26 February 2011

The earthquake

It's unbelievable, and all the words I string together about it are kind of feeble in the shadow of it. It was a week spent flicking between things on the internet (I learned early on that I couldn't bear to watch television coverage), and then trying to not keep reading things on the internet, because it wasn't really helping anyone. Twitter really came into its own though - I got better information from there most of the time than from the media sites, and it helped people get in touch with each other and help each other.

Fortunately, all the people I have direct contact with in Christchurch have come through ok. Unfortunately this isn't true for everyone - when I heard on Wednesday that a colleague's father-in-law had died, it really brought it home. What can we say to people who have lost people, or their houses, or their jobs and livelihoods, except we're so, so sorry.

Actually, I've noticed a lot of people have been doing more than that. Straight away people were finding ways to raise money to help. On Thursday I gave some money to a girl on Cuba Mall, who was singing and collecting money, because she just wanted to do something. Some creative people have gotten really creative about this: some local writers are going to publish a fiction anthology, Tales for Canterbury and gamers have put together a bundle of RPGs, both with profits going to help in Christchurch. I think it shows how much most people, despite our own petty selfishnesses, do really care about each other. And, in relation to other events this week, I don't think we actually want New Zealand to be as unequal as it has become.

09 February 2011

JAAM calls for submissions for issue 29

Finally! Woo! It's later than usual, because I've been busy sorting out things, but these things seem to work out the way they're supposed to...

I'm really delighted that Anne Kennedy is going to be our guest editor. For more info, check out the call for submissions: http://jaam.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/call-for-submissions-for-jaam-29/.

07 February 2011

Tuesday Poem: 'severe weather warning' by Vivienne Plumb (and interview)

Vivienne Plumb was interviewed on the Radio New Zealand National Arts on Sunday show, by Lynn Freeman. It begins with Vivienne reading 'severe weather warnings', from Crumple, so that's my Tuesday Poem today. You can listen to it here: http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/art/art-20110206-1448-Vivienne_Plumb-048.mp3.

Vivienne Plumb, with a New Zealand mother and Australian father, has spent much of her life crossing the Tasman. She is one of literature’s all-rounders; as well as six previous collections of poetry, she has written and published plays, short fiction and a novel.

Vivienne has held many awards and residencies, including the Hubert Church Award for a first book of fiction, which she won for her collection The Wife Who Spoke Japanese in Her Sleep (1993), the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship and the University of Iowa International Writing Programme.

Not one to sit still, she is currently dividing her time between Auckland and Sydney, where she is completing a doctorate in creative arts.

05 February 2011

Vivienne Plumb interviewed on Radio New Zealand

As I've just blogged over on my shiny new Seraph Press site (which suddenly seems to have grown 'like' and 'tweet' buttons that I'm not entirely certain I like) Vivienne Plumb is going to be interviewed by Lynn Freeman on the Arts on Sunday show this Sunday (at 2.30 pm). More details on the Seraph Press site: http://www.seraphpress.co.nz/1/post/2011/02/vivienne-plumb-talks-about-crumple-on-national-radio.html (go on, humour me and have a look - I've just managed to get Google Analytics to work on the site, finally, so every visit will make me happy.)

I'm really excited about this interview, and the fact that I have been involved in organising three upcoming Seraph Press-related readings - I'm feeling like maybe I'm not such a totally useless publicist after all.

More details about the readings will follow, but the first one up, which is the most finalised, is Helen Cubed (me, Helen Heath and Helen Lehndorf) at the March Ballroom Poetry Cafe in Wellington.