Monday, June 28, 2010
A stranger on stage, playing the lover,
leaned up to switch off the lamp.
Desire surprised me.
The ad in the mag - his glasses askew
the dolly birds clawed his white coat
for the jewel-coloured bottle
he held it aloft, the heroic vernis à ongles
he smiled such a smile - how a stranger
might smile at someone he knew.
The long slim line of him, oblique and elegant,
on location on the TV set in black and white
wrangling the reptile, ancient enough to cling
to a vestigial third eye from an ancien régime.
Then the genres turned inside out
and we met in the flesh.
Jennifer's notes on the poem:
I don't often write about my husband, Matthew, but this is a poem about him.
Over the years we found that I had noticed him three times, in three different genres, before we met. One was a stage play - The One Day Of The Year - at the Concert Chamber in Wellington Town Hall. I was 14. He played the young anti hero.
And there was an ad in an English mag called Nova, if I remember right. He did the job for money before he returned to NZ. He played a scientist who had invented a new nail polish and dolly birds were clawing at him to get it. He had a most intriguing smile and his glasses were knocked askew.
And then he was a TV reporter on Town & Around and they did a trip to the tuatara island and I remember seeing this slim and handsome young man holding a tuatara - which I thought was a lizard but when I came to write the poem and do my research, I found out was a reptile.
So that is the story behind the poem.
I have been surprised that people have quite liked the poem and have been puzzled as to what they understood from it. because I was deliberately obscure.
PS: I deliberately used jargon terms in the poem - the heroic nail polish for instance - ad executives talk about the hero toilet paper. The thing that has to have the spotlight on it. And wrangling is jargon too. The horse wrangler, the cockroach wrangler etc.
Bio: Jennifer Compton was born in NZ but is now based in Melbourne. Her new book of poetry - Barefoot - is just out from Picaro Press and she has high hopes for her new stage play - The Third Age.
Works by Jennifer at the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre.
More Tuesday poems at Tuesday Poem.
Thanks to Jennifer for this poem.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
On Friday July 16 I'll be reading with two other poets (I'm pretty sure that they are Tim Jones and Robin Fry) as part of the Museum's Sample Season. I'm planning to read all new 'post Moonshot' material.
From Friday 27 August till 29th August I'll be attending the Au Contraire SF con where I'll be having fun and sitting on a panel with Tim Jones on SF and Poetry. I'm planning to read some poems which I haven't read before.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
A rainy Saturday. Taran has learnt to play the opening to 'Redemption 'Song on the guitar. So I find the above on the internet and pass time learning to play the opening; the song proper presents more than a few challenges.
My review of Apirana Taylor's latest book appears in the current issue of New Zealand Books but I haven't received my copy in the post yet.
Links: Uke Club; New Zealand Books.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Joanna Preston is a Tasmanaut poet and writer. Her first collection, The Summer King, won the 2008 Kathleen Grattan Award and has been shortlisted for the 2010 Mary Gilmore Poetry Prize. As well as being co-editor of Kokako magazine, she is a part-time poetry tutor at CPIT, and the slave of a flock of Very Spoilt Chickens.
Joanna's blog is A Dark Feathered Art.
More Tuesday poems at Tuesday Poem.
Thanks to Joanna for this poem.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I'm planing to read at the open mike...
POETRY AT THE BALLROOM CAFÉ
Jennifer Compton is an Australasian poet whose work has been published widely in a number of countries. Recent work has appeared in the Best Australian Poems & Best Australian Poetry series and this year one of her poems will be in Best New Zealand Poems. A book of memoir, Merrimba, is forthcoming.
Carlos Navae singer, guitarist, percussionist Mexican artist Carlos Navae plays regularly at venues & festivals around NZ. He is leader of Cuban trio Son Asere & salsa band Son Clave plus Open Mic & other surprises…
Sunday 20 June 2010, 4pm – 6pm
The Ballroom Café, Newtown
(corner of Riddiford Street & Adelaide Road)
Poetry @ The Ballroom: 3rd Sunday Every Month
For information contact: Neil Furby, email@example.com
L. E. Scott, (04) 801-7773 (daytime)
Monday, June 14, 2010
Each year the charts are different
in 1998 no lines join the dots
to form basic constellations
in an year-long aquamarine sky
the names of prominent stars are set
in lower case
the constellations capitalised
in what looks like 4 point Verdana
how flat, how depthless
the December sky
white blots of correction fluid
on a blue-glazed plate
in 2000 the blank skies are all white
the mapped stars
blots of black ink
squeezed from the bladder
of a gold-nibbed fountain pen
the outlines of rudimentary shapes
patterns formed in a Rorschach test
on the night’s white linen sheet
This is one of the last poems I wrote for book Moonshot. Every year I faithfully buy the Astronomical Yearbook, published by the Auckland Stardome Observatory, and the book was central to the Moonshot poems. The maps are never exactly the same. A lot of my poetry I hear as music, think of as music, and so some of the words here I chose, at the risk of sounding too precious, to resonate with others poems in Moonshot ('blue-glazed' with the poem 'Zeus' and the last line with the last line of 'At the Zoo'). Astronomical maps occur in other poems in the book: 'Moonshot', 'Sea of Rains' and 'The Astronomer's Christmas.' Nothing much happens in the poem at all; no bangs, no surprises, just little movements. I was hoping for something like the atmosphere of Brian Eno's Discreet music.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Press release from Mark Pirie:
broadsheet is a new New Zealand poetry periodical in chapbook form edited by Wellington writer and publisher Mark Pirie.
