18 December 2008

Recent poetry writing

I haven’t been writing all that much lately, or spending enough time by myself in my head, and that always makes me grumpy. I haven’t really done some serious writing since My Iron Spine came out.

So on Sunday I was determined to spend a bit of time on writing stuff. Rather than writing new stuff, I decided to type up the poems that I’d written since the last lot I typed up, some months ago.

I’ve realised in the last year or so that typing up poems from the scribbley things I scrawl in my notebook is a really important part of my whole writing process – it’s when a poem becomes real, and I edit it as I go – rewriting bits, cutting bits, rearranging bits. And once they’re typed, they’re so much easier to keep tinkering with until they’re finished or abandoned. It’s also a bit of a selection process – there are some poems I don’t even bother to type up, because they’re just a bit of a brain dump with short lines, or some other thing that has served whatever purpose it was ever going to serve, and I really don’t need to waste my time on doing anything with it because it simply doesn’t deserve it.

So anyway, on Sunday, when I was done, I found I’d typed up 12 poems – and one of them was actually kind of four little poems in a sequence (to which I plan to add more). I was so proud of myself. Turns out I’d written more that I thought. Pretty much all of them needed some work – some quite a lot – but there were some cool lines in there. And some lines that surprised me – things I can’t even remember writing. My favourite was the lines:

She is a pair of handcuffs
she is a tenuous grip

So after that, I had to write a skitey writing report. Earlier in the year a friend of mine and I were writing weekly reports to each other on our writing. Just shortish things where we say how much writing we’re doing, what we’re working on and so forth. I also say how much I’ve typed up, how many blog posts I’ve written and if I’ve sent out any submissions (which I almost invariably haven’t). I found it a really useful motivation, and record that I am actually doing something. After a several months of rather irregular reporting, I’m going to try and get back to it every week – and hopefully done some writing every week to report on.

09 December 2008

Call for submissions for JAAM 27

JAAM 27 (2009) will be edited by writer Ingrid Horrocks, who currently teaches creative writing at Massey University in Wellington.

The theme for this issue is 'wandering'. As well as work that features literal wanderers and travellers (a mainstay of New Zealand literature) we're also interested work that wanders - works that digress in creative ways from narrative, argument, or genre. Wandering fiction, poetry, and especially, creative nonfiction, should be sent to Ingrid by the end of March 2009 at jaammagazine@yahoo.co.nz or PO Box 25239, Panama Street, Wellington 6146. As always, this issue of JAAM will also be open to general submissions, which should be sent in by the same date. For more information on JAAM see http://www.myspace.com/jaammagazine.

JAAM 27 will be published in the second half of 2009.

08 December 2008

Getting back to blogging, getting back to writing, getting back to myself

I feel like the last few months - since before the publication of My Iron Spine - have been rather busy and a bit crazy.

Work was extra busy as we finished off a theme and prepared for its launch (I work for an online encyclopedia), there were things to do on the book and then the launch, then I got sick and then I went on holiday, and in between there have been lots of things to do for JAAM, which I'm usually behind on. And then the computer went screwy and had a tantrum (ie shut down) every time we tried to connect to the internet.

But now things are looking up - the computer is all fixed (thanks Dad), work is calmer, JAAM things are pretty much done for now, and the evenings are nice and long and so should be perfect for me to restart the writing routine that was working quite well for me, which involved hanging out in cafes and writing a couple of times a week on my way home from work.

I'm planning to throw myself back into my project of writing poems that take films as their starting point, but I can see the project expanding into things more tenuously connected to cinema. Not long ago I had a read over the things I'd written so far in this project, and discovered that I didn't really like most of it. That was a bit disappointing, but also kind of exciting - made me feel that I needed to aim for something a bit more meaningful and satisfying.

Another thing I've been thinking about a bit lately is how many of the people who have said they really liked My Iron Spine have mentioned particularly enjoying the autobiographical poems of the first section. I had felt I was moving away from writing poems that were personal, but it has made we reconsider that - made me think about that value of a personal voice, and consider how I could introduce that in a meaningful way into the kind of thing I'm working on at the moment.

Anyway, wish me luck as I launch back into it all...

02 December 2008

Exciting things

I am still internetless. Sigh... So I'm going to cram several posts into one.

Exciting thing 1: my book in Unity Books
My Iron Spine is now at Unity Books (finally). Yay! Unfortunately it isn't on the poetry end of the NZ books display table - you'll have to go and find it in the NZ poetry section, should you be looking for it.

Exciting thing 2: reading poetry at Paekakariki Fair
On Sunday I had lots of fun doing a couple of short poetry readings at the Paekakariki Fair, with Helen Heath, Tim Jones and Harvey Molloy. We read some poems, sold some books, bought some books, looked at lots of very cool stalls, slathered sunscreen on our burning selves, ate some gelato (at least I did anyway) and generally had a lovely day. Tim Jones has a more detailed account of it on his blog.

Exciting thing 3: poem from JAAM 26 is the Wednesday poem
Laurice Gilbert's fine poem 'Island Bay', published in JAAM 26, was the Wednesday poem in last Wednesday's Dominion Post. Hurrah! And congratulations Laurice.

Exciting thing 4: JAAM 26 is popular
Well, popular enough to need a reprint. We don't have an enormous print run, but it's run out and is being reprinted as we speak.