Saturday, September 29, 2007

Top Poetry Books/Macbeth

Here are my top NZ Poetry books. These are books which I've enjoyed and which have spurned me on to keep writing (often at ungodly hours). So, in no particular order, drum roll please… here for a bit of fun is my selection:

  1. Jerusalem Sonnets. James K. Baxter
  2. The Red Shoes. Elizabeth Smither
  3. The Loop in Lone Kauri Road. Allen Curnow
  4. Come Hail Rain & Piggyback Moon. Hone Tuwhare
  5. Zoetropes. Bill Manhire
  6. Beauty Sleep. Kate Camp
  7. Hourglass. Sue Wootton
  8. Collected Poems. Ruth Dallas
  9. Lemon. James Brown
  10. Acetylene. Geoff Cochrane
  11. Antigrav. Cilla McQueen
  12. Georgicon. Ian Wedde
  13. Box of Bees. Emily Dobson
  14. Any of the ESAW mini-series books.

I haven't included any anthologies. I think that I should also note editors who have had an enormous impact on NZ Poetry: Mark Pirie, Helen Rickerby, Harry Ricketts, James Norcliffe, Fergus Barrowman . . . Manhire gets a lot of kudos. . .fine… but there are other people (such as Mark Pirie founder of Headworx and organiser of the Wellington Winter readings, Michael O'Leary publisher of the ESAW mini-series, the Poetry Café organisers ) who don't get their fair dues.

Stepping down from my soapbox…I watched Polanski's Macbeth last night. I think it's a brilliant piece of film. I didn't find quite as shocking as the first time I saw the movie back in the 1980s. I liked the ending with Donalbain entering the witches' den, starting the whole cycle over again.

Friday, September 28, 2007

James Brown's selection

Wellington James Brown has written an entertaining piece on Leafsalon on his favourite NZ poetry books. But there's no Elizabeth Smither . . . Nice to see David Beach's Abandoned Novel in the list and O'Sullivan, Camp (I love Beauty Sleep), Curnow, Baxter (the Jerusalem poems are marvelous), Cochrane (you have to include him), Tuwhare, . . . a fun piece. I'd have to add Paterson's Qu'appelle which blew me away when I first read it in the 1980s. (And I would add Brown's own Lemon to the list.)

And I've just noticed that my template's the same as Sunnyo's. Maybe I'll change it again...

The sun's shining, the weather's fine, the senior reports must be written!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Planet Stories

Neil Gaiman lost his notebook on a flight.
Bill Direen is rebuilding his site (the previous one I liked).

And yesterday I went shopping. For my birthday I was given cash and book tokens. I spent some of the cash on a 1953 British edition of Planet Stories featuring the first British publication of Ray Bradbury's The Sound of Thunder and this wonderful cover by Kelly Freas. (This story is the origin of 'The butterfly effect.') All for $7 from the antique shop Memory Lane on Tinakori Road. I checked the value of the magazine online and $7 is about right--it's the US magazines which can be worth a small fortune.
You can subscribe to Poetry New Zealand online now. (Spend that cash!)
Today's poem: Wish by Michael Stevens. Publish Post
Yes, I've changed the template. Again.

Image from Northernstarart. If you like the Freas then you can buy a print from them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

michael morrissey

Michael Morrissey should be very entertaining. I don't normally copy the emails I get from Linzy from Poetry cafe but this is a fascinating introduction. And note that the Poetry cafe needs new people to take over the reigns to keep it going. (I don't think that I have the energy; especially to organise events during term time.)

Here's Linzy...

Hi poetry fans
Michael Morrissey will be our guest poet at the Cruz Bar & Cafe in Porirua on Monday October 8. He will be supported by singer/songwriter Russell Self (see

Michael Morrissey has published 19 books – ten books of poetry, four of short fiction (including three short novels) and edited five books includi ng the best-selling The Flamingo Anthology of New Zealand Short Stories, He has written for stage, screen and radio as well as for children.

His first book of fiction The Fat Lady and the Astronomer won the 1982 PEN Best First Book of Prose award. He has won seven short story competitions, one using a female pseudonym. He was the first Writer-in-Residence at the University of Canterbury in 1979 and the first New Zealand writer to be part of the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa.

His book launches have become the stuff of media legend - from the Multiple Michael Morrissey Media Manifestation at which four Michael Morrisseys were present to the world’s most spectacular book launch - that of Paradise to Come in 1997 which featured a brigantine armed with cannon, a landing party of Spanish conquistadores in full military armour and swords plus a Maori war party. Such was its realism that a group of deluded protesters thought the invasion was real and caused a fracas in which five people were wounded. In the subsequent misguided media treatment, Kim Hill led a discussion about restorative justice in which the book was not even mentioned.

During the South Sea Bubble that was the 80s, five film options were taken out on his short stories but only one Stalin’s Sickle was made. Directed by Costa Botes, a long time colleague of Peter Jackson, it won an international award in Italy and is regarded as one of the finest short feature films ever made in New Zealand. The New Fiction (1985), the first and only postmodern collection of New Zealand short fiction collection, was used as a text for course in Experimental Fiction taught at Massey university.

He has taught creative writing eg short stories and poetry at Continuing Education, University of Auckland and at numerous Community Education Centres in Auckland. He has been the book columnist for Investigate magazine for eight years. He has also written book reviews for a number of other publications including the Listener, New Zealand Books, Landfall, Islands, Sunday Star Times, Herald and the Press.

He is currently working on a novel about his moderately happy but guilt-ridden Catholic childhood and another about the heady days of 60s political protest, promiscuous AIDS-free sex, drug-taking and night-time poozling. Currently, writing is his principal high.

