Saturday, August 29, 2009

BMP Press launch invite

Blackmail Press

Presents The Rebel issue

Please join us for an evening of poetry, which will begin with an open microphone session and be followed by a selection of readings from the current Rebel issue.

Wellington launch: Wed, Sept 16, 2009 - 7.30pm

Upstairs Thistle Inn,

3 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon, Wellington.

It's all go. . . the readers are ready . . .the editors are ready . . . I'm sort of ready to read my new poem 'Closer' and so we'll be there on the night.

This morning I attended a packed session with Bill Manhire for secondary school teachers at the International Institute of Modern Letters. His workshop on creative writing (which he said was very similar to the talk he gave at the WRATE conference) was highly entertaining and stimulating. Bill encouraged teachers to recognise the importance of 'theft' and imitation in creativity: we all start by borrowing and copying. This should be the basis of teaching of creative writing rather than a romantic notion of striving for an original voice. He presented us with a number of exercises for use in the classroom. All of this was presented free of educational jargon or the wretched Powerpoint which plagues so much discussion of secondary education. It was clear, crisp, precise. The workshop ended with teachers swapping anecdotes and concerns and all in all it was a great way to spend a lovely spring morning.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Poets for Princess Ashika

Poets for Princess Ashika: Love, Loss and the Sea
Fundraiser for the victims of the Princess Ashika Ferry Disaster in Tonga

2pm Saturday, 5 September

Paekakariki Memorial Hall, The Parade (next to Campbell Park)


Koha entry

Karlo Mila - Apirana Taylor - David Geary - Glenn Colquhoun

and Te Roopu Kapa Haka o Paekakariki

A rare opportunity to hear four of New Zealand's best contemporary poets and writers

Afternoon tea. Bring some biccies if you can! Gold coin raffle.

Contact: Helen Keivom 9057178

I can't go due to a previous family engagement. All my best to them.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Voyagers Reading

The Voyagers reading went well with a good audience--although it must be said that the audience was mainly composed of readers and their friends! The evening was dedicated to Alistair Campbell who died on Monday. I always introduce secondary students to some of Campbell's work and I've admired some of his versification (he had a way of splitting a line over three lines and interlacing these lines to produce a very entrancing pattern). There's a full, more detailed account of the reading over at Tim Jones's blog. In my small free time, I've been trying to write this poem I've been stuck on for a while. I started to make some good progress this week on attempt four. Sometimes you have to come at the poem from the side and create angles. Work has gobbled enormous energy this week and I'm waiting for a space when I can write for longer spells. I've also been reading Alan Loney's blog, especially his thoughts on the lyric.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bravado 16/Voyagers reading line up

Bravado cover by Janet Keen.

Bravado 16 arrived in the mail on Friday and features Latika Vasil's story 'Jelly' along with short fiction by Janis Freegard and David Hill and others. The issue also has new poetry by Sue Fitchett, Peter Branson, Helen Lehndorf, Vaughan Rapatahana, Isaac Pressnell and Karen Zelas to mention just a few. There's also a favourable brief review of Moonshot from Tim Upperton. (I've had three reviews so far and all are favourable). Great, I'm looking ahead to the new work now.

I'll be reading with the Voyagers poets tomorrow. Here's some information, blatantly stolen from Tim Jones:

Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand is making its public debut at the New Zealand Poetry Society monthly meeting in Wellington on Monday 17th August. The meeting, which starts at 7.30pm at Wellington's historic Thistle Inn, will feature local poets with work in Voyagers reading two poems each: one of their own poems from the anthology, and one other poem from the anthology that they particularly like.

The featured poets will include:

Puri Alvarez
Chris Else
Robin Fry
Tim Jones
Rachel McAlpine
Jane Matheson
Harvey Molloy
Michael O'Leary
Mark Pirie
Vivienne Plumb
Helen Rickerby
Mike Webber

I'll be reading 'Nanosphere' and Richard Von Sturmer's 'from Mill Pond Poems.' I'm a great admirer of Richard's poetry.

You can't keep a good writer down. Yes, Neil Gaiman has walked away with the Hugo although, old fashioned as I am, I don't see The Graveyard Book as a SF novel (and , I'm afraid, I still see the Hugos as primarly an SF award which why I much favour the Locus awards over the Hugos). Good on Neil, though. And I know that it's best not to get too hung up on the old categories which are all rapidly fading anyway.