The aim is to publish high quality New Zealand poetry at an affordable price to readers. This is emphasised by the broadsheet format, which is in between a magazine and a book.
broadsheet: new new zealand poetry is published twice yearly in May and November.
Issue 5 May 2010 - Featuring Harvey McQueen poetry and interview
The fifth issue features well-known New Zealand anthologist and poet Harvey McQueen. Also included is new work by Ian Wedde, Diana Bridge, Tony Beyer, Ron Riddell, Fiona Kidman, Jessica Le Bas, Laura Solomon, Paul Hill, Michael O'Leary and Anna Rugis. As well as an interview with Harvey McQueen, there are new translations of Anna Akhmatova by Wellington translator Margaret Borshevsky.
Subscriptions are $NZ12.00 for two issues. Please send cheques to The Editor, broadsheet, 97/43 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon, Wellington 6011, New Zealand. Overseas subscriptions are $NZ24.00 for two issues. Cheques payable to HeadworX.
Please Note: No submissions. Poems will be solicited by the editor for each issue.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Monday, June 07, 2010
Orpheus and Theodora descend
We turned down the right road
off the highway to
Hamilton and found ourselves
approaching the Land
of the Dead
‘Shouldn’t we be going through it?’ I say
The corpses of trees pattern the
hillside beside my
window, but to the other side are
‘Nah’, he says, ‘it’s the new way, modern
life and all. They’ve built a
bypass around the Land of the Dead, we
can skirt the edges’
The Hidden Valley
contains many mysteries
but you have to cross the lake
to find them
Charon has traded up
his dinghy for a motor boat
TTTHe doesn’t make idle chit chat but
says he will return for us
if we call
We advance up the hillside
steaming water streams down
beside us blocking
all ways but one
boiling water bubbles
up from underground
molten earth stews in
‘That was the source’
he says ‘but this
is the heart’
and he leads me
down, down, down
into the silent belly
of the earth
The poem was first published in Papertiger. Helen Rickerby is a Wellington poet, editor and publisher. She is the author of Abstract Internal Furniture and My Iron Spine and is one of the founding editors of Jaam. Helen is also founder of the literary press Seraph Press. She blogs at Winged Ink.
For more poems visit the Tuesday Poem blog.
Thanks to Helen for this poem.
Once again I posted this early on Monday night . . . but my schedule's busy!
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Wanted: great poetry from around the world
“What is required is simply the masterpiece we'd all write if we could.
There is only one prescription for it: it's got to be good.” Fleur Adcock
(from The Prize Winning Poem)
FOR THE 7TH YEAR RUNNING, Bravado Magazine is announcing its popular poetry contest. Last year a special prize was inaugurated for a previously unpublished poet. Carol Cromie won, and another poem of hers was also Highly Commended. Bravado invites this year’s hopefuls from around the English-speaking world to send us their poems.
Bravado always chooses an experienced poet as judge, and Michael Harlow is no exception. He has published seven books of poetry, most recently The Tram Conductor’s Blue Cap (AUP, 2009), and Cassandra’s Daughter (AUP, 2006). Himself a past Bravado winner, he’s also been a Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton, France and a Randell Cottage Writer in Residence. In 2009 was both Burns Fellow at the University of Otago and the Caselberg Inaugural Artist in Residence. Michael lives and works in Central Otago as a writer, editor, and Jungian therapist. So if entrants need instruction on how ‘to deal with triumph or disaster’ perhaps they can turn to Michael for some good advice!
His task for Bravado is to read all poems as they’re gathered in. Entries are anonymous, and
Michael will choose nine winners. The First Prize is $500; Second $250 and 3rd $150. Five Highly Commended poets get a year’s free subscription to Bravado. All winning poems will be published in the November issue. The closing date is 31st August 2010.
There’s an entry fee of $NZ5 a poem, or $NZ10 for three. You can download a copy of the rules from the website at www.bravado.co.nz
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Sidestream 24, edited by Miriam Barr, arrived in the mail day. Sidestream 24 features cover art by Michael Botur, my poem 'Minuit and Sanwiches', along with poems by among others Stephanie Grieve, Jason Morales, K.A. Phyn, Neesha Bremner, Penny Somervaille, Vaughan Gunson, Doug Poole, Ila Selwyn, the Marquis Prasad and Rangi Faith.
I'm a huge Sidestream fan so I'm very honoured to be in the Zine.