30 November 2011

I'm doing a poetry reading

My dear friend Vana is back in NZ for barely any time at all, and so we decided to hastily organise a poetry reading with our friends Emma Barnes and Stefanie Lash. Sorry for the short notice! The details are below, and if you're a Facebooker, the event is here: http://www.facebook.com/events/321034821241035/.

Hope you might be able to make it.


December the 7th, 1911: King George and Queen Mary rode through Delhi amidst a military salute and the singing of the national anthem. The royal couple met with 150 rajahs, maharajahs and sultans. Elephants were banned from the parade for fear of them charging.

And, 100 years later: Vana Manasiadis, Helen Rickerby, Emma Barnes and Stefanie Lash read poems at 6 pm, at Blondini's (the cafe at The Embassy theatre), Kent Terrace, Wellington

Come one, come all. The cafe/bar will be open. The reading is free. Vana and Helen will have some books to for you to buy if you're interested. There will be no elephants.

Vana Manasiadis’s first poetry book was Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: A Mythistorima. She grew up in Island Bay, and has lived in Athens, Paris and Bologna and is currently living in Crete.

Helen Rickerby is the author two collections of poetry, My Iron Spine and Abstract Internal Furniture, and one hand-bound chapbook, Heading North. She runs Seraph Press, a boutique poetry publisher, and is co-managing editor of JAAM magazine.

Emma Barnes has had poems selected for Best New Zealand Poems in 2010 and 2008. She was the editor of Enamel, a short-lived but much-loved literary journal.

Stefanie Lash completed a MA in creative writing in 2005. Her poetry has been widely published in journals.

28 November 2011

Tuesday poem: 'Return to Nussbaum Riegel' by Tim Jones

Return to Nussbaum Riegel

This is a tent.
This is another tent, next to the first tent.
This is a bag full of urine.
This is the vast inconceivable.

This is a rock.
This is another rock
These are the deposits of a long-vanished glacier.
The frigid wind, whistling over the frigid ice, passing over long
generations of mummified seals making their stealthy way from the sea,
has formed these rocks into the unearthly shapes we call "ventifacts",
photographs of which form the bulk of my presentation today.

This is me.
This is Guido.
This is Guido, Nails and Barry.
Guido, Nails and Barry
are men with whom I will always share a special

This is Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
He wrote his famous poem "Ulysses" while visiting Antarctica
on the first "Artists in Antarctica" programme
with Bill Manhire, Chris Orsman and Nigel Brown.
(This is Bill Manhire, Chris Orsman and Nigel Brown.)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson inscribed his famous poem "Ulysses" on a cross
placed on Observation Hill by the survivors of Scott's Polar Expedition of 1910-1912.
To read it, you need a magnifying glass
and an iron constitution.

This is the Polar Party.
These are the Polar Party's drinks and nibbles.
The Polar Party went on till 5 a.m.,
then made camp. Scott opened his diary,
wishing, not for the first time,
that he had brought a pen.

Note: Nussbaum Riegel is a rocky transverse ridge in the centre of the Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. The Dry Valleys have been among the main subjects of the New Zealand Antarctic research programme.

Tim Jones is the author of a whole bunch of books across a range of forms - poetry, short stories and a novel, embracing and combining both literary fiction and speculative fiction. He was awarded the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010. He co-edited (with Mark Pirie) the anthology Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand (Interactive Press, 2009), which won the Best Collected Work category in the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Awards.

'Return to Nussbaum Riegel' is from Tim's latest book, Men Briefly Explained, his third collection of poetry. It's published by Brisbane-based publisher IP Australia, and is available not only as a printed book, but in various electronic formats also. You'll find various ways to get your paws on a copy here: http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.com/p/men-briefly-explained.html.

I wanted to share this poem in particular because I love the way it deftly glides between epic seriousness and humour. I'm particularly amused by Alfred Lord Tennyson in Antarctica as part of the Artists in Antarctica programme, and also by the 'polar party' ('These are the Polar Party's drinks and nibbles'). It becomes apparent part way through that this is the narration of a slide show or perhaps a Powerpoint presentation - can't you just imagine the presenter - standing there perhaps with his laser pointer. He'd be a gruff sort, I think. Ruddy faced.

I love the rhythm of the poem - each stanza beginning staccato, working its way up to a longer phrase - and then a joke. There are some gorgeous images in here too. How about: 'the frigid wind, whistling over the frigid ice, passing over long / generations of mummified seals making their stealthy way from the sea...' Lovely!

I'm going to be interviewing Tim on this blog soon, as part of a blog tour he's doing. And you can read lots more Tuesday Poems via the Tuesday Poem blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/

27 November 2011

The Comforter by Helen Lehndorf

I've been away (on a fantabulous road trip around the South Island), but before I went away I was very busy getting this gorgeous book ready for printing, and then when I came home, it was all printed. Hurrah! It's Helen Lehndorf's debut poetry collection, and it's fabulous.

We're launching it next Friday in Palmerston North and next Saturday in Wellington. If you'd like to come and I've been so remiss as not to send you an invitation, then email me (helen.rickerbyATparadise.net.nz) and I'll let you know the details.

More about the book here: http://www.seraphpress.co.nz/the-comforter.html