Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Winter Readings

Just to remind you all...

Here are the details again complete with cover photo and a couple of links.

Winter Readings 2008

This year's readings celebrate 10 years of HeadworX Publishers in Wellington, and are a tribute to The Beatles' White Album, with Beatles music played at the readings.

We will be announcing this year's winner of the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize: Will Leadbeater, who will come down from Auckland to read. This will be a rare chance to see Will Leadbeater read, one of our unsung poets who has been writing away for years.

Wine/juice and books for sale. Venue is the City Gallery Theatre, Civic Square, Wellington.


AUG 20, Wednesday, 6.30pm-8pm

Reading 1 - Helter Skelter

Richard Langston

Rob Hack

Plus launch of Mark Pirie's new books Slips: cricket poems (ESAW) and Bottle of Armour and Trespassing in Dionysia (both Original Books).

AUG 28, Thursday, 6.30pm-8pm

Reading 2 - Revolution

MC Harvey Molloy

Plus launch of Rickerby's My Iron Spine (HeadworX)

SEP 3, Wednesday, 6.30pm-8pm

Reading 3 - Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Gemma Claire

Bill Dacker

Plus launch of O'Leary's Paneta Street (HeadworX)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I just finished Ian McEwan's Atonement, recommended to me by a student, which I greatly enjoyed. If E.M. Forster was alive today then Atonement would be just the sort of novel he would pen. The novel's set, for the most part, in the late 30s, early 40s and McEwan's style also seems to belong to more a languid, slower, pre-digital world.

Is Wikipedia really all that bad? The entry for Atonement reads to me as well-written and fully referenced.

Hyperbanalic revelation: the drum line of The Fall's Eat y'Self Fitter is very similar to Adam Ant's King of the Wild Frontier (gasp!)

Image: mrbsemporium

Monday, July 28, 2008

Open mike at the Bay

This just in. I wont be able to go as I'm off to the Film Festival to watch The Wave.

No, not the poetry reading, honest...

OPEN MIKE POETRY EVENING AT AUNT DAISY'S BOATHOUSE CAFE 28 Bay Drive, Titahi Bay on Thursday 26th June.The MC is Mike Eager.The cafe is open from 6pm. Poetry will start at 7pm. Come along to enjoy the poetry and present a couple of your own if you would like to.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Poetry day

Top poets perform on Montana Poetry Day

Celebrated New Zealand poets, Sam Hunt, CK Stead, Glenn Colquhoun and Poet Laureate Michelle Legott take to the stage to celebrate Montana Poetry Day, Friday 18 July.

Established in 1998, Montana Poetry Day has since become one of the most anticipated events on the arts calendar. This year will see poetry-related events for all ages, in towns and cities from Northland to Otago.

Montana Poetry Day national coordinator, Laura Kroetsch says this is a wonderful opportunity to listen to some of our most respected writers. ‘We know their work, but we rarely have an opportunity to see them perform. This year, there are more than 100 poets venturing out for readings, open mic’ sessions and poetry slams. They will be on stages, in cafes and theatres nationwide all celebrating the written and the spoken word. So don’t miss out on this valuable poetry opportunity.’

A few of Montana Poetry Day’s highlights are,

* Nationwide: Poetry Wall. At all libraries from Monday 14 July - Saturday 19 July. Add a favourite poem to the wall.
* Auckland: The Divine Muses Celebrate their 5th Birthday. 7.00pm. Readers include CK Stead, Iain Sharp, Harry Ricketts, Chris Price, Stu Bagby, Sue Reidy, Renee Liang and Siobhan Harvey. City Art Rooms, Level 1, 28 Lorne Street.

* Tauranga: Loose Canons at the Orange Zephy Café. 7.00pm. Tauranga writers will host an evening of poetry featuring Marcel Currin, Daryl Belbin, Hannah Jone and Belisha.
* Palmerston North: Writer Read. 7.00pm Palmerston North City Library and Massey University host former Poet Laureate Elizabeth Smither.
* Upper Hutt: An evening with Sam Hunt. 8.30pm. Café Romeo, 98 Main St.
* Wellington: Eight-Hour Capital ‘Marathon’ on Montana New Zealand Poetry Day. From 9.00am. Bring your poems to Wellington's famous Cuba Street's Bucket Fountain and perform at New Zealand's largest Poetry Marathon.
* Christchurch: Poems for Lunch – A menu of astonishing variety. 12.30pm. University Bookshop on Campus is hosting a lunchtime reading featuring Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Dora Sharpe-Davidson, Rebekah Eder, Rachel King, Ross Brighton, Marissa Johnpillai and Doc Drumheller.
* Alexandra: Musings and Music. 7.30pm. Dunstan High School will host an evening of New Zealand poetry and music based around an evening held in Auckland in 1953 on which seven of New Zealand leading poets gave a poetry reading, with music composed especially by Douglas Lilburn.
* Dunedin: Poetry Evening at the Dunedin City Library. 7.30pm. Featuring ten poets including Emma Neale, Sue Wootton, Peter Olds, Jenny Chalmers, Diane Brown, Lydia Edwards and Si Matthews.

All listed events take place on Friday 18 July unless otherwise stated.

