Friday, March 31, 2006

The skies cleared around Wellington last night so I was able to step out and gaze at the Pin Cushion--a part of Saggitarius close to Crux--and from there to star hop over to what I think is Eta Carinae.

I haven't been reading that much poetry this week but I have been enjoying Tom Waits Step Right Up from his early LP Small Change.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


if only we could wipe them all out

the birds would stop counting
every time dawn
lets the string holding the yellow balloon
fly from her fingers

if only we could wipe them all out

they couldn’t come back and get any stronger
and what’s a pigeon or a sparrow anyway
but a rat with wings?

if only we could wipe them all out

we wouldn’t need to keep a constant presence
in the kitchen and the bathroom cupboards

or keep a vigilant eye
on school corridors and supermarket aisles

if only they were gone gone gone
gone for bloody good

we might risk
the chance of détente

we might let the ants live

Harvey Molloy

Friday, March 24, 2006

I've just bumped into Lumière online. A pleasant find indeed. And you must have a look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day: now you can see expansion!

Cleaning due

My poem 'cleaning' is due to appear in the next issue of the NZ Listener--so fingers crossed.

We've finally found a review of our book on Asperger Syndrome over at Metapsychology. Thank goodness it's favourable!

I'm waiting for the end of term. We're going on holiday to the Cook Islands. (Most of the students I teach are Polynesian so it will be a good education for me--and then there's the beach.)

As well as an excellent SF novel by Greg Bear, I read Alison Wong before sleeping. More on both later. I have to go and get ready for school...

Sunday, March 19, 2006


John Hersey

Since it was first published in the New Yorker in 1946, Hiroshima has become a classic. Hersey tells the story of six survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. He recounts with great care what each person was doing on the morning the bomb fell and then follows each character to show the effect the bomb has had on their lives. Hersey focuses on people rather than argument—there’s no discussion of the reasons why the bomb was dropped or the role the bomb played in bringing the war to a close (Paul Fussell’s excellent essay ‘Thank God for the Atomic Bomb’ covers this ground). The power of Hersey’s writing lies in his emphasis on reporting life stories: you try to tell their story and avoid the trap of speculating on causes, reasons and arguments. An event changes your life and there’s nothing much you can do but just get on with it—if you’re lucky enough to survive. The destructive power of total war must never be forgotten. My students, though, didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d expected and I probably wont set this again next year.

There's some valuable background material on Hiroshima online over at Cliff Notes.

This morning I popped over to Locus and read that Octavia Butler had died.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bravado 6

Bravado 6 popped into the mailbox late last week. There’s a gorgeous floral cover by Susanne Morning and a welcomed selection of poetry by some familiar names (John O’Connor, Leonard Lambert, Owen Bullock) as well as many unfamiliar names (to me at any rate). There’s a great ‘Sharp Point’ column by Bernard Gadd on the ‘Best Kiwi with a Pen’ that mentions the put-downs and patronising reviews of Hone Tuwhare’s poetry in the 1960s and 1970s by Bill Manhire, Alistair Paterson and Peter Crisp.

Owen Bullock has left his post as poetry editor and Tim Upperton will be stepping into his shoes. I want to thank Owen for the help and advice he’s given me while poetry editor—Owen you will be sorely missed! The production is very inviting—I think I’ll have a cup a tea and another quick read once I get back from work.

Last night’s performance of Tuwhare at the Wellington Town Hall was one of the best concerts I’ve been too for a while. The projected movies and photos on the back screen worked well and all the performances were solid. Ah, I must go see hear Whirimako Black and Charlotte Yates again soon.

Image from Bravado.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


I’ve finished Hourglass, Sue Wootton’s fantastic first book of poems. Wootton’s writes extremely well-crafted verse—there’s an effort and care in her writing that I sometimes find lacking in poetry that tries too hard to be ‘conversational.’ The opening poem can only be described as breathtaking. Even though I haven’t spent a great deal of time in the South Island I feel a definite southern flavour in some of her work. The wind’s more bracing and you can almost hear crisp morning frost under your feet. Wooton’s an imaginative poet—she can imagine herself to be a masthead one moment and a mother with a difficult child the next. There’s something a little formal, a little restrained, and unconcerned with the ‘cool’ in Hourglass—it’s refreshingly unfashionable.

You can read one of the poems from Hourglass here.

Image from Steele Roberts.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Google politics

My cold's finally gone. I had a hard week at school and I've not been reading much--dipping in and out of poetry (Ted Hughes, Hinemoana Baker, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell) and the December issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, as well as a few other books I'll blog about when I've finished them. And I've been writing a little--two poetry reviews, as well as teaching about five classes a day, so I've been busy.

Am I alone in feeling uneasy about Google? The shining coverage given to the Google--a company which for many years I'd respected--by Time magazine makes me feel uneasy. Is it all about talking up the share price? Google is
censoring the net for the Chinese Communist Party for profit. How can this be right?

Do I now need to find a new search engine?
And what about my GMail account?

I wish they hadn't made this deal. Now I feel unsure about them.