Friday, November 30, 2007

Jaam at Myspace

Jaam has a new presence over at myspace. Like Brief, Jaam's a lively, somewhat offbeat (though quality driven) periodical that's now essential reading. Not that there's anything wrong with those mainstay juggernauts of NZ Lit periodicals Landfall and Sport. It's all pretty good really--I know it's a bit corny to say it but NZ does really well for creative writing. We're all at it day and night like bloody rabbits. I'll fess up now and say that I've sent a submission off to Brief for their NZ Music issue but I'm also a little wary of 'themed' issues. (I'd been working on the piece beforehand). What I've enjoyed about the last issues of Brief, Jaam and Landfall is their free for all, open house flavour. A periodical doesn't have to be a themed anthology and Granta be damned!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stephen Oliver

This just in from Stephen Oliver. . .



Carindale, Qld - Interactive Publications Director Dr David Reiter today announced the release of an exciting new CD, King Hit, featuring spoken word performances by poet Stephen Oliver and musician and composer Matt Ottley, who is also an gifted children’s author and illustrator.

IP is supported by the Australian Council, and regarded as an important national publisher of contemporary Australian authors, but it recently expanded its business to include New Zealand authors and artists. IP is the leading publisher of digital literary titles in Australia.

Billed as a “transtasman” collaboration, King Hit is a perfect counterpoint of spoken word and music.

New Zealander Oliver’s voice packs all the tonal shifts of a heavy-duty gearbox, and his poems challenge, delight and entertain. The resonance is bedrock; Richard Burton, Dylan Thomas, Ken Nordine rolled into one.

Australia-based, Ottley’s music is highly original, moving effortlessly through modern classical, rock, blues and jazz.

Beat for beat, groove for groove, Oliver and Ottley complement each other. The words and the music deliver exactly what the recording promises: a King Hit.

The CD will be launched during a national Australian tour starting on 16 November and then in New Zealand early in 2008.

For more information, to receive a review copy, or to schedule an interview, please contact Assistant Editor, Promotions, Gemma Barlow on +61 (7) 3122 1312 or by email to

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Il est Minuit

  1. Failures (live). Joy division
  2. Autosuggestion. Joy division
  3. Relax. Zoom
  4. This side of the blue. Joanne newsom
  5. Starting over. The flaming lips
  6. I hate guns. Minuit
  7. Green fields. The good the bad & the queen
  8. Atoms for peace. Thom yorke
  9. Falling up. Rickie lee jones
  10. Dead city. Patti smith
  11. Tacoma trailer. Mr. leonard cohen
  12. Young idealist. Lloyd cole
  13. Gimme some truth. Jakob dylan
  14. Solid. Grant green.
  15. Orange crush. The editors
  16. Blue light. Block party
  17. Here comes the sun. The beatles
  18. From the ritz to the rubble. The artic monkeys
Image taken, owned and (hopefully) used with permission by Tony Nyberg

Monday, November 26, 2007

Headworx: three new books & party

This just in from Mark . . .

invites you to their Launch/Xmas Party 2007.

3 new books being launched:

L E Scott’s Speaking in Tongues: New Poems $20.00

A book of all new poems by jazz poet/writer L E Scott. 80 pages.

Tony Beyer’s Dream Boat: Selected Poems $30.00

A must-have selection of Beyer's poems, from the 1970s to the new millennium. 224 pages.

Mark Pirie’s Private Detective: New Poems* $20.00

*Handprinted book published by Dunedin’s Kilmog Press

A hand-made book published in Kilmog's new poetry series that includes works by Peter Olds, Stephen Oliver, Bob Orr, and Sandra Bell.

Venue: Wellington Arts Centre, Upstairs, back room, Abel Smith Street (next to Real Groovy)
Time: 3.00-5.30pm
Date: Sunday 16 December 2007
Drinks and book sales from 3.00pm.

Launch speeches and music to follow.

Cash sales only. No EFTPOS.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from HeadworX

Sunday, November 25, 2007

the infinity we swim in/bookcrossing

This just in from Laurice, the coordinator of the New Zealand Poetry Society:

the infinity we swim in: The New Zealand Poetry Society's 2007 Anthology is now available.

From Helsinki to Hamilton, California to Canterbury, Queensland to Queenstown, the latest instalment in the annual NZ Poetry Society's anthology series showcases the winners of the 2007 international poetry and haiku competitions and features the work of more than ninety poets from across the globe. There are poems about birds, dogs, angels with sinewy feet, phone calls, jewellery, a praying mantis, a repository for lost socks, and constellations. Poems about love and loss and longing, about our relationships to each other and to the world around us. There are poets whose names will be familiar to fans of contemporary NZ poetry, as well as new names who will surely go on to become the stars of the future.

"poems of genuine quality demanding further consideration"
- James Norcliffe (judge, Adult Open section)

"This contest achieved what I'd hoped it would: much fine new poetry"
- Bernard Gadd (judge, Junior Open section)

The NZ Poetry Society is proud to present the infinity we swim in to its members, both as an essential addition to personal collections, a high quality but affordable gift, and an excellent companion for the beach or bach this summer.
Inquiries to


Have you heard of bookcrossing? It's when you leave a book in a public place for someone to pick up or when you find a book in such a place. Anyway, I've signed up. It seems like a bit of harmless fun. I might leave a book somewhere later today.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The year of magical thinking

We don't know when we, or our partners, or our children, or our parents, will die. Somehow we manage to live with this uncertainty; after all, we have no choice.

In grief, the mourner replays the past in order to try to keep a loved one alive in the face of an inevitable distance between them and the lost one as they live on, experiencing days, weeks, months, years of life after the loved one has gone.

