Friday, April 30, 2010


Derker, Oldham, England, 1974 (1975)? Grandma and Grandad Molloy's back garden. Not a great photo but a good souvenir. I remember the photo being taken; summertime, it was really quite late and I couldn't stop reading Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The thin fence posts were black and had a strong musty scent. Before we left for New Zealand my Granda Molloy, who doted on all of us, told me that I would never see her again and that she would 'starve' away without us and die. (I remember that she and Grandad sometimes used 'starved' to me 'cold' so that 'I'm starved' could mean 'I am starved of heat'). She died six months later.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tuesday poem: A midsummer forest. Harvey Molloy

A Midsummer forest

After the meeting
I ran into the forest

but Tony texted from The Agency
the Big Man wants me to give him a call.

Strange how sleepy you feel
away from the city

and there’s all sorts
going on under the pines

what’s the local repertory theatre doing
shooting digital video?

Thoughts twist
like bindweed strangling roses—

does my twin ever dream
of my fiancĂ©’s sister?

I’ve read his letters
but have I read them correctly?

The wood bees courier yellow parcels
to the night-scented stock

and the purple lupins
hold half-thimbles of morning rain

should I wish to bathe my eyes.

This poem forms the start of the second section of my work in progress. It was first published in Blackmail Press. For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog. I'm editing the blog this week and I've chosen 'Coverage' by Tim Jones. Doesn't the Tuesday Poem badge look flash?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday seven

Just for fun . . .

1. Harvey McQueen. Two poems
2. Kenneth Koch. Paradiso
3. Thom Gunn. A view of the city
4. Mark E Smith. Bingo master's breakout (lyric)
5. Apirana Taylor. Two poems
6. Iain Rowan. Review of Philip K Dick's Now wait for last year.
7. I love this magazine.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bingo master's calls

"Two balls in front of his eyes..." The Fall

Because I occasionally call the raffle numbers at work and because I spent many a Saturday night as a lad watching the bingo master at the Derker cricket club call numbers, here's . . .

Bingo Calls

1. Kelly's Eye
2. One Little Duck
3. Cup of Tea
4. Knock at the Door
5. Man Alive
6. Tom Mix
7. Lucky 7
8. Garden Gate
9. Doctors Orders
10. Tony's Den
11. Legs Eleven
12. One Dozen
13. Unlucky for Some
14. Valentines Day
15. Young and Keen
16. Sweet Sixteen
17. Dancing Queen
18. Coming of Age
19. Goodbye-Teens
20. One Score
21. Key of the Door
22. Two Little Ducks
23. Thee and Me
24. Two Dozen
25. Duck and Dive
26. Pick and Mix
27. Gateway to Heaven
28. Over Weight
29. Rise and Shine
30. Dirty Gertie
31. Get up and Run
32. Buckle my Shoe
33. Dirty Knee
34. Ask for More
35. Jump and Jive
36. Three Dozen
37. More than Eleven
38. Christmas Cake
39. Steps
40. Naughty Forty
41. Time for Fun
42. Winnie the Pooh
43. Down on your Knees
44. Droopy Drawers
45. Halfway There
46. Up to Tricks
47. Four and Seven
48. Four Dozen
49. PC
50. Half a Century
51. Tweak of the Thumb
52. Danny La Rue
53. Stuck in the Tree
54. Clean the Floor
55. Snakes Alive
56. Was she worth it
57. Heinz Varieties
58. Make them Wait
59. Brighton Line
60. Five Dozen
61. Bakers Bun
62. Turn on the Screw
63. Tickle Me 63
64. Red Raw
65. Old Age Pension
66. Clickety Click
67. Made in Heaven
68. Saving Grace
69. Either Way Up
70. Three Score & Ten
71. Bang on the Drum
72. Six Dozen
73. Queen B
74. Candy Store
75. Strive & Strive
76. Trombones
77. Sunset Strip
78. Heavens Gate
79. One More Time
80. Eight & Blank
81. Stop & Run
82. Straight On Through
83. Time for Tea
84. Seven Dozen
85. Staying Alive
86. Between the Sticks
87. Torquay in Devon
88. Two Fat Ladies
89. Nearly There
90. Top of the Shop

And did you know that Tolkien's first choice of a name for Frodo was Bingo?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuesday poem: Strummer Summer. H. Lehndorf

Strummer Summer

All that summer we kissed outside

because we had nowhere inside

to be alone. We had matching Clash t-shirts

and black outlooks. After my shifts
at Seafood Sam's I would pick you up

in my Dad's ute and we'd drive to the river

so I could swim off the chip grease. I'd
light a fire while you showed me the riffs

you'd learned that day on your unplugged
Fender. /I've been beat up, I've been thrown out,/
/But I'm not down, No I'm not down./
I requested
Blondie but you said it was chick-music.

