Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday poem: The Wind and the Caterpillar by Janis Freegard

The Wind and the Caterpillar

the man in the Hokusai print has lost his hat

meantime she keeps on fattening

herself/ so her skin splits// munching

it down/ stuffing it in/ until she’s

27,000 times bigger/ than when she


papers scatter in the breeze

months go by before she wearies of it/

decides to pupate// inside her chrysalis

she’s liquid/ dreams of eclosion/ that

final endless day/ pumping her wings

with haemolymph, soaring forth/ to mate

& lay & die//

leaves escape their branches, learn to fly

About the Poem

I wrote ‘The Wind and the Caterpillar’ during a week in Dunedin, from two different experiences on the same day. In the morning, I went to the butterfly house at the Otago Museum, which was just wonderful. You get to wander amongst trees (or look down on the canopy from a platform) while hundreds of different tropical butterflies fly around you. You can also watch the caterpillars (behind glass) munching away. I don’t know if I remembered absolutely accurately how much they increase in size, but it was by a pretty impressive amount.

Then, in the afternoon, Peter and I went to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and saw (amongst other things) an exhibition of their 18th & 19th century Japanese woodblock prints, which I loved. Somehow the two events fitted together quite happily in the poem and made something else again. The poem was commended in last year’s NZ Poetry Society competition and published in their anthology ‘Moments in the Whirlwind’.


Janis Freegard was born in South Shields, England, but has lived in New Zealand since she was twelve. She is one of three poets featured in AUP New Poets 3 (Auckland University Press, 2008). Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Poetry NZ, JAAM, six little things, brief, Big Weather: Poems of Wellington (the expanded edition) and Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand. She also writes fiction and won the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award in 2001. She lives in Wellington and blogs at

For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog.
Thanks to Janis for this poem.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tuesday poem: Truths by Helen Heath


Let’s not talk about
the whole truth.
Better to let small parts
speak for the whole –
a look, a hand
in the small of my back.
Better to find that
the truth lies
in the smallest things we do.

Helen lives in the sea-side village of Paekakariki, on the Kapiti Coast. In 2009 she completed an MA in creative writing at Victoria University. Her poetry has been published in many journals in New Zealand and Australia. Most recently she's had a chap-book of poems published by Seraph Press called Watching for Smoke. Helen is currently trying to finish her first full length book of poems. She blogs at Show Your Workings and Helen Squared.

For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog.
Thanks to Helen for this poem.

I know that I blogged this on Monday night but I am flat stick.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lee Gutkind with Harry Ricketts

Lee Gutkind appears in conversation with the IIML's Creative Nonfiction workshop leader Harry Ricketts in a public event at City Gallery on Thursday 3 June, 6pm. This event is also free and all are welcome.

Lee Gutkind is widely known as the 'godfather of creative nonfiction'. 'Creative nonfiction stories,' in Gutkind's definition, 'are dramatic, true stories that use scene, dialogue and close, detailed descriptions - techniques usually employed by poets and fiction writers - to examine and explore a variety of subjects: politics, economics, sports, race relations, family relations, the arts and sciences and more.'

Lee Gutkind is the founding editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine and prize- winning author or editor of more than a dozen books, the most recent of which is Almost Human: Making Robots Think. His forthcoming book is a memoir, Truckin' with Sam, co-written with his son.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday Poem story

The play's going great guns so far (break a leg). Here's a story over at Beattie's Book blog about The Tuesday poem: big thanks to Mary McCallum! Great to see Natasha's poem mentioned here. Now, how long will it take for Grease to get out of my head? We had a great opening night . . . all props where they should be, all scene changes going ok, actually, better get back there soon . . .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tuesday poem: Flora life by Natasha Dennerstein

Floral life
for Juliet and Manuela

The camera catches you with your orchid corsage,

blushing, full of hope like a daisy and the flash

snaps you then. Bloodsap flows in the black rain,

a lurching scarlet ranunculus, submerged.

You meet Karl at Club Fragrant, his tulip scatters the

pollen of your phalenopsis, crushes your petals. You

bloom and wilt together. Your love: a bouquet

unclustered, discarded, busted.

Your subtropical times, those strelitzia days, those

tuberose night-blooming years. You have a hidden

bloom and when the first one dies the second bud
flowers and shrivels too, as they do.

You waste your youth like apple-blossom chucked

on the Southerly. You stand proud - a calalily stem -

'til the bacteriae multiply in the stagnant water. Now

gnarled and bent, tortured willow, sapless, spent.

