31 July 2010
Possibly the coolest thing about it was the venue. It was held in an old hall - the St Anne's Schoolroom - which apparently privately owned now. Its gorgeous and homely, with large windows which let the sun stream in, and full of lots of couches. It made me have a sudden desire to own a hall.
As well as a launch for the archive itself, it was also a launch for the archive's first publication, an anthology Rail Poems of New Zealand Aotearoa, and a collection by one of the founders of the archive, Niel Wright: The Pop Artist's Garland. Nelson Wattie did the launching, and there were readings from both books, and in fact a singing - Ron Riddell did a rendition of Peter Cape's 'Taumaranui on the Main Trunk Line', with most of my fellow audience members joining him on the chorus.
Afterwards I got to have a nose around the archive itself, which is housed next door. They're trying to collect as much New Zealand poetry as possible, and are keen for donations. Already they have around 3,000 volumes. While not yet comparable to The Poetry Library in London or The Scottish Poetry Library, it has similar aims - to value and protect poetry. Hopefully it will outgrow it's current home one day.
I'm particularly looking forward to reading Dear Sweet Harry, as I've enjoyed Lynn's work a lot when I've come across it. We published some of her poems in JAAM 27 (one of which was then published in Best NZ Poems 2009) and I was struck by her original voice. She said something last night about her husband encouraging her to let her poems be as weird as they need to be, and while weird sounds like a not-quite-right way of describing them, they are their own thing.
John Newton's work is new to me, so it will be interesting discovering it.
But what really got me buzzing last night was actually all the other people there. There was a convergence of poets, many of whom I mainly know from the internet, and it was really nice to see them in real life. Many were Tuesday Poets, including some from out of town. I've really found a bit of a community on the internet, mainly through blogging, and the Tuesday Poem phenomena has added to that. Thanks Mary! At big 'institutional' book launches I've often found, being a shy sort of person, that I can end up feeling very alienated. But not last night. Last night I felt I had a lot of poetry friends, and what a lovely bunch of people they are!
30 July 2010
The Madonna of the Ureweras
tramps with muddy feet.
There is mud in her boots
right down to the soles
of her socks.
The Madonna of the Ureweras
knows both hunger and excess.
She knows the list you’ve drawn up
of your sorrows and pain,
she is with you
as you walk away
from the people you love best.
She knows the hunger
of dried apricots
and ryvita bread,
the hunger that feeds
quarrels, and leads you,
in desperation, into song.
The Madonna of the Ureweras
has trees in her eyes.
Her smile is a river
further than you have walked.
She is dawning on you like the sun.
By Anna Jackson
For National Poetry Day, some of us Tuesday poets are publishing a New Zealandish poem on our blogs. While thinking what I might like to post, this poem came immediately to mind - I mean, what's more New Zealandish than tramping. And getting annoyed with your family.
'The Madonna of the Ureweras' was published in Locating the Madonna, a collaborative project between Anna Jackson and Jenny Powell (then Jenny Powell-Chalmers), which was also the first book I/Seraph Press published. (I still have a few copies if you want one - extra special price of $10. It's an excellent book.) It's one of my favourite poems in the book. There are bits in there that pull at my heart. It's also quite a physical poem, with all that mud and walking and hunger. And then finally at the end, it's transcendent. I hope you love it as much as I do.
For more National Poetry Day stuff, well, it's probably everywhere. For more poems, visit the Tuesday Poem blog, which will have the Best Book of Poetry winners & finalists for 2010: Brian Turner, Bernadette Hall, Michael Harlow & Selina Tusitala Marsh, and links to more poems. Or for more Poetry Day events, visit: http://www.booksellers.co.nz/awards/new-zealand-post-book-awards/national-poetry-day-events-2010
27 July 2010
There are a lot of stairs to be climbed
each with a different kind of railing
Darkness is in the basement
her soul in the attic
At first you think this is realist
You are mistaken
There is a key, there are labels
‘Eat me’ really means ‘fuck me’
‘Drink me’ means ‘open your soul’
‘See me’ means putting new eyes
in your sockets
The world transforms
when you look
through an aperture
restrict your vision with a frame
Didn't get organised early enough this week (or last week), so it's one of mine this week. 'Camera' was recently published in the second issue of Enamel magazine. I'm undecided still whether the title refers primarily to a camera for taking photos, or to the Italian word for room, but it's both really. It was inspired by a rather odd, cool, but ultimately not-quite-satisfying movie (for me at least), Fur.
