Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
It is mid afternoon and we haven’t gone far.
Ahead of me his hand
pulls back the pear-tree branch.
I duck under and, briefly, a golden pear lies
against my hair, heavy as a chant
in a foreign language. I turn
as though in church again, as though I turned
towards a far
light, a nonsensical chant,
tremendous, opaque, cupping hands.
As though I could lie
along the length of this green branch –
faith. But in that branching
maze I have stumbled every turn.
So I follow the land’s lay
and go too far
for green glass trees and mighty hands
and all those enchantments.
The children start up a plaintive, nursery chant
recalling their own hallway like a branch
from which their bedrooms blossom every night. I take their hands
and both heads turn
towards me but their eyes are far
away back home in their bedrooms where they lie
each night – lie
like little dashes in the long, spell-binding chant
of night. ‘How far!’
they yell. Their arms stiffen like branches
and their hands turn
angrily inside my hands.
He slips free of me and his white hand
darkens a nest where three eggs lie.
They want to wait for the bird’s return.
She starts a sing-song chant.
A bird bobs along a branch.
Too far, it sings back. Too far, too far.
It’s night time and we have gone too far to return.
The lay of broken branches makes a scratchy chant.
The children flush out birds with their quick hands.
Lynn Davidson is the author of three collections of poetry, How to live by the sea, Tender and Mary Shelley’s Window, and a novel, Ghost Net. In 2003 she was awarded the Louis Johnson Writer’s Bursary.
Thanks to Lynn for this poem. More Tuesday poems at Tuesday Poem.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Birdie Bowers’ Hat
Birdie Bowers was universally loved
for his old-fashioned virtues:
hard-work and loyalty, the most
stoic and cheerful member of Scott’s party,
he was the kind of chap the Empire needed
and chewed up
and spat out.
Birdie was the wrong class
to be an explorer or a scientist
but his exploring and his science
won respect from better educated men
whom he kept alive
even after the tent blew away.
Birdie was a wonder because he never felt the cold,
except at the very end, when he had to choose
between survival and loyalty,
and of course he stayed with Scott
in that long dark blizzard, even after Oates
for some time.
Birdie made himself a feral snowboarder’s hat.
In its multi-coloured plumage,
he wouldn’t have been out of place
among maverick mountain climbers,
a century later and he would be
just as loved today,
just as used up.
Meliors writes: "This is the third poem I've written about Antarctic explorers of the Heroic Age. I have spent most of the last year making sculptural relief maps of Antarctica (and now icebergs) out of embroidered blankets (see photo of Ross Island). So I think about Antarctica all the time, looking at photographs and reading anything written about it. But though I can talk endlessly about Antarctic history (friends know better than to set me off), my creative work on it is almost entirely visual.Without actually having been to Antarctica I don't have any stories of my own to tell and so the old heroes seem to be the only way I can write about this continent that so obsesses me."
Meliors blogs at www.meliors.net
Thanks to Meliors for this poem. More Tuesday poems at Tuesday Poem.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Vasari once saw
a destroyed cartoon
for the centre panel
in the background
a young scholar
distracted from reading
by the clamour of the battle.
Faint pencil strokes
a hesitant gaze
as he chooses between
the pleasures of his book
or recording the scene.
show him on the summit
of a distant hill
against a matchstick tree
seduced by the written
while on the fields below
snort at their opponents.
we are told
was a bloody one
the fate of the scholar
This poem has its origins in a writing exercise for Greg Ulmer's inventio class I completed in 1987 when I was studying at the University of Florida. It's all made up of course.
EAT YOUR WORDS
Café Poetry Competition 2010
Here’s a chance to win one of 42 (yes, 42!) prizes by writing a poem about your favourite Wellington café.
The Whitireia Creative Writing Programme has an excellent reputation for developing the talents of New Zealand writers from all walks of life. This year the students have teamed up with 42 Wellington cafés in a poetry competition centred on cafés throughout the greater Wellington region.
We are inviting people to write poems inspired by a café in the greater Wellington region. Cafés can inspire all sorts of poems, about food, about the view, something that happens in the café, a memory – cafés are full of ideas.
The prize for the overall winner is a fantastic lunch for two at Cobar Restaurant in Days Bay*, including ferry tickets to and from Eastbourne. Forty other poets will win a voucher to one of the participating cafés – and they’re some of Wellington’s best.
At the close of the competition, there will be opportunities to publish some poems, and to read them at poetry readings hosted by several cafés.
The judge for the competition is award-winning New Zealand poet Jenny Bornholdt.
The competition runs through September with a closing date of 15th October.
· Enter original, unpublished work only, 30 line limit, maximum 3 poems per person.
· Put the poem on one page; put the title of the poem, your name and contact details on separate page. Email to cafepoetrycompetition@
· There is no entry fee.