Photo source: Bravado.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The rival/Palmerston Reading/Voyagers

Helen Lehndorf

My poem
The rival is now online up on The Lumiere Reader. Hopefully you get a feel for the design studio.

On Wednesday, I drove up to Palmerston North with Latika for my poetry reading at the Palmerston North Library. Poetry is alive and kicking in PN and there's clearly a regular crowd who turn out to hear a poet and read at the open mike. I was pleased with my reading and I liked the way I was able to talk to some members of the audience before I got up and read. I recognised the convener of this circle of poets, Helen Lehndorf, from her Facebook photo, and she was clearly at ease with the regular crowd of people who read at the open mike. Helen gave me a set of prints and poems from the collaborative 'Eyes in the Skies' project at Square Edge held for National Poetry day. Being a cadging teacher I immediately asked for another one for use at school! The Palmy library even has the vision to host plays, such as the play 'Aalst' that was being performed until the 9th August.

It was also great to meet up with Tim Upperton who read two poems from his new book House on Fire (and there's a good interview with Tim over at Tim Jones' blog). I last saw Tim about twenty two years ago when I was an MA student at Massey completing my dissertation with the grand title of Derrida and The Problem of Authorial Intention (oh the heady theory days of the 80s), Tim was writing a little then and I recall that both of us worked on putting out a student publication of poems called Musings. My contribution to Musings was a dreadful piece of juvenilia called 'Everything is a process'; the title alone makes me groan. Meeting Tim brought all these old times back and I feel a sort of kinship with Tim in that we've just had our first books of poetry published. Tim was also recently interviewed by National Radio's 'Arts on Sunday' programme and you can hear the interview here.

I'm glad I've finished my review for the next issue of A Fine Line on Chris Price's The Blind Singer. Next up aside from writing: the Voyagers reading over at The Thistle Inn on 17 August, 7.30pm.

And I also want to go and see Measure for Measure and Romeo and Juliet double bill over at Bats. And did I mention that I'm playing Thisbe for a school show? Er, yea.

Image source: Palmerston North City Library.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Takahe review

Cy Mathews in Takahe 66 has given Moonshot a favourable review. I wont quote him but it just gives me a very good feeling to have a reviewer (who doesn't know me from a bar of soap) read and enjoy the poems. I'm pleased to that he's responded well to the visual art poems in the second section. In earlier arrangements I culled these entirely and included more biographical work from my childhood. I wasn't happy because it looked too rigid and I wanted a certain fluidity in the bookyou know it's a carefully arranged sequence but it's not a full-blown concept album. I like it when I think of poems in book as tracks. I like the way Tuwhare's books have poems that jump around; Manhire's also good at not having everything totally nailed on the wall so you get a sense of play. Cy's a good editor and he's provided me with some useful comments on some of my new 'post Moonshot' work.

It's been a busy week. I visited Kapiti College and met with their creative writing group there. I could not hope for a more welcoming and friendly bunch of students and staff. The kids were really fired up about their creative writing and it's good to see young 'uns tackling difficult forms such as the novel. I read a couple of poems from Moonshot and then ended with a brief (groan) Powerpoint presentation that I also posted to my wonderhub blog. The audience seemed to like the poems and I liked the atmosphere: all a good warm-up for my poetry reading on Wednesday at Palmerston North library.

I was sad to learn from Ansible that Charles N. Brown, co-founder, editor and contributor, to the much beloved Locus magazine, died in his sleep on a plane. I never met him but I enjoyed his sardonic writing in Locus and his crazy looking face in the convention photos.

I was also sad to hear that a great poetry venue Aunt Daisy's Boathouse had just closed its doors. After the Porriua poetry café closed, poetry in Kapiti shifted to Aunt Daisey's and Lembas and now we're down to Lembas in Raumati Beach. I enjoyed reading at Aunt Daisey's and the place will be missed.

Of course, I'm listening to the new Minuit CD Find me before I die a lonely but I can't handle 1 AM concerts given my working (and writing) schedules. In fact I was so exhausted on Friday that I had to go home and sleep and so didn'tmake their free acoustic set at Real Groovy records. That's tragic, I know. But I'd had a few late night's marking and writing and getting ready for next week's poetry gig (I have worked out the sequence and gone through it in my head) and so after teaching all day I just had to go home and sleep. (I couldn't even finish the paperwork). Ruth Carr now has a blog on her lyrics.

And online Dylan Horrocks has been colouring his wonderful comic 'The Magic Pen' over at Hicksville Comics. You must visit this site.