More Tuesday Poems here on the official blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/.
13 July 2010
The touch of your hand on my
breast brings little needles and
I let down first just a drop, another drop and
then when I’m sitting on you, over you
it’s a steady flow and the milk is everywhere.
I guess it’s not really a waste because
there is always more but I resent you a little because
it’s not yours and you think it’s funny and
I guess it is and I just need to let go.
You check to see if I have teeth down there and
if you can pass to the other side.
You do think I’m a goddess and
the children tear us apart, me to earth, you
up in the air or is it the other way around? And
our fingertips can’t quite touch and I cry down on you
or do you cry down on me?
The children walk all over me or
is it you?
Valley, hills, rivers and caves.
By Helen Heath
Helen Heath is a poet from the sea-side village of Paekakariki, on the Kapiti Coast. In 2009 she completed an MA in creative writing at Victoria University. Her poetry has been published in many journals in New Zealand and Australia, and she's almost finished polishing her first full-length book. You can find her shiny new website at: http://www.helenheath.com/.
I first read this poem when it was published in JAAM 26, edited by Tim Jones. I was immediately struck by its power - its rawness, its physicality. I often misread the title as 'Split', because it is a poem about being torn apart a bit, losing yourself a bit for the people you love. And, it's also a tender poem, it is full of love. And I've also always enjoyed its mixture of the domestic and the mythic. It's both intensely personal, but also universal.
When I was selected poems to go into Watching for Smoke - the rather attractive chapbook of poems by Helen Heath, which I published last year - I knew 'Spilt' would be my anchor and my jumping-off point. The themes it introduces are the themes that carry through the whole book - family, and particularly the different roles we have in them, such as mother, wife, lover, daughter, sister, and the tensions within and between them.
Anyway, I love this poem. I think it's awesome.
More awesome poems at: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/.
12 July 2010
This month James McNaughton is the guest poet at the Poetry Society meeting. His first book, The Stepmother Tree, was in my recollection full of playful and kind of crazy fairytale-ish poems. I liked it. His second book, I Want More Sugar, was published in 2008.
Meeting will begin with an open mic, and is the same bat time, same bat place:
Monday 19 July, 7.30 pm
Upstairs at the Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave Street.
What it is, is a project to publish 'a low budget, old school photocopied folded paper journal with no names attached. It might be one writer writing as dozens, or a dozen writers writing as one.'
Generally we poets are trying as hard as we can to make a bit of a name for ourselves - get people interested in our work: 'If you liked that, then perhaps you'll like this.' We like to rack up a wee list of places our work has been published, we like people to know our names, we want our work to represent us. But along with our name comes restrictions, and sometimes opportunities. People might or might not publish our work because they have developed an idea about whether or not they like us or our work. We might feel restricted in what we we'll write about (or at least have published) because we're worried about what people might think, about what our mother might think, because it doesn't go with the kind of image we're trying to present as a poet.
The idea of anonymity makes me nervous, and excited. And a little bit free. I am going to try to write some work for this project that is a bit different from what Helen Rickerby, poet, might ordinarily do. I'm going to try to use the anonymity as an advantage, and a inspiration.
You can visit the Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113800348667528 for all the info. (All the cool kids have Facebook groups. Did you know JAAM has a Facebook group?: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8420259164.)
All you have to do is write something that you are happy to have published anonymously and submit it to:
theeponymousanonymousproject AT gmail.com
Or even better get together with some poetical, piratical friends and create a few poems or a collection to submit together. Create a character, a cast of characters or simply be eponymous anonymous.
Submissions close 8th August.
BTW - if you're interested in the intriguing punctuation mark (top left), which Eponymous Anonymous is using as its image, it's called an interrobang (or a quesclamation mark). It is basically a !?, but as one character. It was invented in the 60s, and is not much used, as you might expect. I only know all this because, well I checked Wikipedia, but also because non-standard punctuation was a topic of conversation among my colleagues last year, because one of them really needed some kind of sarcasm mark. He was in luck, because there is the irony or sarcasm mark: ؟.
11 July 2010
There will also be an open mic.
Time: Sunday 18 July, 4-6pm
Place: The Ballroom Café, cnr Riddiford St & Adelaide Rd, Newtown
About the poets:
Hinemoana Baker is a Maori writer and musician with tribal links to Taranaki, Horowhenua and Otakou Peninsula.