Poking the fire with a stick, the tinny twang

of your dead strings. We thought we had it

pretty bad. Your Dad didn't like me because

I was “the wrong flavour”. I craved city life.
Packed my army bag and left home, but not before

I withdrew half my chip money and bought you an amp.

Helen Lehndorf

For more about Helen, visit Helen Squared.
For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog.
This poem quotes The Clash's 'Train in Vain' which appears in the Kevin Connolly Revolver playlist.
Thanks to Helen for this poem.



Giving poetry the street visibility of punk and rock and roll, Phantom Billstickers is once again launching a new series of poem posters in late April 2010. Placing poems on the walls of cities across New Zealand, the United States and towns and cities everywhere, the intent is to bring poetry to the attention of the world. This will be Phantom Billstickers fourth run of Poem Posters.


The ten new poems will be launched at a ceremony on the 28th of April at the old Government House, University of Auckland, Princess Street and Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland, New Zealand. The event will take place from 5pm until 7pm. All are welcome.


This time an interesting mix of Kiwi and American poets will be featured. From Aotearoa (New Zealand): Chris Knox, well known Kiwi musician, song writer and Beat Mystic. Bill Manhire, New Zealand's Man of Letters and five-times winner of the New Zealand Book Awards Poetry Prize. Tusiata Avia, Pacifika performance poet and current Ursula Bethel Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. Stephen Oliver, poet and voice artist, author of fifteen volumes of poetry including the recently published collection 'Harmonic'. Cilla McQueen, poet and artist, three-time winner of the New Zealand Book Award for poetry and current New Zealand Poet Laureate. Mariana Isara, rising poetry star and winner of the Heritage Christchurch summer poets competition. Then from the USA: Robert Creeley, Black Mountain poet of the Charles Olson school and guardian of innovative poets and poetics everywhere. Gerald Stern, Poet Laureate of New Jersey, recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, US National Book Award winner for poetry and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Michael Palma, poet and translator of Dante's 'Inferno'. Roy Smith, vital unpublished poet from New Hope, Pennsylvania.


Jim Wilson, the founder of Phantom Billstickers New Zealand's poster company, is a keen advocate and committed supporter of poetry and the arts. Jim's aim is to take Kiwi arts to the world. He has worked to post streets and cafe walls with poem posters in places like Baltimore, Maryland, Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee and then through to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. At least a dozen other American cities are also involved, from those in Mississippi State through to New York City. Recently volunteers have been enlisted to place poem posters in Boulder, Colorado and Iowa City, Iowa (close to the Iowa Writers' Workshop which is arguably the top writers' workshop in the States). The city of Berlin, Germany, is also to be added to the list of destinations to feel the heat, passion and beauty of poem posters on its walls. New Zealand, one of the poetry and music hearts of the world, first saw Phantom Billsticker's poem posters in June 2009. Cities and towns throughout the country enjoy a damn good pasting of poem posters and as top Kiwi poet Stephen Oliver puts it: "Poem posters are part of the dress code of any city that recommends itself to its citizens." You can read about the poetry project on Jim Wilson currently lives in New Jersey and may be contacted at In the previous three rounds of Poetry Posters, the poets featured have included Janet Frame, Geoff Cochrane, Campbell McKay, Brian Turner, Jackie Steincamp, Bill Direen, Michele Leggott, Sam Hunt, Gary McCormick, Hilaire Campbell, Jeffery McCaleb, Ben Brown, Michael White, Nicholas Thomas, Tusiata Avia, Pablo Nova, Robert Pinsky, Marcie Sims, Joe Treceno, Lawrence Arabia, Josie McQuail, Jay Clarkson and Sandra Bell. The project has met with widespread enthusiasm. It seems everyone understands a poem poster in the streets. Printing poems on posters is largely about hope. In a world of splitting opinions, extreme violence and never-ending political and commercial intrigue, the aim is to bring Truth and Beauty back into the streets. This is what has been missing. These posters and in fact all posters are truly 'Flora for the Concrete Jungle'. The wish is that people partake and celebrate in the creativity of language. The aim is inspirational and uplifting, the presence of poems in our cities is about re-claiming the world through art. At the April 28th Launch some of the Phantom Billstickers poets will read and the event will be hosted by celebrated poet and New Zealand's inaugural Poet Laureate Michele Leggott. The evening will also feature LOUNGE#13 which is an exciting project run by the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre & the English Department at the University of Auckland. Local poets including Ben Daniels, Martin Edmond, Paula Green, Greg Zan, Zarah Butcher McGunnigle, Sacha Norrie, Jack Ross and Sonja Yelich will read.

