Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fair Trade/Delph Whit Friday

I've been a long time supporter of Fair Trade and
Trade Aid and I've noticed that much more companies and businesses are now working to give the workers who produce much of our coffee and chocolate a fair deal. Take coffee: Fair Trade coffee was once only available at Trade Aid shops, then came Hummingbird Organic coffee and now Caffe L'affare's Primo beans are now Fair Trade. According to Oxfam, NZ has one of the fastest growth rates for sales of Fairtrade products: up 50% since 2007. Some Fair Trade products though are not so easy to get now; I used to wear my No Sweat sneakers with pride and they were greatly admired by students at my last school who took them for Converse Chuck Taylors. Perhaps they will come back soon. I'd really like to know who made my shoes and their working conditions before I buy them.

Here's 'Delph Whit Friday' which appeared in this month's Lancashire Life along with a little blurb about me and
Moonshot. Del, an old childhood friend of mine, read Moonshot and did me a favour by connecting me with Lancashire Life. The poem's a bit nostalgic but then many immigrants who move in their teens find that the home country has become the place of childhood to which they can never return.

Delph Whit Friday

A clear sky hails arcs
of dry split peas and rice
from the silver shooters we blow
like flutes from candied lips.

It’s just gone three
and our kid’s kaylied already
from the Party Six
and how could it be that she
let my lips brush her cheek in the graveyard
just after she asked ‘Which church are you’?
As if I even knew.

This Friday the whole village is dressed in their finest
and nobody works. Look!
The red faced trombonist has lost his rag
and rushes towards a lippy scrag of a lad
who gives him the fingers and a face full of grain
and who just happens to be me.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

a busy week

Delph, Whit Friday

This has been a very full, very pleasant week. On Monday I attended two poetry events, the Voyagers reading at the Wellington City Library featuring poets from the Voyagers anthology ( I read 'Nanosphere' and 'Sea of Rains') which was followed and hour or so later by a meeting of the Poetry Society where Helen Rickerby gave a great reading from her new work and poems from My Iron Spine. Helen's reading used Powerpoint slides which complemented the reading well. At the open mike I recited Caedmon's Hymn from memory which I memorised as Ph.D student in Marie Nelson's wonderful Old English course at the University of Florida.

On Tuesday, being somewhat eager read and support Voyagers (truth is I love to read poetry and have no immediate poetry gigs in sight) I drove up to the lovely new Paraparaumu Library to read with Kapiti Voyager poets, including Michael O'Leary. It's a sunny library and a good reading venue. On Friday, I found that my poem 'Delph, Whit Friday' along with a little spiel about me and a pic appeared in the November issue of Lancashire Life and this gave me a real kick as my family back in Lancashire can all read the poem. It's these little boosts of pleasure from publication that keep me writing. That and an admittedly somewhat obsessive interest in poetry. I was pleased that the audience on Monday night enjoyed Caedmon's Hymn. It's good to memorise poems because that way the words get under your skin; mind you, I did make a couple of slips: it's 'foldu', not 'foldum',and I'm sure that there were others, but never mind.

Poem for today: Caedmon's Hymn.

Image source: Brass Bands Saddleworth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Delph Bridge

Until returning for sixth months (or perhaps a year) to live in the notorious Sholver housing estate, before emigrating to New Zealand I was fortunate to live for four years or so in the small village of Delph, in Saddleworth. Delph was small, rural, quiet and very beautiful to my young boy's eyes. I would often spend time just following the river Tame as it wound through the village. The bridge mentioned in my poem 'Closer' is, in my mind's eye, the bridge in the photograph above. (That's not to say that this is the bridge; it's my bridge in the poem, not the dear reader's). I'm hoping that a new poem, 'Delph, Whit Friday' will appear soon in the UK magazine Lancashire Life, along with a short piece on Moonshot. This opportunity is due to an old friend giving my work much appreciated support back in the north.