Natasha Dennerstein

Natasha Dennerstein is a Melbourne-born writer who is living and studying in Wellington. She had poetry published in Landfall last year and is currently writing a novel.

Notes on Floral Life.
I am partial to flowers and always wanted to write a poem laden with floral imagery. It started with the dedication to two Wellington florists and I let it tell a wee potted story. I like poems that tell a story with a few details. I love the sounds of words as much as their meanings. The ranunculus is a rather ordinary flower, but I had to use it because its such a fabulous word, with echoes of uncles and strata cumulus clouds. Similarly, the phalenopsis - a kind of fancy orchid - is so exotic with that greek 'ph' and 'ps'. I love the look of the word on the page as well as the sound of it. The wee story evolved of its own accord, starting from a snap-shot of a girl attending a prom and taking off from there to cover love, lust, marriage and ageing: the progress of a relationship. I didn't intend it to do that, but what are you going to do?

For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog.
Thanks to Natasha for this poem.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What I do in my free time

Just a quick note to let you know what I've been up to: I have a few poems coming out shortly. 'Minuit at Sandwiches' will appear in the next issue of the poetry zine Sidestream. This poem is an offshoot of a long online project I've been working on for over two years called 'Il est Minuit' which consists of eighty eight separate stanzas (another offshoot piece 'Il est Minuit' appeared a while ago in the music issue of Brief). The next issue of Enamel will include two poems 'At the four headed dog' and the hopefully comedic 'Bus stop.' (Those of you who have ever taught drama will catch a resonance in that last title). I also have a book review appearing in the next issue of New Zealand Books and some poems appearing in the next issue of the International Literary Quarterly.

This month I'm mad busy as one of the stage managers of the school production of Grease (all our tickets have sold and we open on Tuesday), so I've had long rehearsals but the show's looking great and I like the challenge. And I'm also arranging, with a colleague, a conference of gifted and talented students in the Wellington region hosted by my school which is right after the production of Grease . . . so I'm keeping out of mischief . . . I guess I like to be busy. Finally, I'm looking for poets who would like to share their poems with others on the Tuesday Poem slot here on Molloy. If you're interested, let me know by contacting me via email or Fbook.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuesday Poem: Zoning Out by Miriam Barr

Zoning Out

I am planting hydrangeas
under the apple tree
in my imaginary garden.

the tree yawns its arms
like a dancer rising
whispers sauntering leaves.

I am on my knees in the dirt
separating seedlings for the bed.
the earth is in my hands.

a secret running down my back.

I have the art of dissociation
fading out into a constant breath
the world held out there with all its moving
the blood up in its ears

I can’t even hear you anyway
– the wind here is laughing.

Miriam Barr is the editor and publisher of the totally essential and indispensable poetry zine Sidestream. Long may it reign. For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog.
Thanks to Miriam for this poem.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Tuesday poem: Interpretation. Sarah Jane Barnett



We discuss the paintings of St Sebastian.
In the first he finds respite against a tree,
face passive, one leg forward
and halo jaunty.

You note that his mane of hair looks soft -
like lamb’s down.
I say he could leave at any time,
the bindings loose on his womanly wrists,
the arrows just a Halloween joke.

When we examine the second painting
you unconsciously step back:
his body is crumpled towards the viewer,
his face like wet clay,
the arrows a brutal compass.


I step from my robe
onto the platform.
The teacher swivels a light
and talks about tonality.

As the room heats
a bead of sweat runs slowly
from an armpit down my bare breast:
a distracting tickle.

I focus on faces -
an older man with square glasses,
a slim woman with shapely lips.

At the break I walk the line
of drawings - my eyes stare back
with ten different expressions.

I accuse myself, I am wistful;
in one sketch
the emotion is elusive.

Sarah Jane Barnett is a Wellington writer who is currently doing acreative doctorate at Massey University. Her work has appeared in a range of literary journals such as Landfall, Sport and Takahe and on the e-zines Blackmail Press, Snorkel and Turbine. Her poem, The Drop Distance, was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2007. You can find out more about her

For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Alan Sillitoe obituary

Alan Sillitoe died last Sunday and I've just read his obituary at the Guardian. Around the same time that I devoured Tolkien I saw Tom Courtney's staggering performance in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Why did I see something of myself in Courtney's face? I think somehow this recognition is tied to landscape.