The competition is closed to current Whitireia Creative Writing Programme students and tutors.
* not to be used in conjunction with any other vouchers or promotional offers
The cafes who have sponsored this competition are:
Aro Café, Aro St, Wgtn Central
Beach Deli Café, Paraparaumu
Bellagio Café, Hataitai
Butlers Chocolate Café, Willis St, Wgtn Central
Butlers Chocolate Café, Lower Hutt
Café Figg, Petone
Café Kaizen, Porirua
Café Romeo, Upper Hutt
Café Tart, Petone
Café Vella, Plimmerton
Café Villa, Ngaio
Caffe L’affare, College St, Wgtn Central
Chocolate Frog Café, Miramar
Chocolate Fish Café, Shelley Bay
Cobar Restaurant, Days Bay
Drift Café, Waikanae
Elements Café, Lyall Bay
Fig Tree Café & Larder, Heretaunga
Lembas Café, Raumati South
Light House Cinema Café, Pauatahanui
Light House Cinema Café, Petone
Makara Café, Makara
Marrakech Café, Evans Bay
Marsden Village Café, Karori
Martha’s Pantry, Cuba Street, Wgton Central
Nikau Gallery Café, City Art Gallery, Wgton Central
Paekakariki Café, Paekakariki
Parsons Café, Lambton Quay, Wgton Central
Penthouse Cinema Café, Brooklyn
Peppermill Delicatessen, Porirua
Plum Café, Cuba St, Wgton Central
Reikorangi Pottery Café, Waikanae
Seatoun Café & Bar, Seatoun
Sweet Mother’s Kitchen, Courtney Pl, Wgton Central
The Bach Café, Island Bay
The Ballroom Café, Newtown
The Beach Café & Restaurant, Eastbourne
The Big Salami, Plimmerton
The Short Straw Café, Whitemans Valley
The Wadestown Kitchen, Wadestown
Tiki Lounge Café, Lower Hutt
Valhalla Village Lounge and Garden, Raumati South
Good food, good poetry – GREAT TIMES!
Monday, September 06, 2010
Coming up a bit ah … rubicundly from under a half of a wine if you follow,
it’s his otherwise ash-witted queen of what in publishers’ rough back-offices
we call the separatrix or whack, the slash to you ill-typographically washed,
as in mean-slash-funny, and not the solidus-slash-shilling mark which either
I’d find hard to say here or she’d be leaning as obliquely forwards as.
Coming up in a wistful pine only though, an image of some drab dead subeditor’s
pub-lunch she’s weathering under and pining right back at him—I—in her
unimaginable scenario, the sky a ruddy morning apricot out the window of
a warm abandoned Central Otago Post Office. [Should a comma insert there,
so that it isn’t abandoned of warmth but abandoned and warm? Email q to ed.]
But his ashy-slasher lies over an Atlantic, drooling tiny waves, patting tiny
turtles, crushing dark into trenches of unfreezable drowning, as seen from his
aeroplane were he to return to her. She lies in the hummingbird-hot lights and
overpunctuated counties smearing obese out from Los Angeles. He’s here,
cold right hand of a mouse, cold socks and jealous of his earlier clarity
of pine: his überwunderkind, rubicund under a wine.
Nick Ascroft is the acclaimed 2000 debut From the Author of and Nonsense (2003). He has also been an editor of the Dunedin literary magazine Glottis and in 2003 was a Burns Fellow at Otago University.
Thanks to Nick for this poem. More Tuesday poems at Tuesday Poem.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
TAKAHE POETRY COMPETITION 2010
This year our poetry competition will be judged by
FIRST PRIZE: $250 SECOND PRIZE: $100
Two runners up will receive one year's free subscription to Takahe
Unpublished poems of up to 50 lines on any theme will be accepted.
Entry Fee: NZ$5.00 per poem
Each poem should be printed on one side of A4 and posted to:
Takahe Poetry Competition 2010
PO Box 13-335
To be received no later than 30 September 2010.
No email entries, please.
Results will be published in Takahe 71 (December) 2010.
Download the entry form here.
Saturday, September 04, 2010
On the day the quake shook Christchurch Poetry NZ 41 edited by Nicholas Reid, arrived in the mailbox. Along with my poem 'Moth eats word', the issue features poetry by Richard Reeve and, amongst others, Zarah Butcher, Fern G.Z. Carr, Jennifer Compton, Majella Cullinane, Gregory Dally, Shirley Deuchrass, Belinda Diepenheim, Anne French, Josie Charlotte Jackson, Leonard Lambert, Joy MacKenzie, Janet Newman, Mark Pirie, Vivienne Plumb, Vaughan Rapatahana, my old friend Harry Ricketts, Iain Sharp, C.K. Stead, Hayden Williams, Alessio Zanelli.
Photo of Richard Reeve: NZ Book Council.