Teresia Teaiwa, an African American Banaban I-Kiribati who was born in Hawai’i & raised in Fiji, has had work published in Side Stream and in 2008 produced a solo CD, I can see Fiji.
Simone Kaho, a poet with Tongan roots, has performed at Poetry Live in Auckland. Her work has been published in Live Lines III.
I have a couple of poems in here: 'Camera' and 'Unsavoury'. Inside, I found quite a few writers (mostly poets) I'd come across before, and a few new discoveries. Some particular highlights for me are Harvey Molloy's 'Bus stop'; Mariana Isara's 'Crush' (it took me a little bit to warm to this long, spacious poem, but by the end I was smitten); Helen Heath's poems about scientists Marie Curie ('Radiant') and Beatrice Tinsley ('Spiral arms'); Tim Jones's dystopia poems and 'Willie Pondexter by Sarah Jane Barnett. You'll also find fine work by Jennifer Compton, Craig Cliff, Angeline King, Sally Houtman, Reihana MacDonald Robinson, Susanna Gendall, Heather Elder, Debbie McCauley, Jenni Dowsett, Iain Britton and Vaughan Rapatahana.
And how can you get your paws on this excellent publication? You can purchase it on Trade Me - http://www.trademe.co.nz/Members/Listings.aspx?member=684524 - for $15, or for $20 you can get both Enamel 1 and 2. Or you can email the editor: enamel dot editor at gmail dot com. Or, I'm sure it you rocked up to your local bookshop and asked them to order it for you, and gave them the ISSN (1174-9199) they'd be able to do that.
Enamel has a blog here: http://enamelmag.blogspot.com/, and a recently created Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=137829206230906. They'll be calling for submissions for the next issue at some point (probably later in the year).
And now I'll leave you with the final section of Mariana Isara's love poem, 'Crush'
What I want is the obvious thing
to eat red berries with me
in a warm rose garden
smelling Katherine Mansfield
to lie with our pages touching
I want to alliterate your dreams
10 July 2010
It's having its official launch, at which two books will also be launched, on Sunday 25th July. Full details below.
I should have blogged about PANZA ages ago, cos I've been helping them out with their website. But better late than never.
They already have an impressive catalogue, but they're always happy to accept your donations of poetry books and related stuff.
As well as the official opening, two new poetry books are being launched:
The Pop Artist’s Garland: Selected Poems 1952–2009 by F W N Wright (HeadworX), a remarkably varied selected poems by Wellington poet Niel Wright, covering six decades of his writing life.
Rail Poems of NZ Aotearoa, edited by Mark Pirie (PANZA/ESAW). The railway has been a dominant presence in New Zealand life for a century, connecting freight and people. In this new collection of rail poems, editor Mark Pirie presents a fresh and vibrant journey through many facets of the railway and explores its significance in our daily lives.
Contributors: Fleur Adcock, Marilyn Duckworth, Michael O’Leary, F W N Wright, Simon Williamson, Kim Eggleston, Louis Johnson, Jan Kemp, Fiona Kidman, Ron Riddell, Will Lawson, Jean Hamilton Lennox, Roger Wrighton, Hugh Isdale, Stephen Oliver, Peter Olds, M K Joseph, Rhys Pasley, Mark Pirie, Alistair Paterson and Peter Cape.
Special launch price of $15.00 for both books (Rail Poems of NZ Aotearoa is the first publication by PANZA’s publishing arm and is a free giveaway with The Pop Artist’s Garland).
Venue: St Anne’s School Room, 79 Northland Road (next door to the Poetry Archive at 1 Woburn Road, Northland, Wellington).
Date: Sunday, 25 July 2010
Books Launched by: Nelson Wattie
No EFTPOS available. Please pay by cash or cheque.
But in the meantime, here is a link to a very cute blog I was alerted to this morning: LET ME BE FRANK. It's by Sarah Laing, who is the current Sargeson fellow, and she appears to blogging her time on the fellowship through cartoons. My favourite so far is: Tiny cities and secret cupboards.
05 July 2010
I also chose this because it's about S, who stars, briefly, in the video. His surgery went really well and he's doing fine, but stuff like this makes you appreciate things, and other soppy stuff.
The real star of this video though is the manky flat I lived in when I wrote it, and where a friend still lives – so I got to go back and film most of this there.
Anyway, here's 'Calling you home':
If for some reason you can't view it here, you can see it here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lq21OmFTF4.
You can find more Tuesday Poems here at the official blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/.