Sunday, June 21, 2009

Closer in BMP 25

My poem 'Closer' will be appearing in the upcoming issue of Blackmail Press. This is my third publication in BMP: it's great to be in the next issue as BMP is online, available to all, and has a wide range of new and established voices from diverse backgrounds.

'Closer' was difficult to write and I have many versions of the poem. I started the first version over three and half years ago, long before the movie Control brought Ian Curtis' death back into popular culture. If I look very far back, then a piece published in Salient in 1980/1981 called 'The division of joy' is also linked to the poem (although they are in other ways poles apart). I know it can be tiresome to talk about one's own writing, I generally avoid it, but I've noticed a slight shift since Moonshot in some of my poems in that they have voices that are not quite my own and which I find 'unsettling' (or is that too dramatic, too strong?) When you read 'Closer' you will probably wonder what I'm going on about. Thanks to the editors
Sarah Jane Barnett and Bill Nelson for noticing one little tweak that really helped the poem.

Source: NZEPC

Have you seen the Phantom Billstickers Poetry posters around town? I went walking with my son Rohan in Newtown and we saw a Tusiata Avia's 'Cheek' and Michael White's 'There was a time' on Riddiford Street and I loved them. I mean, how great is that to see poetry in the street? I got this rush of excitement from them, like good music; they looked so immediate and lively. I'm playing Avia's 'My Dog' to some students tomorrow--I'm playing them about four NZ poets. When I really love a poem I feel that in some way that I own it; I think that's common with what we love. That's why it's good for the poems to be out on the street; they are our poems written by these poets.

If you feel inspired to write then the Bravado poetry competition is on and the deadline is the end of August.

The Voyagers anthology continues to get press coverage with a good piece in this weekend's Dominion Post on the anthology. Tim Jones has good coverage of this and news of the yearly Montana Book Awards gripes. I do feel that the $100 fee for publishers to enter books for the poetry competition is skewering the award nominations. However, on reflection, it's not such a hefty fee and it's up to the small presses to tell Booksellers NZ, who are reviewing the awards, if they feel shut out. I'd like to know if the University Presses ask their poets to fork out for their own entry fees. University Presses do a lot to support and encourage poetry in NZ but the Montana nominations do give the impression that the only good poetry comes from a university press when other vibrant presses also publish good work.

It's late and time to turn in. Not long now until the new Minuit CD comes out.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Ghosts of St James/Broadsheet 3

Riemke Ensing

Photo: James Ensing-Trussell / TOPIC.

Broadsheet 3 is now available online in PDF format for free at Headworx.

Here you'll find my poem 'Ghosts of St. James'; one of the new poems that fit into the 'post Moonshot' project I'm writing (provisional title Flies and Gods though this will not be the final title). Others poems in this in series include 'Il est Minuit' (published in Brief), the three poems that appeared in Blackmail Press in December and 'Corporate Identity' (published in Albatross 20).

Work has been much busier than usual and so the small time I set aside each day (even if I get up before dawn) has been spent working on a batch of new poems and putting together publicity matrial for the Palmerston North reading. I had my third cold of the year that was nasty but mercifully quick. I'm working on new poems and they do feel different and they require attention. My writing began to change when I realised that I couldn't put it off any longer and that I just had to keep writing on a regular basis and so that's what I do even if I lose out on sleep. At times it's frustrating because I really would like more time to write as writing takes time.

I have finished another short review for A Fine Line on Our Favourite Poems: New Zealanders select their favourite poems, edited by Iain Sharp, and I can see the value of such a book for bringing poetry to new, especially younger, readers. I'm still disappointed that The Listener hasn't gone back to publishing a poem every week. I know that magazines are commercial ventures and can publish really what they like but as a reader of The Listener I am disappointed. Every week I would turn to that poem wondering 'whose got in?' and 'is it good'? And I'd enjoy that feeling. I've had two poems published by The Listener and I liked the way that they've gone out all around the country. The weekly stab at a wide audience has gone and I believe that all poets and all readers have lost out. There's no poem in this week's issue.

It's been good to swap emails with Riemke Ensing over in Auckland. I enjoyed her poem 'Matariki' in Broadsheet- I like the idea of a person planting a tree each time one of her friends dies, a tree that represents their background. It's a very understated, elegant poem dedicated to Bernard Gadd who dies in 2007.

And the Poetry Society AGM is coming . . .

NZPS Monthly Poetry Readings, Wellington

Monday 15 June, 7.30pm
The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St
There will be no guest poet this month. The Annual General Meeting will take place, followed by a mini-workshop for those attending the AGM. This will be run by the National Coordinator, Laurice Gilbert, and there will be no charge (but you have to attend the AGM to qualify).