Saturday, February 28, 2009


The Aunt Daisy's open mike session went well and it was great to catch up with fellow poets and with friends who had driven up from Wellington. In the first set I read a batch of new poems: 'Corporate Identity' (coming out in the next Albatross), 'Bus Stop', 'Il est Minuit' (in the current issue of Brief) and the still in progress 'Closer'; in the second set I read two poems from Moonshot: 'Billy' and 'Learning the t' and then I closed the reading with the unpublished 'Dogen Bogan.'

Emma Barnes was at the reading and I was able to read a proof copy of her wonderful magazine Enamel which features poems by Miriam Barr, Tim Jones and others (I'd better be careful as I'm writing this from memory).

Have you read the graphic novel of Neil Gaiman's Coraline yet? I bought it the other week and it's now a favourite. I'm not sure that I like the look of the film and P Craig Russell's illustrations have a strong, restrained power that interprets the story so well. (Hey, maybe I'm wrong about the film!) The Allen and Unwin page for the book also contains a PDF of teachers' comments.

Image source: Allen and Unwin.

Poem for today. black doris. Emma Barnes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Three new poems in BMP 23

I have three new poems 'The Goodbyes,' 'A Midsummer forest' and 'Courtship and Marriage' in Blackmail Press 23 which also features poetry by:

Ali Cobby Eckermann, the inexhaustible David Eggleton, Julie
Beveridge, Graham Nunn, Kathryn Hayward Nathan, Mua Strickson-Pua, Helen Tionisi, Rowan Donovan, Ben Kemp, Courtney Meredith, Andrew Fiu, Karlo Mila, Teresia Teaiwa, Renee Liang, Mary Cresswell, Bill Nelson, Craig Cliff, Keith Nunes, Kiri Piahana Wong, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Raewyn Alexander, Thane Zander, Brenda Ann Burke, Felino Soriano, HD Francis Waterman, Michael Lee Johnson, and others I haven't been able to hunt down on the Web.

Aunt Daisy's

Like many at present I've struggled with a bug but after a restful day at home off work (I slept over 11 hours last night!) I'm feeling a lot better and will be turning up to work tomorrow and to the open mike session tomorrow night at Aunt Daisy's after 7PM.

Image source: Coffee Supreme.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kate Camp

Kate's reading on Monday was a great pleasure especially as she treated the audience to a suite of new poems. It's the care and intricacy and mesmerising strangeness of her breathtakingly good new poems that wooed me as well as her fine reading voice. Go and hear her read if you ever have the chance.

I saw the opening of Circa's satisfying production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal and I reckon that Toby Stevens, shuffling around the stage quite deftly on crutches, made a brilliant ad lib in the last scene about being 'an emotional cripple' who would 'never walk again.' I don't own a copy of the play, or have one at hand, but I would be disappointed if these lines weren't a brilliant addition!

I can't blog too much. I'm having connectivity issues as the children have quite selflishy once again gobbled all the allocated broadband. Never mind. I have some new poems going online soon--more about them next time.

Poem for today

Just between the two of us. Kevin Oberin.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Three poets at cafe L'Affare

There's lots of poetry on this month in Wellington . . .

James Brown, Jenny Bornholdt and Bill Manhire offer poems they’ve never before read in public at L’Affare, 27 College Street on Thursday 26 February from 6.30-8.00pm. Tickets $8.00 (Book Council Members), $10.00 non-members. Door sales only, and entry includes a free drink.

I've only recently noticed that Slashdot (which I read regularly back in my days working as an information architect) covers SF books. Here's Duncan Lawie on James Blish's Cities in Flight.

Poem for today: Out of Eden. James Brown.

Image source: NZ Flag

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Aunt Daisys Reading/Voyagers

Helen Heath

Helen Heath, Helen Rickerby and myself along with others unknown will be reading during the next poetry open mike at Aunt Daisys Boathouse Cafe, 28 Bay Drive, Titahi Bay, Porirua on Wednesday February 25 th at 7.00PM. I haven't read at Aunt Daisys before and I'm keen to give it a go.

Countdown is go for Voyagers: A New Zealand Science Fiction Poetry Anthology which has taken longer to get to the pad than the first shuttle mission. My poem 'Nanosphere' is included in the anthology--I've seen earlier draft manuscripts of the anthology and it's a real cracker of a book. The poems in the anthology are great and the book helps extend poetry in NZ. There's more info over at Tim Jones's blog. I'm not sure what kind of reaction Voyagers will receive and I suspect that it's at least five years ahead of its time. SF and fantasy poetry intrigues me--once you look through this lens so much seem immediately to fit: Beowulf, Middle English lays, the Romantics, surrealists, certain Beat work even Hughes and Plath have certain fantastic elements. (Why not an anthology of NZ gothic or horror poetry--how cool would that be? Yea, I bet my students would be into reading that.) Yet these sort of projects often don't seem to get noticed enough.

On a completely unrelated note I've been re-reading William Golding's Lord of the Flies. I think it has to be one of the best first novels written by an author who went on to write subsequent works (Amis's Lucky Jim also comes to mind).

Blogs of note: Poet Graham Nunn has a fine blog and it's great to see that my teacher ('87-91) at UF Greg Ulmer also blogging at Heuretics.

Poem for today (not SF related): Well by Emma Neale.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sam Broad

A while ago I stopped by a Paekakariki cafe and bought this marvelous postcard by NZ artist Sam Broad. It now sits at my workstation egging my imagination on: see today from a slightly different, what if perspective . . . Sam's site has more of these postcards--go and have a look.

I've also been looking at the Elsewhere site as I was put on to it by the previews of Stephen Oliver and Matt Ottley's King Hit work.

I've only been reading Neil Gaiman's blog intermittently so I was delighted to read in Ansible this morning that Neil has won the American Library Association's Newbery Medal -- the top US children's literature award -- for The Graveyard Book. I haven't read it yet but I'm looking forward to getting around to it sometime this year.