Saturday, March 28, 2009

Moonshot review in A Fine Line

Suzanne Vaassen has given Moonshot a very favourable review in the Poetry Society's magazine A Fine Line. I'm pleased that she's included lots of quotes from the poems and that she has a good sense of the variety of different styles and concerns that I wanted to include in the book. Above all else, I'm delighted that she's enjoyed the book.

The 2009 Hugo Award Nominees are out and although I haven't read any of them this year yet I still hope Neil Gaiman wins.

Todd Swift has a pithy, interesting review (with replies from Andrew Johnston) of Twenty Contemporary New Zealand Poets over at Eyewear.

I'm working on a new poem 'Asgard' and looking forward to the end of term when I'll be able to sit down and really have a good crack at writing rather than just writing very early in the morning (5.00 AM-ish) or late at night or snuck in at lunch time or just after dinner or any other times I can sneak in between work and home (I do enjoy writing though).

Poem for today: Wind by Ted Hughes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Students and poetry

It's pretty hard writing in term time of you're a teacher but I do try to write a little every day to keep my practice up (the truth is get a little grumpy now if I don't write). This week I'm getting ready to write an article for the Poetry Society on introducing secondary students to poetry and I've been tinkering with a sonnet I wrote a few months ago.

At school I've been telling interested senior students about the above competition and Writers' festival. I like the way that the competition appeals to songwriters as that's a good avenue to introduce poetry.

Lyrics provide a good starting point for students because students nearly always have had more exposure to poetry than they think. I ask students to write down any poems and song lyrics that they know. I find that memories vary: some students remember some poems, some remember none. The same applies to song lyrics although it does not take much prompting to remember a song. From there I move onto simple rhymes: by this time the smarter students have cottoned on that poems and songs aren't fancy additional treats we are encounter later in life, they are actually the keys to how we learn the alphabet, the colours of the rainbow, and the sound patterns of speech ('down' rhymes with 'crown', fancy that). Little Bo Peep is simple poetry, nothing fancy, but it's been here for a very long time and has a mysterious quality about it--it still brings a certain pleasure. I like to at least start with the pleasure before we jump to analysis. (I'll have to write these ideas up more coherently for the article--the deadline's a couple of weeks away, just before the holidays.)

I'm pleased that Tim Jones has been nomimated for two Vogels: one for fiction as the author of Transported and one for his work as the editor of Jaam 26. I'm including the full press release for the Vogels below:

SFFANZ Press Release: Finalists for the 2009 Sir Julius Vogel Awards Announced - Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors Nominated

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand is pleased to announce its list of finalists for the 2009 Sir Julius Vogel Awards celebrating consumer choice and excellence in science fiction, fantasy and horror. Eligible works are from the 2008 calendar year.

Christchurch author Helen Lowe, author of “Thornspell”, is one of the finalists in the category of “Young Adult Novel”. Other finalists in this category are Ella West for “Anywhere But Here”, Fleur Beale for “Juno of Taris”, Margaret Mahy for “The Magician of Hoad” and Glynne MacLean for “The Spiral Chrysalis”.

Young Adult works feature very strongly on this year's nominations. Helen Lowe and Ella West have also been nominated in the category of “Best New Talent”, while Glynne MacLean has also been nominated in the Novella category for “The Time Stealers”.

Auckland writer Nalini Singh, author of “Mine to Possess” and “Hostage to Pleasure” has been nominated for both works in the category of Best Novel. Hamilton author Russell Kirkpatrick has also been nominated in this category for his work “Dark Heart”, the second book of the Husk trilogy. Both authors will be attending Conscription as New Zealand Literary Guests of Honour.

For more information about Conscription — including how to obtain tickets to attend — please visit

Voting for the SJV Awards will take place at Conscription, the 30th New Zealand National Science Fiction Convention, which will be held in Auckland, New Zealand over Queen's Birthday Weekend, 29 May - 1 June 2009. Conscription is taking place at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Mangere. Winners will be announced after the Conscription banquet on the Sunday night of the convention.

A full list of finalists by category can be seen at

Other categories include "Best Short Story" and "Best Collected Work", with Tim Jones having two works in this latter category.

I'm also looking forward to hearing Bryan Walpert read from and discuss his first collection of poetry, Etymology (Cinammon Press) at Massey University’s Wellington Campus (Wallace Street, Entrance A, Block 5, Level D, Room 16)
 on Thursday 2nd April from 6-7pm.
The reading, chaired by fellow author and creative writing teacher Ingrid Horrocks, is followed by Q & A and refreshments. Bryan's the new poetry editor of Bravado magazine (the next issue of which will feature a short story by Latika Vasil).

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Delwyn Puna: by Monday 30 March.

Poem for today: Filing Station by Elizabeth Bishop.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


If you haven't heard of or seen the new journal Enamel edited and published by Emma Barnes then pop over to Tim Jones' blog now. It's a beautiful publication.

If you're looking for a book a young teenage lad whose not that keen on fiction then I recommend Robert Swindells' Unbeliever.

Amidst all the doom of recession I'm still uplifted by the Kepler mission: what an ambitious, audacious project!

Poem for today.

The mirror. Robert Creeley.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Hope in Exile

Tibet Solidarity Network is putting on a PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION!!

The exhibition, entitled Hope in Exile, will feature selected photographs taken by Western photographers in both Tibet and India and will explore the varying realities of what it means to be a Tibetan living in exile today.

Prints (A3 and Block mounted) will be available to purchase at the exhibition

Photographs by:
Tessa Charles
Sharnon Mentor-King
Lindsay Alderton
and more...

WHERE: Kruezberg Cafe, Corner of Cuba and Webb Street
(Its an outdoor venue, so if its raining, choose another day to come)

WHEN: 7th - 14th March
8am to 4pm weekdays, 9am to 5pm weekends

(Prints will be available to purchase and donations are most welcome)

Note: This exhibition coincides with the 50th anniversary of the abortive Tibetan Uprising in March 1959 and 14th Dalai Lama's subsequent flight into exile.

Mark Harris's blog has a fascinating discussion on copyright.

Poem for today: Bill Manhire's wonderful Zoetropes.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Richard langston

Richard Langston

Oh yes, I'll be attending and reading at the open mike when Richard Langston comes to town. . .

NZPS Monthly Poetry Readings, Wellington

Monday 16 March, 7.30pm
Poets' Corner, The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St, Wellington

Richard Langston, poet and journalist, is our entertaining March guest. The meeting will start with an open mic, and there will be an opportunity to talk to to Richard at the end of the evening. $2 entry.

I'm keen to see what the finished movies will be like based on John Marsden's Tomorrow series, beginning with Tomorrow When the war Began. Are they lost in production limbo?

I've just come across Kipple, an interesting poetry blog created by Ashley Capes.

Poem for today: late night. Ashley Capes.

Image source: TV3.