess, the Viennese
but quickly I learn to love
it and them
their wildness, like mine

I have little left
of my Emperor Husband
but still I have his ear
‘Emperor Franzi, Husband Franzi
we are proud people
you must set us free’

My solution
is another coronation
a double kingdom
we are no longer
only emperor and empress but now
king and queen of Hungary
I am one of their own

My greatest triumph


My poor beloved cousin
Bavarian king
drowned, sunk beneath your swans
Mad King Ludwig they called you
and it was true
and your blood runs through my veins
your poisoned, rabid blood
‘Lace me up tight Marie
tightly tighter’
My sturdy backbone
my iron spine

I study the looking glass
and before my eyes
my face crepes and wrinkles
wizens and shrinks
‘Mirror mirror,’ she no longer
speaks to me

I ban all photographers


On the voyage I made them lash me
to the mast
so I could be swallowed
by the storm and spat out

Once I was Tatania
Queen of the Fairies
in love with a man
with the head of an ass
but no longer

Now I am Odysseus
who, in truth, was not travelling
to return to his home
he was travelling
to stay away

Luigi Lucheni

He had not met me
He didn’t even hate me
But Prince Henri of Orleans
had already left Geneva and
‘One royal is as good as another’
he said

My surprise, when he bumped me
was for his insolence
I didn’t notice the pang
of his sharpened file
entering my heart

‘Hurry up Marie
quickly, faster’
And we made it to the ferry
before I fainted on the deck

Swan song

In my father’s house
there are many rooms
and in each room there
are many draughts and
we keep ourselves warm
by dancing all night but oh
how worn my dancing shoes

04 July 2008

Howltearoa, Monday 7 July

From the Word Collective:

This is another announcement to inform you that HOWLTEAROA will again be taking place at Southern Cross this Monday the 7th of July from 7:30pm.

Brave the winter night and warm your soul with some of Wellington's finest poetry and spoken word.

All are welcome to contribute, be it with verse, song, limerick or doggerel, your own or a favourite author.

7:30 start. It would be splendid to see you there.

Nga mihi nui

03 July 2008

Biographies, part V: Some of my favs

Following on from my previous biography posts from a few weeks ago, I thought I’d share some of the biographies that have been important to me, or which I’ve especially enjoyed. And I hope you will tell me some of your favs too.

These are in no particular order of importance or chronology.

The Martyrdom of an Empress. I found this book in a second-hand shop in Otaki, many many years ago. I was attracted to it simply because it’s a gorgeous old, green cloth-bound, hard-back book, rather than by the subject matter, because at that stage I’d never heard of Empress Elisabeth (Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary). It was written by an anonymous but devoted former lady in waiting – so it has a very biased angle, but I found it fascinating. Elisabeth was beautiful, wilful, Romantic, probably a bit mad, and doomed: the perfect monarch, and the perfect subject for a biography. I’ve since read several, and better, biographies of her, but none that had the same impact as the first. The longest poem I’ve ever written is the nine-page ‘Empress Elisabeth’ (which will be in My Iron Spine).

Vita, by Gloria Glendinning. It’s easier to remember the recent ones! I talked in recent post about how this biography affected me – motivated me to live and write more. Let’s see if that lasts…

Anaïs: the Erotic Life of Anaïs Nin, by Noël Riley Fitch. Way less sleazy than the title would lead you to expect – in fact it wasn’t sleazy at all. It was a really interesting insight into a complex person and writer, who was trying to do something new and different – and managed to have two husbands for many years – one on each coast of the US.

Helen Keller’s Teacher. I got interested in Helen Keller as a child, because we had the same name, and she was a writer and I wanted to be a writer. From somewhere or other I ended up with this book about her teacher, Annie Sullivan, who taught Helen Keller to communicate with a physical form of sign language. I read this heartbreaking and heartwarming story over and over and over.

Katherine Mansfield: a Secret Life, by Claire Tomalin. Despite my previous bitching about Katherine Mansfield biographies, I did really enjoy this when I first read it. I remember finding it really inspiring, especially given that she is from the same city as me – even though she did abandon it!

That’s all I can think of right now. What are some of your favs?

01 July 2008

My Iron Spine publication date/Winter Readings series

One of the other things that took up my time in the last week or was my dad's operation. He had a really long and complicated operation on his back, and so now he really does have an iron spine - sort of - actually, I think it might be titanium bolts that he now has in his spine rather than iron, but you know, close enough. So I plan to dedicate My Iron Spine to him. (He's recovering really well.)

And, as suggested by the heading, I now have a date by which My Iron Spine will be published. It will be launched at the second of three winter readings here in Wellington, at which I'm going to be one of the readers.

The Winter Readings are a co-production of two local publishers, HeadworX and Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, and also Kwanzaa - the Afrikan Shop.

Here follows the official programme:

This year's readings celebrate 10 years of HeadworX Publishers in Wellington, and are a tribute to The Beatles' White Album, with Beatles music played at the readings.

We will be announcing this year's winner of the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize: Will Leadbeater, who will come down from Auckland to read. This will be a rare chance to see Will Leadbeater read, one of our unsung poets who has been writing away for years.

Wine/juice and books for sale.

Venue is the City Gallery Theatre, Civic Square, Wellington.


AUG 20, Wednesday, 6.30pm-8pm
Reading 1 - Helter Skelter
Mark Pirie
Harry Ricketts
Richard Langston
Rob Hack
MC: Niel Wright
Plus launch of Mark Pirie's new books Slips: cricket poems (ESAW) and Bottle of Armour and Trespassing in Dionysia (both Original Books).

AUG 28, Thursday, 6.30pm-8pm
Reading 2 - Revolution
Niel Wright
Helen Rickerby
Evelyn Conlon
Will Leadbeater
MC: Harvey Molloy
Plus launch of Helen Rickerby's My Iron Spine (HeadworX)

SEP 3, Wednesday, 6.30pm-8pm
Reading 3 - Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Michael O'Leary
Gemma Claire
Marilyn Duckworth
Bill Dacker
MC: Nelson Wattie
Plus launch of Michael O'Leary's Paneta Street (HeadworX)