25 February 2008

Which Romantic poet are you?

I hope you won't think me shallow, but I do rather enjoy a pop-psychology quiz.

This one, which I found on Pearce's blog, is very literary related and therefore appropriate for Winged Ink.

If you do it (I know you won't be able to resist) let me know which poet you are.

Sean turned out to be Byron. I'm a little nervous.

As you can see below, I am, apparently, John Keats. I have no idea why. I'm older than 26, I'm a girl, I told the quiz I was politically liberal. I don't think that truth is beauty and beauty is truth. But a good friend of mine did once pretend to lose a book of Keat's poetry (and paid a huge replacement cost) just so she could keep it, because she loved him so much. So he must have something going for him.

What British Romantic Poet are You?
Your Result: You are John Keats!

Ars gratis artis! Keats had only one idea, but it was a good one: "Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty." Unlike the other British Romantics, he didn't have a political agenda. He died at 26.

You are William Blake!
You are George Gordon, Lord Byron!
You are Samuel Coleridge!
You are Percy Shelley!
You are William Wordsworth!
What British Romantic Poet are You?
Create MySpace Quizzes

Newtown Spoken Word

Due to my own misorganisation, I can't make it to the Newtown Spoken Word open mic night on Friday, but if you can, you'll want the details:

Newtown Spoken Word is Back!

Come and join us for the latest instalment of Wellington's busiest and best open mic night, on leap day Friday 29 February.

Since mid-2005 the Word Collective have been teaming up with the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre and the Newtown Festival to deliver these rambunctious and rowdy seasonal Spoken Word nights. More than poetry, more than storytelling NSW is your chance to rant, rave, dance and tear up the stage. Or just take the opportunity to sit back end enjoy the strange and wonderful art being made in your own backyard.

Come Newtown, Come Wellington, Come one, Come all

Newtown Spoken Word Summer 08
Friday 29 February
Doors open 7.30pm
Mic opens at 8.00pm
Newtown Community and Cultural Centre
cnr Rintoul and Colombo streets

Entry by koha

21 February 2008

Johanna Aitchison at the Poetry Society

On Monday night I went along to the Poetry Society’s monthly meeting, where Johanna Aitchison was guest reader.

I enjoyed it very much and felt it was a great pity that there weren’t more people there to see her. I’ve been wondering how the society can attract more people along to it meetings, which generally really good. Any suggestions? I shall do my bit by trying to remember to post about upcoming readings – next month Tim Jones (writer, blogger, guest editor of the next issue of JAAM) is guest reader.

That said, the smallness of the audience did make for a cosy, friendly evening - we all sat in a circle and it was really informal.

After the open reading - where a few of us shared some poems - Jo read to us from her new book, A Long Girl Ago (VUP, 2007), and some new work.

I first came across Jo’s poetry in various literary magazines, including JAAM, where I remember publishing some of her work while she was living in Japan. Her chapbook Oh My God I’m Flying was published by Pemmican Press in 1999.

In the poems Jo read I was struck by their playfulness with language, her attention to sound in words, and the sometimes quite crazy leaps in logic. It all made sense, but a different kind of sense. These things may have always been her work, but they seem more marked now.

I was really interested when she talked alter about how, during the three years she spent in Japan, she spent most of the time in silence, or else talking bad Japanese or bad English – she explained that she needed to speak very childlike English with incorrect grammar in order to be understood.

She said that through this process she had to find a new language, because the old one didn’t work anymore. You can see, or rather maybe hear, that in her poetry, which I’m looking forward to reading more of. I bought her book and have added to my pile of ‘poetry I’m really looking forward to reading’ – which I’m starting to get through.

18 February 2008

What I did on my holiday, or, poetry people in Auckland

I’ve just come back from a most successful trip to Auckland.

The reason we went up was to see PJ Harvey in concert, but the main thing that made the trip special was the poetry people we met and/or caught up with.

We spent some lovely time catching up and talking about writing with Siobhan Harvey (writer, reviewer and editor of JAAM 25).

Then later on Tuesday we went along to Poetry Live. There I met one of the organisers, the lovely Miriam Barr (poet and editor of Sidestream, among other things), who I’ve been corresponding with over the last few months. Miriam very kindly gave me a copy of her book Observations from the Poetry Factory (thanks!), which I’m looking forward to reading (and listening to - there's a CD included). I also met some of the other regulars and had a generally great night.

Their format is to have a guest musician, a guest poet and an open reading. The guest musician was Ishle Yi Park, a Korean–American singer/songwriter/poet, who performed some beautiful and moving songs.

The guest poet was Vivienne Plumb. I always enjoy hearing her read – her poems are great and she knows how to perform them. She read quite a few new poems that I hadn’t heard before, including some about Poland and some from her new chapbook From Darkness to Light: Poems about the Kerikeri Mission House, which I’m also looking forward to reading.

If you’re in Auckland, I really recommend going along to Poetry Live. They’re a friendly bunch, and it’s on every week (!) on Tuesdays at 8 pm, at the Classic Studio, 321 Queen Street.

