I've been up to heaps of things lately - possibly too much - and there are heaps more things I ought to be doing. Quite a few of them are poetry-related.
Saw Kate Camp at the Poetry Society
She read mostly new poems, which was nice. I particularly enjoyed her reading of a poem twice. She read it first without telling us anything about it, and while it wasn't a poem that made obvious sense, you could make your own interpretations of its images. A bit later, she read it again, but this time first told us what it was about, the story that had inspired it. It was like a whole other poem. It was clearer in meaning, but less universal. It was quite a fascinating exercise.
Saw Richard Langston at the Poetry Society
Richard Langston combines being a journalist for TV3 with being a poet. He's an engaging reader, and he also mainly read new stuff. I was inspired by his quoting of the end of what I thought was an uncharacteristic Philip Larkin poem: 'The Mower' the hunt it down, and Twitter it: 'we should be careful//Of each other, we should be kind/While there is still time.'
Went to the open mike night at Aunt Daisy's Boathouse Cafe
This was a fun, informal evening, where anyone could get up and read a few poems. Excellently hosted by Mike Eager. I read some poems, listened to some other poems, hung out with some people I already knew, met some people I didn't know before. I'll be back. It's on the last Wednesday of every month, so this month it's next Wednesday, 25th May, from 7 pm. It's at 28 Bay Road, Titahi Bay - it's right next to the beach.
Helping out with the publication of Viet Nam by Jenny Powell
I've been just helping make some final changes to the design file for this new book of poetry by Jenny Powell (formerly Jenny Powell-Chalmers), which is going to be published by HeadworX soon. So I've been lucky enough to have a sneak preview of this collection, which is an imaginative journey to Viet Nam. A Vietnamese teacher came and stayed with Jenny in Dunedin, and she, in turn, wanted to go and visit him in Viet Nam. She was unable to, and so could only travel there in her mind. It's so vivid and specific in it's details and responses, that it's hard to believe she was never there.
Re-reading the manuscript of Ithaca Island Bay Leaves by Vana Manasiadis, which I'm excited I'm (as in Seraph Press) going to publish
This is a gorgeous collection, about Greece, and New Zealand, and her mother, her grandmother and, more subtly, about herself. It also has several playful peices that are reworkings/updatings of classic Greek myths. I'm sure I'll have much more to write about this as the project moves ahead.
That'll do for now. I'm planning to write a post about the book my new imprint Alley Cat Chapbooks published - which means me and the author (my friend Karen) handmade 25 copies of it. It will have photos, and perhaps instructions for hand binding little books.