"The only thing that can save the world is reclaiming the awareness of the world. That's what poetry does." Allen Ginsberg.

Poetry on Posters Reclaiming the World

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The last avant-garde

Today is the end of the holiday. I worked hard and wrote as much as I could. I finished my short review article and made the deadline and I worked on some new poems. I had some poems accepted for publication overseas and a poem accepted by a small magazine here in NZ of which I'm very fond (more details when they're published.) Let's not mention the rejections. What rejections? Mary MCallum's Tuesday Poem initiative seems to have taken off and I'm asking other poets I know for permission to publish their work on the blog. And I finished David Lehman's excellent The Last Avant-Garde: the making of the New York school of poets, in the words of jacket copy, a "richly detailed potrait of one of the most significant movements in American arts and letters. Covering the years 1948-1966, the book focuses on four fast friends--John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler--the poets at the centre of the New York school." The Beats, really, were all about politics (with the exception of Burroughs): and their work was aimed at somehow changing America. The New York school were far more concerned with aesthetics and experimentation and more hesitant to engage in political polemics. I'll try to get my hands on Koch's techniques and exercises for teaching creative writing because they seem relevant to my teaching practice and I've heard of one two before being used in writing workshops. There's a full review of the book by Paul Hoover at Jacket. I hope that there's not too many errors in this post because Rohan has gobbled our broadband allocation and I'm reduced, due to Telecom's generosity, to trawling about on dial-up.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuesday Poem: In the Garden by R. Alexander

In the Garden

The beekeeper gestures to flowering rosemary,
a stand of dense silver beet,
various shrubs and trees.
“You never see my bees here,
they're off miles away.”
"They've already been to your flowers?”
We regard the greenery and colours.
I wonder what nectar smells like to a bee,
if they can tell it's gone from a metre away,
or need to get close like someone short-sighted
tries to see into a wine bottle
hopeful for a last glass to share.
Something sweet to take on,
like believing you love me.

Raewyn Alexander

For more about Raewyn, visit her Book Council page.
For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog.
Thanks to Raewyn for this poem.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Rachel McAlpine & Apollo at the Ballroom café

Poetry from Rachel McAlpine.

Music from Apollo on the Drums.

Great food & drink for sale.

Open mic
Time:4:00PM Sunday, April 18th

Location: Ballroom Cafe, 9 Riddiford St, Newtown, Wellington
Organised by L.E. Scott and Neil Furby

I rarely talk politics on the blog but I will be making a submission against mining on Great Barrier Island because for me it's a no brainer. If you feel the same you can find information on how to make a submission here.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tuesday poem: Albedo


A terminator line
cuts the moon

like a millionaire cake
into two sharp slices;

white and black.
The earth casts a shadow

across its monochrome twin
who turns so perfectly

in step with our dance
we never see her move.

A vast blanket
of frozen regolith

covers the scarred
brightside face

smashed by a million
meteor punch-ups

and throws
a wash of pale light

over the black tar roof
of the outside laundry.

Harvey Molloy

This poem is from Moonshot and was first published in Takahe.

Regolith: Layer of rocky or icy debris and dust made by meteoric impact that forms the uppermost surface of planets.

The Tuesday Poets lineup

NZ poets

claire beynon
helen heath
tim jones
helen rickerby
fifi colston
paradoxical cat
kay mckenzie cooke
penelope todd
cilla mcqueen - nz poet laureate - who posts monday, wednesday, friday

Overseas Poets

Premium T

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Master and Margarita

Image source: Guardian

A few weeks ago read I got around to reading Mikhail Bulgakov's Master and Margarita and found myself swiftly swept away by Bulgakov's exuberant imagination. The novel clearly demolishes some treasured tenets of Soviet communism; the inherent perfectibility humanity under the dictatorship of the proletariat and the disappearance of the state are both spoofed (ironically, state-sanctioned bureaucrats control and legitimize all literary production much in the same way that the universities do today). The novel has a wild, unfettered quality--you feel like you're riding on the broom of Bulgakov's imagination and it's in that imagination that he places his trust. Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal have now turned the novel into a graphic novel and I'm keen to hunt out a copy.