The 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards poetry category winner will be announced on Montana Poetry Day.

The finalists of the poetry category are:

Cold Snack by Janet Charman (Auckland University Press),

A Long Girl Ago by Johanna Aitchison (Victoria University Press)

The Pop-Up Book of Invasions by Fiona Farrell (Auckland University Press).

Single poems from each book feature in the Montana Poetry Day samplers which are available from participating bookshops and libraries.

Takahe Poetry Competition

$5 per poem entry fee.
Judge: Michael Harlow, Poet and Editor.
Results will be published in the December 2008 issue of Takahe.
Prizes: 1st: NZ$250; 2nd: NZ$100; 3rd: one year's subscription to Takahe; 4th: one year's subscription to Takahe. 1st and 2nd prize winners will also receive a year's membership to the NZ Book Council. The competition rules and entry form are on the website, at:
Post entries to: Takahe Collective Trust, Box 13-335, Christchurch 8141, New Zealand. Closing Date: 30 September 2008.

Source: NZ Writers ezine.

The International Institute of Modern Letters will run a series of events - Writers on Mondays 2008 - presented in partnership with the National Library of New Zealand. The series will take place from 1-2pm in the National Library Auditorium, cnr Aitken and Molesworth Street, Wellington. Beginning on 14 July with Best New Zealand Poems on Montana Poetry Day - readings by writers whose poems appear in the 2007 anthology of Best New Zealand Poems (edited by Paula Green), this includes Jenny Bornholdt (Laureate) with Chair, Bill Manhire (Laureate).

Source: Arts Online.

I finished the Manga Shakespeare's The Tempest last night: what a great series. I enjoyed the Manga Macbeth, but Paul Duffields artwork here is just breathtaking. There's so much vitality and fun in this book without reducing the very odd twists and turns of the story. (Is Prospero so forgiving at the end because all of this has been a joke, a game, a fantasy? How seriously do we take the story?)

Image: Manga Shakespeare

Finally, as it's poetry day, a poem from my forthcoming book Moonshot (only about 5 weeks to go!) . This is an early poem from the 80s:

At the zoo

Behold the man
who paints the skymesh black

he is our only captive.

Dressed in a blue monkey suit
I walk above the surface of the world

dropping black paint
on the cockatoo cage floor—

black stars in a white, white sky.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

a fine line/lowell

A fine line, the magazine of the New Zealand Poetry Society, arrived in the letterbox this morning. It features a report on Auckland Poetry by Vivienne Plumb, including an account of Miriam Barr's work with Poetry Live and her Sidestream Zine, and some fine critical reviews by Joanna Preston. Good issue!

The next poetry society meeting will be:

Monday 18 August 7.30pm
The Wellington Arts Centre, 61 Able Smith St

Open mic, and a reading from Australian Poet Geoff Page, who has published 16 collections of poetry, as well as two novels, two verse novels, and a reader's guide to contemporary Australian poetry. $2 entry.

I've just returned from an impromptu four day holiday in Rotorua with Latika and the boys. We returned to Orakei Korako and I love the peace and quiet of this thermal park. It has a bush walk quality to it and Lake Ohakuri itself is worth the visit.

More touristy and less enjoyable was the crowded lines for riding the luge down Mt Ngongotaha although Rohan and Taran greatly enjoyed these rides.

On holiday, I started to read George Eliot's Middlemarch which was recommended to me by a friend whose reading group has chosen the book for their next selection. (I am ready, now, I think, to join a reading group so if you are in the Wellington region and are looking for a new member leave a comment). I'm not very knowledgeable about the early novel and whilst I did read Pride and Prejudice again earlier this year and enjoyed it I didn’t connect with it in a passionate, page-turning way. Eliot, though, I find engrossing and insightful and I only wish that I'd read this book when I was younger because it does offer insights into the pitfalls overly idealist and naïve people in their twenties can stumble into to with the best of intentions. There are elements of Dorothea's character that strike a chord in me.

Finally, I finished Michael Hofman's selection of Lowell's poems in the new highly affordable Faber poetry series. 'Skunk Hour' and 'For the Union Dead' are great poems as are 'Killer Whale Tank' and 'Water.' At times Lowell is so personal and the poems are filled with the minutiae of his life without trying to find a connection with the reader--as if he was the reader of his own poems. But there's a sense of honesty there (and pain) and I do love the musical quality of his poetry.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Shaun Tan/No to Age Branding

Last night I finished Shaun Tan's latest wonderful book Tales from Outer Suburbia. I read this with Taran, my youngest son, aged 9, and I love both the craft of his prose and his art. There's something very unique about Tan. He has a surrealist's conviction in the imagination and I find, unexpectedly, that I've become a fan after being introduced to Tan by Mary, the school librarian (a great book lover).

Rosemary Neil on Shaun Tan over at The Australian.

Apparently some crackpots with no interest in education, free speech, writers or readers have decided (yawn) that it might be a good idea if we put age bandings on books. What a bloody stupid idea except if you have an interest in the sticker business. (I have and always will hate stickers on CDs, LPs, books, etc).

Who will rid us of these meddlesome wowsers? You will. Sign here.

And J.K. Rowling's not having a bar of it.

Meg Campbell. Dear Sue.