Before I left Oldham for New Zealand, my father's mother told me that I would never see her alive again after we left as she must die first before Grandad as she couldn't bear to continue life alone. Three months after we board the boat Australis for Auckland she was dead.

Didion had this wonderful, wealthy, successful writer's life with her husband John: holidays in Hawaii, fish dinners, a Malibu house, parties, engagements, a partnership founded on advancing each other's work. And then just before Christmas, after forty years of marriage, John dies and she is left winding back and replaying the days, hours, minutes before his sudden death. She imagines through magical thinkingwriting itselfthat he might return but finally facing at the end of the year and the mourning work that he can never return.

There's a strange 'Note on the Type' as a kind of postscript that resonates with Didion's memoir: "Bodoni's innovations in type style included a greater degree of contrast in the thick and thin elements of the letters and a strange and more angular finish of details."

Image: Barnes&Nobel.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Meg Campbel/Winged Ink/Dōgen Bogen

Meg Campbell, writer and life partner of Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, died recently. My condolences go to the Campbells.

I heard of Meg's through Helen Rickerby's Winged Ink, a blog dedicated to Seraph Press and related topics. Her most recent post brings to light a great value of blogs: through blogs we hear the news.

I'm going to go back later today to re-read Helen's comments on Anne Sexton. If the poem rhymes then just go with it but it's also good not to get to fixed on rhyme as the horse to take you to the finish line. I do think that its a pity that we're losing 'light verse' and the fall of light verse isn't helping poetry sales (I thinking of Ogden Nash, Pam Ayers, etc as practitioners of light verse.) Here's one of my few attempts. In the poem, I imagine Zen master Dōgen as a Vauxhall driving Bogen:

Dōgen bogan

Dōgen Bogan
drove a Vauxhall car
Dōgen Bogan
kept his mind ajar
mountains, rivers, streams, stars
poured within that space
in the rear-view mirror
he spied nobody's face.

Dōgen Bogan
parked in his garage
but for Dōgen Bogan
the garage was a mirage
the sound of no horn tooting
was the sound of Dōgen’s horn
& nobody came to greet him
as nobody’s always home.


And congratulations to my friends Ashley and Julia. Ashely has just given birth to a boy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Latika in Landfall 214

Landfall 214 includes 'Sleep' a short fiction by my beloved, Latika Vasil. Jack Ross's 'open house' edition means that we are no longer constrained by an overarching theme and I find this makes the whole issue more approachable. There's a healthy number of new voices as well as some great work by prolific writers such as Elizabeth Smither and Richard von Sturmer (whose work I enjoy). I haven't had a chance to read through the whole issue but Stu Bagby's poems are a real delight. Nice to see work by Leonard Lambert and Michael Harlow in there as well.

Image from Landfall.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The last café

The Poetry café went out with a very well attended session:14 people
had a go at the open mike. I read Gemini Spacewalk. Tim’s poems went down well (pity I had to leave before he’d quite finished). I bought two of Tim’s books up at the reading: his short fiction collection Extreme Weather Events
and his first book of poems, Boat People.

Now I don’t have to rely on the library’s copies. Actually, maybe it’s for the best I left early as I hate goodbyes. Unfortunately, I have not received any Creative New Zealand funding for Moonshot.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Cinema as time travel: Leaving the phone box, back in the past

Watching Anton Corbijn's Control last night was pretty heavy going. I was taken right back to the black and white North West. I loved the way the first song was Bowie's Drive-in Saturday, and how Iain and Debbie sat on hill--which I'm sure was in Saddleworth--with a dry stone wall in the background. You can understand why he doesn't want to return back after touring, how claustrophobic the house and job are for him. There's something frightening about the North West landscape (Alan Garner captures it in Redshift). The film features staggeringly great performances by all the cast and Corbijn's glorious direction: Manchester, Macclesfield and the North West have never seemed more Orwellian.

Profoundly In Love With Pandora

Much more congenial, less prickly (or nasty, for there's a hostility in Iain in Control) is Adrian Mole in the Growing Pains of Adrian Mole which I finished reading to Rohan this week. Like Control, Adrian's world is slow, unconnected, pre-digital: you actually walk to people's houses to talk to them. I like Adrian, he's a likeable character and it's his warmth and daftness that stay with you.

Poetry café tomorrow!

Images: Guardian & Amazon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I was kindly lent I'm Your Man by Mary. She said that Jarvis Cocker's rendition of 'I Can't Forget' sounded like me at the karaoke. So there's hope for me on the stage. In the film Leonard Cohen recounts a meeting with his roshi when roshi said "You know, you're not really Jewish and I'm not really Japanese." That line, like a line from one of Leonard's songs (and he's always is sort of Leonard) will probably stay with me forever.

Philip Glass is playing The Book of Longing at the Wellington Arts Festival. I saw Philip in Singapore but I've never seen him play Leonard before. But then there's the cost. And I'm not sure I can afford the time off school and the money to see Paul Muldoon unless they have individual sessions.

Today's poem: Song at Summer's End by Leonard Lambert.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

As it happens/Violent Cases/Rich

Neil Gaiman, inside the text, smoking, looking out of the frame

I've added 'As it happens' (thanks Di!) to the bloggers anon list and I've moved 'Wandering Woman' over to 'People' and listed her according to her IRL name. This week I read Neil Gaiman's Violent Cases (illustrated by David Mclean): A shocking, memorable, brilliant piece of work which I want to own. Imagine Al Capone in Portsmouth inhabiting your childhood. the violence of the 'party games' sequence made me gasp as I read the book during a reading session with my year 10 class in the library.

Last night I finished Adrienne Rich's sombre, difficult and rewarding ("acetylene scorching the claims of the false mystics") Dark Fields of the Republic with it's constant, niggling, insistent return to Rosa Luxembourg's execution.

Today's poem: Kapka Kassabova's I want to be a tourist.