26 July 2011

Tuesday poem: Untitled poem by me

This Tuesday poem is rather late, but hey, it's still Tuesday.

I'm posting this one (which is from Abstract Internal Furniture) for two reasons. Firstly, because when I began my talk to the unsuspecting Newland's College junior students, I started with this poem, and they seemed to like it. I introduced it as a poem about a friend of mine who had a sucky boyfriend. My second reason for posting it is because that same friend, who now lives in the UK, came over for lunch on Sunday with her husband and kids. She now has a very nice husband, which is a vast improvement.

Check out all the other Tuesday poems here: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/.

24 July 2011

Poets on radio

Two wonderful poets, Jennifer Compton and Anna Jackson, were on the radio this morning on the Arts on Sunday show, talking, presumably, about their new poetry books. You can listen to them here, just as I am about to: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/artsonsunday/20110724.

23 July 2011

A poem of mine elsewhere

I was really delighted that Janis Freegard published my poem 'Stranded in Paradise' from Heading North as her National Poetry Day Poem yesterday. You can read it here: http://janisfreegard.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/national-poetry-day-poem-stranded-in-paradise-by-helen-rickerby/

22 July 2011

Poetry Day Poem: 'Poem without the L word' by Helen Lehndorf

Poem without the L word

My little black cheese.
My heart-shaped river stone.
My enamel bento box.

My odd sock.
My yard bird.
My dearest speck.

Oh curly one.
Oh restless leg.
Oh sweet and sour.
Oh sifted flour.

My warm brown egg.
My coffee pot.
My mulch, my humus,
my thick layer of good rot.

You lush and lilting.
You wreckless eric.
You converse classic.

Every hour, on the hour
on 45, 33
and on imported, limited-release EP.

Happy National Poetry Day!

Last week, on Friday, I did one of the most terrifying things of my life. At least, it would have been terrifying if I had really allowed myself to think about it - but I feared the terror would be disabling, so I mostly didn't think about it. I went back to high school.

Harvey Molloy had asked me to judge the poetry competition he runs at his school, and then asked if I'd be willing to talk to the junior students about being a poet and publisher, and then run a writing workshop - both things I'd never done before. I think it all went well - the children didn't riot in the hall, and the kids in the workshop were great and seemed really engaged. As part of the workshop we looked at list poems, and I got them to come up with different ideas for list poems (they had some really good ones! I wrote them down so I could steal them), and then start writing them (though we ran out of time).

I took along some examples of list poems, and one of them was 'Poem without the L word'. They liked it, but at the end a few of them chimed that they didn't understand the last bit - they didn't know what an EP was! 'Ah! You won't even know what a record is, will you?' These kids probably don't even own CDs!

They got the point though - the way of saying something without saying it, which is kind of what I think poetry is - or perhaps saying something, while also saying something else.

I love that the things Helen lists, things she loves - or rather, things the narrator of the poem loves (let's not confuse these two things) - are so particular - and some of them are kind of odd. No one else's list would be quite like this. I also really love the rhythm and rhyme she sets up in this poem - it's playful, and not overdone.

Helen Lehndorf is a poet and writing teacher from Palmerston North, and is someone to watch. I would say that of course, as later this year I'm (as Seraph Press) going to publish her debut poetry collection, The Comforter. But then, I wouldn't be publishing it if I didn't think that. You can find out more about her here on her official Helen Lehndorf, Writer page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Helen-Lehndorf/220615784632554.

13 July 2011

My poem elsewhere

I'm delighted that Tim Jones has published by poem 'This is the way the world ends' as his Tuesday poem this week: http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.com/2011/07/tuesday-poem-this-is-way-world-ends-by.html.

The poem was inspired by the film Southland Tales, which I love and pretty much everyone else in the world hated. Except the audience I saw it with at the film festival, who erupted into spontaneous applause at the end. It's a kind crazy movie. Tim describes it as if Tarkovsky was combined with Michael Bay and given millions of dollars to make a movie. That's pretty accurate.

11 July 2011

Launch of Anna Jackson's new collection Thicket

Instead of a Tuesday poem this week, here is an invitation to the launch of Anna Jackson's new poetry collection, Thicket. There's more about the book on the AUP website, and here's the poem I posted on the Tuesday Poem blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/2011/06/margo-or-margaux-by-anna-jackson.html.

