15 November 2009

Ithaca Island Bay Leaves update

As I mentioned below, I've been pretty busy getting Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: a mythistorima by Vana Manasiadis all finished so I can get it printed. I'm almost, almost there.

I can now present the cover, which features a wonderful lithograph by Christchurch artist Marian Maguire, entitled Athena Observes a Fracas. This image is particularly appropriate as it introduces Greek mythology into a New Zealand context in a similar way to what Vana does in many of her poems.

Marian does this in quite a few of her works, including the series this print comes from (The Odyssey of Captain Cook), and also in a more recent series, The Labours of Herakles, in which Herakles ends up in colonial New Zealand. I'm totally delighted that we're going to be able to launch Ithaca in the middle of The Labours of Herakles (and several ancient Greek vases - safely housed in sturdy cabinets) in the Adam Art Gallery. What could be more perfect! You can see some more of Marian's work on the Papergraphica gallery website.

As a taster for Ithaca, here's the blurb from the back cover:
the ocean is what I’m standing in – one tiptoe on the Pacific rim and one not.
(‘Talking Tectonics’)

Part family exploration, part personal narrative, this haunting and delicate debut collection weaves the mythic into the everyday.

Drawing on her Greek heritage, Vana Manasiadis has Icarus crashing in Wellington storm, Theseus as a DOC ranger, and her grandfather, grandmother and mother threading their way through times, places and incarnations.

Exploring the ex patria feeling of ‘being here and being there,’ she sews together Greece and New Zealand to create a playful and deeply moving journey.


Giovanni said...

Do you have a date for the launch yet?

Mary McCallum said...

I read Vana's poems in draft form and they are fabulous - a clever, funny and moving exploration of what it is to be in two countries at one time - to have two languages, two histories, two mythologies. As a part-Greek, myself, I love the Greek aspect of the poetry, but more than anything I love the humanity that wells up between each clever, complex line.

Mary McCallum said...

Oh and good on you nursing this book through to publication, Helen. And congrats on the amazing cover.

Helen Rickerby said...

Thanks for your comments!

Giovanni - the launch is going to be on the evening of Wednesday 2nd December (just changed it today actually, was going to be the 3rd, but there was a clash).

Mary, I'm glad you love it. You'll probably find it a very similar experience to what you read in draft, but more polished and pulled-together. Also, you'll might see lines you recognise coming up in places that they weren't before, but they'll fit so seamlessly that you might not even realise that they weren't there all along.

Anonymous said...

Wow, well done both of you, it looks lovely!