Saturday, February 24, 2007


Here's a great photo of the village of Delph, in Saddleworth, Oldham. I spent five of my childhood years there.

Photo from UK-Photos.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Karori Karnival

Last Night I finished Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. This morning I went to Benburn Park with Rohan and one of his friends for the annual Lions Karori Karnival. I picked up two books for $1 each: Sam Hunt’s 1982 Running Scared (pubs, beer, smokes, mullets, Fords) and How to Build a Time Machine by Paul Davies. The photos in Running Scared took me back to the early 80s and when I put the book down I was glad to be back.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Second fringe reading

We had a very enjoyable, well-attended reading on Wednesday at the Paekakariki café. Lynn Davidson read from her book Tender, Tina read a selection of her poetry, I read a number of poems on the theme of love: 'Photograph, 1978' , Learning the t, Diwali, Even if and an unpublished poem/work in progress 'The goodbyes'. Helen Rickerby read from her book Abstract Internal Furniture and Helen Heath finished with a selection from Kissed. I bought a copy of Tender and Abstract Internal Furniture as well as CD of five Paekakariki poets reading. I was exhausted when I finally got home as I had taught every class that day as well as having lunch duty. The house was empty when I arrived so I knew something was up. And it was. Our cat, Canopus, had been found in a fever and was rushed to the after hours vet who found two abscesses on his front paws from a cat fight. He’s been given a massive antibiotics shot and will next see the vet of Friday.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

First fringe reading

Well, I’m happy to say that the first of the Paekakariki Fringe readings did go ahead yesterday. We were due read at Saint Peter’s Hall but as the next act, 13% Punk, were having sound problems we were shifted to a delightful small chapel adjacent to the church. There’s was a small, attentive audience for the five poets: Lynn Davidson, who read from her new book Tender; Helen Rickerby, who read from her first book and from her new work in progress; Tina, a local poet whose last name I forget!; myself who read ‘Albedo’ and ‘Big bang’, both poems to be published soon in Takahe, as well as ‘Nanosphere’—a poem due to appear, should it ever be published, in an anthology of NZ SF poetry—and a new poem called ‘A walk on the moor.’ Finally the organizer, Helen Heath, wearing a cardboard dress from a recent production of the life of Sylvia Plath, read a number of poems from her work in Kissed as well as a poem to be published in the next issue of Poetry New Zealand. We all had a ten minute stint and everyone kept within their time. I paid to see 13% Punk, a performance art group from Melbourne, but hunger and a sore shoulder—still sore today though a little better—finally got the better of me and I drove home. The next reading is on Wednesday night at the Paekakariki café. Yes, I do enjoy public readings and I feel a little frustrated that I so rarely read in public.

In the afternoon I bought to second-hand hardback editions of the second and third volumes of Spike Milligan’s war memories: Rommel? Gunner Who? and Monty: His Part in My Victory. All I need now is the brilliantly titled first volume Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. I read the first two as a kid and after hearing them mentioned on the radio decided that I had to go back to them.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hellboy: the chained coffin & others. Mike Mignola

My poem ‘Heurodis’ is now up over at the Southern Ocean Review. The poem’s based on the Middle English poem ‘Sir Orfeo’ and is told from Heurodis’s perspective after her return from Faerie/Hades. Southern Ocean Review have changed the versification from my original which was very fiddly as I’d been admiring Alistair Te Ariki Campbell’s work and had tried my hand at less conventional forms. But I’m actually very happy with the poem as set by SOR: I code a little HTML myself and know that the original would have presented numerous problems for the coder. Thanks to Judith Woolf for the drawing for the poem. And I’m now not sure if I’m reading at the Fringe Festival.

I want to read my graphic novels this year so I picked up Mike Mignola’s HellBoy: The Chained Coffin and Others. I hadn't read Hellboy before or knew that a movie had been made, which I hear isn’t very good, based on the books. What a delight to find characters from legends I’d read about in Beowulf and Grendel, such as Jenny Greenteeth, frolicking in the dark frames. The fights I find a little tiresome—they remind me of the Thing saying ‘it’s clobberin’ time’ back in the old Marvels—but the comics have a depth, a texture, that I never found in the Fab Four.

I’m also reading a wealth of Creeley material over at Jacket. Jacket’s a real treasure of a find.

Last night was clear, I was looking at crooked Centaurus and the Southern Triangle when I saw a satellite racing a fast arc across the sky, then coming out of a patch of more unfamiliar sky (Tucana?) another satellite tracing a similar arc at what appeared to be the same speed. For me that’s a first.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Clarke on Olson

Maximus rock n roll

On Wednesday night around 10.30 PM I drove down with my eldest son Rohan to Princess Bay for another look at comet McNaught. The comet was higher on the south-east horizon than the previous week and distinctly fainter in a sky illuminated by a full moon.

I’m just getting over a nasty tummy bug which stuck just before I’m due to return to teaching—better now than next week. Just before getting sick I recorded MP3s of three poems: Nanosphere, Albedo (coming out in the next Takahe) and Diwali.

Last night I finished Tom Clarke’s biography of Charles Olson that I picked up at the library sale. Olson’s a self-engrossed, excessive, manic character unable to form close friendships with others, especially women and unable to even cook, clean or manage money. (If ever there was a candidate for a posthumous diagnosis of ADHD/B-polar disorder Olson’s the man.) His poems don’t particularly appeal to me—‘open field’ poems do have energy but they can seem almost too subjective, even hectoring, and don’t really leave much room for the reader to breathe. At the end I felt sympathy for Olson, for all his faults and excesses—of which he was painfully aware in his last year. One benefit of living an obscure life is never suffering the indignity of being the subject of a warts and all biography.

Robert Creeley (whose poetry I do like) has written a review of the biography for Jacket magazine and there's also a Charles Olson homepage at Buffalo.