Sunday, May 24, 2015

Leaving Facebook


I joined Facebook back in 2007—that’s seven years ago. It’s been mostly good, some bad; but for me it’s getting worse.  The company seems to have no decency or sense of fair play. It really doesn’t care about my privacy at all or the privacy of my friends. This story in The Guardian, coupled with a story on the FBI spying on citizens who don't  want  the massive Firestone pipeline to be built was the last straw,  If you don’t like it, leave.  I’ll still be on Twitter and Blogger.  I’ll miss the family stuff, sure. But I don’t anyone tracking what I’m doing online and following my friends around.  Hey, Facebook, that's wrong and it’s illegal.  Get the message?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

from The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith

   On Sunday morning, for example, Fatou regularly left the house, to meet her church friend Andrew Okonkwo at the 98 bus stop and go with him to worship at the sacred Heart of Jesus, just off the Kilburn High Road. Afterwards Andrew always took her to a Tunisian cafĂ©, where they had coffee and cake, which Andrew, who worked as a night guard in the City, always paid for.  And on Mondays Fatou swam.  In very warm water, and thankful for the semi-darkness in which the health club, for some reason, kept its clientele, as if the place were a nightclub, or a midnight Mass.  The darkness helped disguise the fact a sturdy black bra and a pair of plain black cotton knickers. No, on balance she did not think she was a slave.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Zealand's climate change target post 2020

New Zealand's climate change target post 2020

Ministry for the Environment is seeking
 public submissions on what NZ's climate change targets should be post 2020. Submissions close 3rd June.

The brief consultation process has galvanised our community to action in a short time and already the public meetings which have taken place have been filled to overflowing, with extra meetings on in some centres to accommodate the public interest.

Several groups have made it easier for us to make a submission:

Greenpeace has an
 online form to make a quick submission to Government.

Generation Zero has launched a
 Fix Our Future site where you can submit.

WWF has a sample submissions guide
 here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Into the Storm

I went to my first classical concert at the Michael Fowler Centre last night for New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Into the Storm.  The Britten Violin Concerto was a major draw card as I played this piece of music constantly for a good month last year.  It’s a very unsettling piece—I think of England during wartime, of not knowing the outcome, of the fear of where you are going; a terrible relentless logic or calculus. There's a disconnection; a failed flight into interior worlds. Britten's Peter Grimes: Four Sea Interludes piece is so clearly a seascape yet I am at a lost to say how I hear sea and sky in this music or what equivalence between instruments and elements is at work. I’d forgotten how much I like the Michael Fowler Centre. The reasons for not going till know have been financial; you know how it goes.  I’m busy next month judging a competition so I’m skip those concerts but I do want more of the NZSO experience.  The Youth Orchestra plays on July 2nd. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nepal Earthquake: Oxfam Appeal

I’m sure that I don’t need to show you a photograph of this devastating earthquake.  All I’m asking is that you please donate now to Oxfam New Zealand to help people in suffering.  You can trust Oxfam to tackle what needs to be done.  Thanks. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My choice for the Tuesday Poem

I’m editing the Tuesday Poem website this week and the poem I’ve chosen is Cliff Fell’s In Carbondale.  Go over to the site and have a read. {Cheers Cliff for the poem.}

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hoopla at The Fringe

The Smocks

First day back at school today after a busy weekend at an environmental hui I was helping to host.  After the hui was over and we cleaned up the venue I was tempted to head of back home but I’m glad that I pushed myself to go to the Hoopla Series 2 launch at The Fringe Bar

The books being launched were Mr Clean and The Junkie by Jennifer Compton; Native Bird by Bryan Walpert and Bones in the Octagon by Carolyn McCurdie.

Now, the Fringe bar is a much better venue for poetry than the previous spot at Meow (sorry, Meow, but it’s true).  This is a small, cozy venue where the folks behind the bar do not work the coffee machine when poets are reading!  The place was packed with folks standing at the back.  And the readings were superb—these were fine poems and the readings, although restrained and controlled, moved me.  You could feel a strong connection between the audience and readers.  The Open Mike session—which was just the right length and featured a pretty cool improvised perfomance poem by Satori—warmed up the audience as did the musical numbers by The Smocks featuring Mary McCallum. 