I have a busy poetry week coming up. I'm driving up the coast this afternoon to Paekakariki for the launch of Helen's Heath book Watching for Smoke. This will be an opportunity to take a break from marking and catch up with some old poetry friends. The design of the book from Seraph is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity present in New Zealand small presses who are more free to be concerned with really enhancing the poet's poetry rather than understandably maintaining a sort of brand or design identity. Tomorrow we have the first Voyagers reading in Wellington at the library at 5.30 PM followed by Helen Rickerby reading at the Poetry Society at 7.30 PM. On Tuesday we have the Voyagers reading over at the Kapiti library. This should be lots of fun and a bit of a first; I wonder if we are the first non-politically 'themed' poetry reading tour in New Zealand?

Poems for today: Isabella, Helen Heath.
Grows on trees. Helen Rickerby.
The wild iris. Louise Glück

Image source: The Boarshurst Centre, Saddleworth.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

re-make, re-model

How long will blogs last in the ecology of the net? When I first got online, via Actrix (Telecom wasn't even a USP then!), Usenet was the place to be. I remember hanging out in Lambda Moo, going to the Well; ah, those were heady pre-Web days. Then I had a sort of website going on a development server (I taught myself basic HTML by pinching and tweaking code) and then in Singapore my friend and colleague Kati put me onto Blogger. With Facebook, though, I can see a shift in the ecology of the net: social networking sites bite into the amount of time we spend onscreen. In other words--time on Facebook reduces the power of the blog. And I haven't even mentioned Twitter. But blogs do provide a permanent record and you can find them via Google. Something in their favour at least.

I'm going to try to make the blog a little more personal this year to beef it up a bit. It's hard to do because I'm also trying to write poetry and there are only so many hours in the day. The photo above is a picture of Browning Road, Oldham, close to where my Grandad and Grandma Molloy used to live. Forgive me the telegraphic style. I only have so much time.

I was shocked by two pieces of news this week: the death of Leigh Davis (author of Willy's Journal) and hearing that Adam Yauch in the Beastie Boys has cancer. My condolences to Leigh's family and my best wishes to Adam.

Poems of the week: Robert Mclean's work in the latest Jaam and Louise Glück.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Voyager open mike

The virus rings in my ears. I'm tired and it's cold outside. I get up in the early morning and start on the paperwork. Driving to school I notice white plastic bags have rolled out of their tipped open green plastic bins and onto the kerb. There's quite a few bags on the street. I stop the car and put one bag back in a green bin. I can't be stuffed doing the rest so I get back into the warm car and drive on.

This from Tim Jones:

We have decided to have an open mike session at those Voyagers Book Tour events at which we don't have lots of Voyagers poets reading. So, if you are going to the Dunedin, Christchurch, Kapiti Coast or Devonport events, bring some speculative poetry of your own (science fiction, fantasy, horror, or generally non-realistic), and you should get a chance to read as well as listen!

Back to me:

It was great to see a favorable review by David Larsen of Voyagers in The Listener. Larsen gets the whole 'reframing' or 'shock of the new' that comes not just from SF/Fantasy poetry (a shock I love) but also from breaking the conventional frames or narratives we used to view the literary canon or, as Larsen puts it: "... this capacity to make us pay fresh attention to people, to ideas, to images, even to individual nouns and verbs, is something the anthology demonstrates again and again."

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Narratives with Nosh

I was talking to my sister Jayne in Otaki on the phone and the hail was pounding on the window here in Karori. Where has all this weather come from? The family laugh at me for blogging this so late, especially as I've been on and off the computer all day writing poetry, mucking around on Facebook, reading an article on Beckett written by my friend Paul, making the kids crumpets and miso (they wanted both) always pottering around doing something, a little restlessness, not that good really at doing nothing, really.

I have a poem 'Diwali' in this collection:


Wednesday October 28th 6 pm No 1 The Strand, Tauranga

OUR 2009 PUBLISHING PROJECT to raise funds for young writers (18-23) in the Bay. Narratives with Nosh is a compilation of stories about food with the recipes and includes contributions from writers in the Bay and beyond. Editor Margaret Beverland will host the evening. If you're a contributor and you want to read, please let us know! You can also pick up your free copy on the night. (Note generous discount for pre-ordering extra copies - the perfect Christmas gift - only $15! Until the end of New Zealand Book Month October 31st.) Free, so bring along family and friends and urge them to buy, buy, buy.

Tauranga Writers, PO Box 13 533 Central Tauranga, 3141