I’m delighted to have been asked to be guest reader on the 14th of October and, I’m told, the guest musician will be Anna Rugis (who is also a poet).

Several people had mentioned to me that there was a poet in Auckland, called Michael Steven, who published hand-bound books. I was hoping to get to see them, and someone told me that he worked at the Ponsonby Hard-to-Find second-hand bookshop. So I kept my eyes out for him when we popped in there on our epic Valentine’s Day Second-Hand Bookshop Trawl (first annual, I hope), but it was actually in the Onehunga store (probably the best second-hand bookshop in the whole country) that I discovered him – or rather he discovered me rifling through several large piles of poetry books. We got to chatting about poetry and publishing and we’re going to do a book swap, and hopefully keep in touch – or at least read each other’s blogs (his is here).

Oh, and PJ was amazing! She played so many different styles of music, but it all worked together beautifully. She makes a lot of noise for one smallish person. I hope she comes back again soon, and hopefully to a different venue. The Civic is a beautiful theatre, but it was rather frustrating sitting in those seats where you can’t even tap your foot in time to the music without annoying everyone in your row. And her music makes me want to dance.

07 February 2008

Word Collective Summer Events

The following are some upcoming poetry-related Word Collective events around Wellington.

Bottled (S)Words
A crazy treasure hunt around Fringe 08 venues, for the duration of the festival. Twenty bottles have swallowed the (s)words of 20 wordsmiths. Each vintage is a unique art package put together by a Word Collective favourite, but only bottle one has a golden ticket in its belly. Will you be the lucky Charley who finds the golden ticket and claims the Word Collective Prize Pack? Look out green bottles with orange labels at various fringe venues - be brave enough to uplift the gift- but a warning do not consume the art!

Artists involved include: Dick Whyte, Ruby Nekk, Curtis Nixon, Dra McKay, and Markus McIntyre.

What We Walk By by Dra McKay, at DAF: 106 -106 Aro Street.
This exhibition continues the Word Collective tradition of celebrating informal, guerrilla word art on our city's streets.

Dra, an accomplished photographer, has captured images of Wellington's inner-city street art. Whether they be paint, pencil, paper, or stencil these are witty, eclectic, full of social commentary and part of our daily visual diet. These are pictures of art ... what we walk by.

Opens 5.30 pm Monday 18 Feb and runs to the 28 Feb. Gallery opens at 11.30am each day.

Newtown Spoken Word Summer 08
Right in the middle of this madness the Word Collective will be holding Newtown Spoken Word Summer 08, at the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre, 7.30pm on Friday 29 February.

This is part of the ever-popular Newtown Festival and is one of the largest open mic nights we have ever seen - often attracting over 100 people to listen to 40 plus readers/ranters.

Leap into the year with a celebration of poetry, song, stories and the distinctive beat of Newtown. Entry by koha

Finally an announcement that Howltearoa open mic with a featured guest will be returning in April 2008. Stay tuned for dates and guest info.

04 February 2008

Recent poetry reading, part I: Speaking in Tongues by L E Scott

One of the poetry books I’ve recently read is Lewis Scott’s latest collection Speaking in Tongues, which was published by HeadworX just before Christmas.

Lewis Scott is an African-American jazz poet who has made his home in Wellington. When reading the poems in Speaking in Tongues, I haven’t been able to help but hear them read in my head in Lewis’s own distinctive (for around here anyway), rich, slow, rhythmic voice. If you’ve ever seen (or rather heard) him perform, you’ll know what I mean.

The piece that touched me the most in Speaking in Tongues wasn’t one of the poems though, it was the deeply personal essay that closes the collection. ‘An American Soldier (Reflections)’ was written as a response to seeing in a newspaper a photo of a young US soldier who has died in Iraq, in whose face he saw his own.

This dead soldier was 22 years old. I was 20 when I was drafted and sent to Vietnam. My war ended 38 years ago and I have lived long enough since then to see the lies of that war.
Through the essay he repeats the refrain ‘If I could, what would I say to the dead soldier who has my face in his.’ He says:

I didn’t die like you, but something is dead in me. I don’t walk around like a ghost anymore, but I did for a while when I first came back to “the world” (as we used to say in Vietnam) – every day for years.
He reminds us that more US soldiers have now died in Iraq than people who died in the 11 September attacks, let alone all the people of other nationalities.

There are so many other quotable bits, but I’m sure I’m doing them a disservice – you should read them in their original context, where they build up a such a strong protest against unjustified war.

03 February 2008

Winged Ink on Kiwiology

Last week Winged Ink was added to Kiwiology: the New Zealand blogosphere, which is a directory of New Zealand blogs.

Kiwiology lists blogs by NZers or about NZ subjects under a variety of categories. If you're an NZ blogger, you can contact Kiwiology and suggest they list it. You can also suggest other peoples' blogs.

Tim Jones bet me there, with Books in the Trees listed in Novemeber of last year. Curiously, along with Tim and me, quite a few of the other listings in the Books and Writing category are romance novelists.