Don't forget to enter our Open Mic. Freat prizes on offer.

Check out the prize on offer below . .not sure how kosher this is ..!
Please Note This will be Poetry Cafe's last year in action unless we can find 2-3 people to take over the organisation and the running of Poetry Cafe. If anyone is interested in keeping the poetry alive please contact us by reply to this email or through our website ( . Good news is that Poetry Cafe has won (for the 2nd time!) the local arts award in the Wellington Airport Regional Awards. We go through to the finals in Wellington in a couple of weeks.
We are negotiating with two poets for our November meeting and there is a very good chance we will have Fleur Adcock for a special meeting in January.
Cheers from Linzy . . .look fwd to seeing some good crowds for our last sessions.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

endymion/villon in millerton

Has Blackmail Press gone offline?

I finally finished Dan Simmons Endymion. It has taken me forever to get through the novel although I’ve enjoyed every page. Only one more book to go to finish the Hyperion Cantos!

And I’ve also finished James Norcliffe’s Villon in Millerton which I’m reviewing for the Poetry Society.(I'll blog the review once it's published). I've read many of these poems three or four times.

And I’ve been reading news online over at Wikipedia. Here’s Wikipedia’s coverage of the Peruvian meteorite.

I’ve also enjoyed watching Trevor Nunn’s and Philip Casson’s 1976 production (for Thames TV) of Macbeth, featuring stark, German expressionist type lighting and wonderful performances by Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. All the action takes place in shafts or spots of light surrounded by darkness.

And I’m going to try to blog more often … keep my notebook up to date.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

after titus

I enjoyed the production of Titus Andronicus. I had a few quibbles: surely you really do need a pie at the end of the play? I mean, in this production Andronicus serves up raw meat, but I think the idea of eating human flesh baked in a pie makes more sense—how would you know what you were eating? Having Tamora’s sons played by women also, I think, tends to reduce the brutality of the rape scene. And I thought that the Chris O’Grady as Saturnicus did a good job. For my birthday on Friday I received some book tokens so I can shop during the school holidays.

Today's poem: Seamus Heaney's Mid-Term Break.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I'm off to see Titus Andronicus at Stagecraft tomorrow. I haven't been to the theatre for a while. And I've missed so much Shakespeare...

On a totally unrelated (notebook) note this week's NZ poem is Denis Glover's The Magpies.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

playlist: autonomeia

  1. #9 dream. a-ha
  2. pavlov's dog. aimee mann
  3. an bhotais. áine minogue
  4. help yourself. amy winehouse
  5. my heart is an apple. the arcade fire
  6. yellow submarine. chris eckman
  7. just like starting over. the flaming lips
  8. behind the sun. the good, the bad and the queen
  9. the kicker. grant green
  10. deeper. the illphonics
  11. gimme some truth. jakob dylan
  12. tomorrow never knows. jason mcniff
  13. this side of the blue. joanna newsom
  14. sweet music. mocky
  15. sibila laina. monteserat figuras
And I never heard from my old friend Neil Drake in Gainesville, Florida. Wrong e-mail perhaps?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

more poems/Albatross 19

I just submitted a number of poems for Albatross 19 via Richard Smyth's blog Scholaris Erratus. So if you click on the comments for the post 'On fire with poetry' you can read some of my poems. It was fun to post poems as comments and as 'submissions.' Of course, Richard may not be so amused and may want MS Word files...or perhaps he wont like the other poems as much as 'The Shepherd.'

Here's a fun site I came across this week. The BBC created a number of web sites for the new Dr. Who so fans can have a bit of fun. Here's the UNIT site. But there's no Brigadier in the new whoniverse...

Monday, September 10, 2007

re-make re-model

Bad asthma last night so I slept very little. Feeling a little better now and trying to do some work at home. I've changed my template (it took less than 20 mins). Not up to seeing Cilla McQueen tonight which is a pity. I'm glad that the planned teachers strike has been called off. Rohan has already consumed all our broadband allocation for the month.

Whānau: Ko te whānau te hunga tūturu, ko te kaupapa o te iwi.

(Family: The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society.) (From the Green Room: 5)


Saturday, September 08, 2007


Brief 35 came in the post today with new writing from Olivia Macassey, Jack Ross, Bill Direen, an interesting piece by Scott Hamilton and other stuff I haven't been able to browse through yet.

Ansible tells me that there will be no Dr. Whos made next year as the series is taking a break. And through Brief I've stumbled on Bill Direen's web site and Scott Hamilton's blog.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Poetry wall/Ron Riddell's launch

These events are coming up this week. I'm going to have to miss Poetrywall as it's Taran's birthday. But I hope, school schedule permitting, to be at Pataka on Thursday. For father's day the boys got me 2001: A Space Odyssey on DVD. This film totally blew me away when I first saw on a large screen theatre in Manchester. (My Dad took me as he knew I was keen.)

Jacket 33 has a great feature on Gordon Ball's photographs of Ginsberg.

Today's poem Lauris Edmond's Take One.

Wednesday 5 September , Wellington

Poetrywall Reading Three: Supersonic
includes the launch of Tim Jones's All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens)
City Gallery Theatre 7-8pm.
Mark Pirie
Richard Langston
Tim Jones
Jenny Powell-Chalmers
MC: Niel Wright
Admission is by koha. Drinks and book sales from 6.30pm in City Gallery Foyer.
Come early and write an original poem on the Poetrywall, the winner of the best poem will receive the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize for 2007.

Book Launch and Poetry reading, Porirua

Thursday 6 September
Pataka and Porirua Library, Cnr Norrie & Parumoana Sts.

Selected Poems (1973-2006) by Ron Riddell.

I'm not sure yet of the time of the book launch.