The invite:
You are invited to come and help me launch Thicket by drinking wine, eating olives and listening to a few poems
at the Stout Research Centre
12 Waiteata Rd
5 – 6.30ish, Friday, 15 July

10 July 2011

Vana Manasiadis talks to Kim Hill about what's going on in Greece

My dear friend Vana, whose book Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: A Mythisitorima I/Seraph Press published in 2009, was on the radio yesterday morning talking to Kim Hill about the situation in Greece at the moment. Vana has lived in Crete for the last few years, but is currently spending time in Athens. She talked about what it's like in Athens at the moment and gave a background to Greece's economic troubles. Most interestingly, to me anyway, she talked about the grassroots movement, the 'Aganachtismeni', which has been holding general assemblies around the country, and particularly in Athens. You can listen to the interview on the Radio New Zealand website: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/20110709.

04 July 2011

Tuesday poem: 'Second Person to Drown' by Emily White

Second Person to Drown

There is only one
Poem of the Sea about you.
It’s not exactly a Poem of the Sea
so much as it is a Poem in the Sea but
it’s still about you and anyway it goes like this:

You can’t feel its pull but you know that the
tide is taking you somewhere, and it doesn’t
matter. You are plankton. You are scattered
around in little pieces. You can breathe just fine
but all around you is the sound of drowning.

Little fishes tickle your face. It seems like
they are everywhere, and they mesh around your
body like a net. You curl into a crescent. You
feel the watery salt arms of the ocean encase you,
you touch your hair and it’s seaweed now; a
kelpy squelch against your wrinkled palm.

You think you know that you are not plankton,
but since you aren’t near the shore anymore,
you might yet be plankton, in little pieces,
rolling through water on your tummy,
your microscopic tummy –

riding an invisible tide, and
a wet claw that drags you
to the sea floor.

Emily White

This is one of the poems in the chapbook I helped make the weekend before last. There were lots of lovely poems, but this is one of the ones that struck me the most. I love how it starts - with a sort of prologue, with a bit of shuffling almost - a little bit of wry humour. I wonder who it is addressed to. And then begins the poem within the poem. It's beautiful and creepy and, I think, a very light sea-green. I particularly love 'You are plankton. You are scattered/around in little pieces.' The poem floats around, like the subject of the poem. The drowning person becomes part of the sea, remembers they don't belong in the sea, grow again into a sea creature. And then the poem ends with that 'wet claw', which I imagine to be enormous and black against the pale sea green.

Emily White is an honours student in English literature at Victoria University. I expect we'll see more of her poetry in the future.

And for more Tuesday poems, visit the Tuesday Poem hub: http://www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/

02 July 2011

What I did last Saturday

I made a book! Actually, I made a couple of books, and several other people made more books as I taught them how.

The book was a little chapbook called Green Man Running, and the other people were my friend Anna and some of her students. Anna's been running an honours course in poetry and poetics this year, which sounds awesome enough by itself, but the students have been also writing their own poetry. Some of them had previously written poetry, but for some of them it was their first go.

Green Man Running has two poems from each of them. It was the fastest publishing process ever - Anna sent me the poems on Friday afternoon, I typeset them quite late on Friday night after mooching around on the couch watching some kind of rubbish television with Sean for most of the evening, sourced the paper on Saturday morning, printed them early on Saturday afternoon, and we folded and sewed them into books later in the afternoon, and were all done by afternoon tea time. This is result:

They were very excited to be in their first book, and a gorgeous book it is too, if I do say so myself. It was fun to make it, and I so much enjoyed hanging out with them and reminiscing about honours - it was my favourite academic year, even though it seriously fried my brain (though that was more at the end when I had to do five exams in less than two weeks).

There were two cover choices - cream paper or white, and they were all bound with a green hemp thread.

The thread colour doesn't come out so well in that photo.

Here's the tour of the book, from the beginning, middle to the end:

Inside cover, showing off the green cover card.

The contents page. Just like a real one.

It's still not that easy to tell that's green thread, is it? Or maybe it's just that my monitor is so crap. Anyway, it's a sort of forest-green colour.

It even had a contributor-notes section, which was particularly cool because they were written by other students, and tended to have a rather surreal tone.

There were some really great poems in there, and I hope to be able to share one or two as a future Tuesday poem. And I expect to see some of their names around in the future.

The easiness of making these books led me to make another wee book for a couple of work colleagues who left last week. In fact, I might make all of Seraph Press's books like this from now on - all I need is a good photocopier! Actually, from my previous experience, it can take a lot of time to make handmade books, but, then again, many hands makes light work and it's a fun thing to chat around a busy book-binding table.