And, of course, you meet fellow poets you know and catch-up with what’s going on.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Books in: January--April 2015

Femme Fatale.  Maupassant.
The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman
Odd and the Frost Giants. Neil Gaiman
The World’s Fastest Flower. Charlotte Simmonds
The Night We Ate the Baby. Tim Upperton
Driving with Neruda.  Leonel Alvarado
Surface Tension. Joy Green.
Farther Away. Jonathan Franzen
The Zone of Interest. Martin Amis
Wild Nights.  Joyce Carol Oates.
The Fry Chronicles.  Stephen Fry
Shalimar the Clown. Shalman Rushdie
The Facades.  Eric Lungren
The Crane Wife.  Patrick Ness
The Stories of Raymond Carver.  Raymond Carver
The Daylight Gate.  Jeanette Winterson

The Rushdie, Amis, Franzen and Ness I bought at a book fair for Taran though I'll probably read the Franzen as I'm reading Strong Motion at present. The Maupassant was a mysterious gift from a lovely colleague at work--I found it in my mailbox one morning. It;s an excellent mini collection of stories and I'd be happy to read more Mauppassant.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Poem: Parting the Red Sea by Ellie Schoenfeld






Ellie’s a poet from Duluth, Minnesota . I’m currently reading her book The Dark Honey which I picked up from that great serendipitous deliverer of random ideas—the recently returned shelves of the Wellington Public Library (a true church if ever there was one).  

More poems at Tuesday Poem.

Monday, April 13, 2015

ECO at Better Homes and Living Show


Here’s Michael Pringle, the Executive Office of ECO (the Environmental and ConservationOrganisations of NZ) and myself at the ECO stall at the Wellington Better Home and Living Show this weekend.  We talked to folks about conservation in New Zealand and signed people up for our free weekly newsletter.  I bought a copy of the New Zealand Organic Explorer and resisted the temptation to pet the kittens over at the SPCA stall. Good on the organisers of the show for letting a host of non-profit organisations such as ECO, SPCA, The Salvation Army, Safe Foods NZ, etc have stalls at the show.

To subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter Tieke, email eco AT eco.org.nz with "subscribe Tieke" in the subject.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Interview with Latika


There’s an interview with Latika Vasil about her life and work called Connecting the Dots over at the Indian Weekender.  I’d just like to thank Latika for all the support and valuable advice she’s given me over the years.  I’ve benefited so much from her support and careful eye—as well as a first-rate writer she’s also a wicked copy editor.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Tuesday Poem: Amritsar






Here’s my reading of my poem ‘Amritsar’ which was first published last year in Takahe 82.  There’s an article on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at Wikipedia

More poems at Tuesday Poem.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Taran and Rohan at Makara



Latika took this yesterday at Makara Beach which is just down from where we live. In the background you can see our local wind farm.  We all just set off for a quick picnic. I sat looking at Mana Island and Kapiti Island behind it and just had this incredible ‘wow’ feeling that I still get from living here in Wellington.  Aotearoa is beautiful; Makara is so special, so invigorating.  I clambered over rock pools and then joined up with Latika and the lads and drank green tea. No complaints.



Today's good read: Alex McPherson on PJ Harvey's Let England Shake.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

The Better Home and Living Show

The Better Home and Living Show is on next weekend (10, 11, 12th of April) in Wellington at the Westpac Stadium.  I’ll be running the stall for ECO: the Environmental and Conservation Organisations of NZ—of which I’m an active  member—from 10Am till 2PM on Saturday, so stop by and say hello. Here’s a little blurb about the show from the website:  Packed with products and services for the home, the Better Home & Living Show will inform and inspire anyone wanting to improve their lifestyle in a sustainable way. Featuring the latest eco-trends and innovations for indoors and out, massive show-only specials, countless ideas and free daily seminars, it’s an event not to be missed. Better still, you’ll find it all under the one roof!




Today's good read: Carbon Capture: Has climate change made it harder for people to care about conservation?  Jonathan Franzen.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Hoopla Launch


The books to launched at the Fringe Bar are Mr. Clean and the Junkie by Jennifer Compton; Native Bird by Bryan Walpert and Bones in the Octagon by Carolyn McCurdie.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday Poem: Joy Green reads her poetry.



I went to a great launch last week at Victoria Books of three books from the new Manawatu Press Hau Nui. The launch had the snappy title of Three Poets and  a Scoop. I bought Tim Upperton’s The night weate the Baby, Leonel Alvarado’s Driving with Neruda to the Fish ‘n’ Chips and Joy Green’s Surface Tension in a custom-made kete.  It looks great sitting on my bookcase and I will read it as soon as I finish Charlotte  Simmond’s The World’s Fastest Flower.  The video here is of Joy Green reading.  It was a really cool launch—a very warm, relaxed atmosphere.

 The kete.

Friday, March 27, 2015

'Punch' In Phantom Billstickers


My poem ‘Punch’ has been published in Vol5 5 of the Phantom Billstickers CafĂȘ Reader along with poems by Cliff Fell and MichaelO’Leary.  The design, by CONJURE, is a treat and Phantom Billstickers sent me a t-shirt in the mail along with a cheque. I’m very happy to be published by them—the Reader is a great piece of design, intriguing content and free.