Monday, March 28, 2011

Tuesday Poem: In Shackles by Laura Solomon

In Shackles

There must be some way out of this.
Iron cuts my wrists.
Around one ankle, a ball and chain.

I have been sitting here since the last ice age.
Nobody guesses how old I am.

They think one, maybe two hundred years;
my hair matts, my fingernails twist, gnarled –
my eyes roll back in my head,
a leper imitating prophesy.

For five quid, I’ll tell you your future.
You may not like what you hear.

O my dear, I will tell you the truth.

I am out of time. I don’t think, I just do.

Like the sun, I burn;
sparks fly from the fire at my feet,
what care I about these chains,
I don’t mind this servitude –
spitting, hissing like Caliban,
formulating, for centuries, escape plans.

The law was handed down.
Join forces underground.

Go on, spit in my eye and I’ll tell you your future;
you’ll die, I will never grow old.

Laura Solomon from In Vitro (2011).

About the Author Laura Solomon’s published books are Black Light (Tandem Press, 1999,NZ), Nothing Lasting (Tandem Press, 1997, NZ), Alternative Medicine (Flame Books, 2008, UK), An Imitation of Life (Solidus, 2009, UK) and Instant Messages (Proverse Publishing 2010, Hong Kong). She has twice won a prize in the Bridport competition and has won prizes in the Edwin Morgan International Poetry competition, the Ware Poets competition and Essex Poetry Festival competitions. The two sequels to Solomon’s novel Instant Messages (which won the Hong Kong Proverse Prize 2010) are ‘The Theory of Networks’ and ‘Operating Systems’, and have been accepted as e-books by Proverse Publishing, Hong Kong. Her new novel ‘Hilary and David’ has also been accepted as an e-book by Proverse Publishing, Hong Kong.


In Vitro information.
Beattie's Book Blog on In Vitro.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ruth's Book

Ruth Carr, the lead singer and lyricist for the band Minuit, has just published a book of poems, lyrics, one-liners and drawings entitled I felt like a fight, alright. Ruth book, which reminds me a little of John Lennon's In his own write, stands as a wonderful introduction to poetry. I've admired Ruth's lyrics for years and so it's great to finally have a book that supplements the CDs. The book has many features of an art book in that Ruth has combined sketches with poems, stories and one liners. Typography plays a part, some lines set in courier, other pages are handwritten. Carr is a master of understatement and the book reads as part notebook, part songbook. It's the one liners that stay with me:

"I may be falling off the cliff, but I'm still dancing."
"we lost many things we couldn't quite name."
"let's die honest."

It's a must for any school library or for anyone aspiring song writer.


Beattie's Book Blog review of the book.
Graham Reid's review.
Buy the book at Minuit.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Abseiling At the Ellice St Quarry by Laurice Gilbert

Abseiling At the Ellice St Quarry

Turning my back on the light year
separating me from the city,

I let my feet find the wall
- walking as a spider walks -

suspended by ropes I can only hope
are stronger than gravity.

Things with wings rocket from bushes
that have no right to grow

so far from the security
of a horizontal plane.

A century flashes by
and I’m back in Wellington,

sustained once more by her skyline,
smiling the width of a galaxy.

Laurice Gilbert

Laurice is the hard working president of the New Zealand Poetry Society. You can more about her here. Thanks to Laurice for the poem.

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, March 12, 2011

Potlatch 20

All this terrible news: after experiencing two mild quakes here in Wellington this month the pain in Tokyo and Christchurch hits hard. I watch the news then switch it off. At school, we raised money for Christchurch with some colleagues really putting in the work to organise raffles. I was almost tempted not to post today, to stop the blog for a while, to get on with the marking. But life goes on. The good news this week is that I received my Potlatch 20 t-shirt and the Potlatch programme which has published my poem 'The next ten thousand years.' Science fiction, fantasy and poetry are all passions from my teenage years and seeing my poem in the programme connects me with my ten-year old self. There's a part of me which loves SF/Fantasy and poetry and this is a very odd real fannish love which I never want to lose. I felt a similar feeling at the launch of Siobhan Harvey's book Lost Relations this week. All the people at the launch are poetry lovers--you could feel it in the room. There's not much money in poetry or kudos for most of us but we do it because we find so much pleasure (and toil) in the work. Siobhan read beautifully and Roger Steele gave me a pile of books for the school library.

Ian Drury and The Blockheads. Inbetweenies. My favourite Drury song: "As serious as things do seem/at least you put me on the team." More inbetweenies please.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Tuesday Poem: 'Prodigy' by Charles Simic

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, March 05, 2011

Interliq 14

This week 'The Exorbitant' and 'Diwali' appeared in the Interlitq 14. Both of these poems are published in Moonshot. Latika Vasil's short story sleep also appears in this issue.

We're in good company. Here's a list below of other contributors to the issue:


Marisa Cappetta
Biological Name for Moth

Mary Cresswell
You, Now That It Is Safe
The Visitors

David Eggleton
Graveyard School
Lines at Wharf’s End

Laurice Gilbert
Cornwall, Ontario

David Gregory
Any of These
Listening at the Mouth of the Flower

Charles Hadfield
Where To Now

Siobhan Harvey
Tension at the Airport
The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator’s Wife
My Sister Writes Poetry

Kevin Ireland
Onward Citizens

Helen Lowe
One Day
Australia Post

Cilla McQueen

Mark Pirie
Edward Tregear

Margaret Ranger
The Old City
Distant Pain

Harry Ricketts
Quarantine Island, Dunedin
At the Getty

Ron Riddell
Other Tribes
Seaside Vaudeville
An Empty House in Titirangi

Richard Von Sturmer
The Book of Equanimity Verses

Niel Wright
Jason and Medea


Coral Atkinson

Graeme Lay
A Natural Man

Kate Mahony
A Good Person

Sue Orr
The Open Home

Tina Shaw

N.I.T.A by Young Marble Giants.

Nature intended the abstract.
The earth shakes twice in the night. I wake up
about three minutes before the second tremor.
We raise money at the school for the quake survivors.
We prepare our emergency kit.
I finish a draft of a poem and start work on The Wanderer.