31 July 2010

Launches and launches: part 2

My week of launches (ok, so actually only two launches) began with the launch of the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa, up in Northland (the Wellington suburb, rather than the region), which was lots of fun.

Possibly the coolest thing about it was the venue. It was held in an old hall - the St Anne's Schoolroom - which apparently privately owned now. Its gorgeous and homely, with large windows which let the sun stream in, and full of lots of couches. It made me have a sudden desire to own a hall.

As well as a launch for the archive itself, it was also a launch for the archive's first publication, an anthology Rail Poems of New Zealand Aotearoa, and a collection by one of the founders of the archive, Niel Wright: The Pop Artist's Garland. Nelson Wattie did the launching, and there were readings from both books, and in fact a singing - Ron Riddell did a rendition of Peter Cape's 'Taumaranui on the Main Trunk Line', with most of my fellow audience members joining him on the chorus.

Afterwards I got to have a nose around the archive itself, which is housed next door. They're trying to collect as much New Zealand poetry as possible, and are keen for donations. Already they have around 3,000 volumes. While not yet comparable to The Poetry Library in London or The Scottish Poetry Library, it has similar aims - to value and protect poetry. Hopefully it will outgrow it's current home one day.

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