Monday, February 28, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Erthe took of Erthe

A Middle English poemor is it a riddle?Written around 1400.

Erthe took of erthe, erthe wyth wogh
Erthe other erthe to the erthe drough;
Erthe leyde erthe in erthen through
Than hadde erthe of erthe erthe ynough.

wogh: wrong, harm.
drough: drew, added
through: grave

More Tuesday poems at Tuesday Poem.

Please contact me if you'd like to publish a poem on Notebook. You can leave a message in comments or contact me via Facebook or email.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Helen Cubed

Three great poets I'm looking forward to seeing. Don't miss this one.

Kris Kristoffersen. Sunday Morning Coming Down.

I guess the whole country has an earthquake hangover.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Nonsense Rhymes

On this horrible Tuesday, I think of these nonsense rhymes I learn as a child in Oldham. I remember the word as 'barefooted', not 'barefoot.'

It was a summer’s day in Winter
the snow was raining fast
a barefooted man with clogs on
stood sitting in the grass.
I walked down a straight crooked lane
and saw a dead donkey dieing
I picked up a brick that I couldn't lift
and sent that dead donkey flying.
I went to the pictures tomorrow
I got a front seat at the back
a lady gave me an orange
I ate it and gave it her back.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Revenant and NZ Poetry Archive

This week I was delighted to hear that my poem 'Revenant' has been accepted by Mark Pirie for broadsheet 7 which will appear in May 2011 along with poems by Madeleine Marie Slavick (USA/Hong Kong), Janet Charman (NZ), Anna Jackson (NZ), Emma Barnes (NZ) and Basim Furat (Iraq/NZ). Details are over on the broadsheet blog.

Two new Wordpress sites I've linked to on the blog:

The New Zealand Poetry Archive which has a very useful page of NZ poetry related links including all major print journals and blogs.

Michael O'Leary. The Paekakariki-based poet, publisher and novelist now has his own Wordpress site.

The Rich Rule Us. Rennie Pilgrim feat. Ruth Carr. DecentralizedByGuilt remix.

Says it all really.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Bus Stop by Harvey Molloy

Bus Stop

Cold this morning isn't it? Is that a
meat pie you're eating? Funny how you get
a hankering for a meat pie on an
Autumn morning, get down to the bakery early
to get the best pies otherwise you're left
with those mince savories and garlic sausage rolls
and what’s a mince savory's but a stunted
meat pie? I can tell from the gravy smell
you're a mince pie man; or do I
detect the bouquet of chicken and veal? Only
buy bird and beast pies from the top
of the warmer - that's what our Billy says.
Don't ask me why. You've a strong jaw
and a good set of dentures on you;
the way you attacked that chunk of veal,
Sherman burning Atlanta. Enjoy
your real teeth while you can.
You'd like our Billy but he's more of
a sausage dog connoisseur than a pie man.
Not read Sun Tzu? Weaken the circumference and
the centre falls: nibble the top, peel back
the crust – exactly the same techniques as those
employed in open-cranium surgery Billy says –
he watches the Documentary Channel. The end’s
in sight, just the squishy drippings left. I see
it's a Big Ben pie. Well, at least they're
cheap. Affordable food for the masses and not
American owned. Billy had an old school friend
called Ben. He was a tall feller. Actually
he was a bit of a bastard. A Big Ben
bastard. I caught him once trying
to set fire to cat's tail. He never
came back after that. Look here's the number
twelve late again crawling up the hill.
We've only got a minute to go so I hope
you don't think me forward if I take
the liberty of asking you just one question:
do you mind if I lick your wrapper?

The poem appears in Enamel which you can buy at Unity Books in Wellington or online from Enamel.

The idea developed out of drama game called Bus Stop I used to play with my classes during a short, though rewarding, stint as a drama teacher. In this game two people are waiting at a bus stop and the first one to make the other laugh wins.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wordpress: Broadsheet and Latika

I'm not sure how long I've been blogging. I think it must be a good ten years. (I had an earlier blog I wrote in Singapore under an assumed name.) If I was starting afresh, I'm not sure I'd use Blogger. I can see the appeal of Wordpress for writers. A Wordpress site lets you create a customised menu and your own pages. Wordpress is really a blog sitting on the homepage of your own website. Two new Wordpress sites come online this week: a site for Mark Pirie's Broadsheet poetry journal and Latika Vasil's homepage.

Here's the Mint Juleps. Nothing to look at but close your eyes and listen. Never mind Valentine's Day; let's tell it like it is.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Daffodils by William Wordsworth


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Today's poem is 'Daffodils' by William Wordsworth.

More Tuesday poems at Tuesday Poem.

Please contact me if you'd like to publish a poem on Notebook. You can leave a message in comments or contact me via Facebook or email.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Back to school. I felt more than a little stunned by the first week. I'm sorry that some most valued comments to the blog took a while to post. I can't accept the comments at work and then I get home and forget to approve them. I hope this doesn't cause too much frustration.

This week my poems in Landfall 220 received a favourable review in The New Zealand Herald by John McCrystal as did Latika's story 'The Sand Mandala.' It's a great feeling to have a reader appreciate your work. You can only be true to your writing--just as reviewers must be true to their responses and so you can't get too caught up in good or bad reviews. Still, I hope a good review might help in finding a supportive publisher for the book I'm getting up early in the mornings (really early sometimes) to work on and so more good reviews, please!

I've learnt this on the ukulele. This is Olivia Newton-John's 1971 mimed performance of 'Banks of the Ohio' on Dave Allen's show. Allen looks like a creepy wolf at the end. Yuk.