30 August 2011

In place of a Tuesday Poem

I've just come back from a few wonderful days in Gisborne, where it was so hot and sunny. So I haven't sorted out a Tuesday poem again this week.

I'm delighted that my poem 'Enchantress of Numbers' is the Tuesday poem over on Helen Lowe's blog this week: http://helenlowe.info/blog/2011/08/30/tuesday-poem-enchantress-of-numbers-by-helen-rickerby. Helen is one of a peculiarly large number of NZ poet Helens (obviously it's a poetic name...), and she also writes novels and short stories.

There are lots more Tuesday poems for you to read via the hub blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/. Also on the hub blog you'll find a poem by Peter Olds, whose latest book Coming Ashore was launched last week, the night after he recieved the Prime Minister's Award for poetry.

15 August 2011

Tuesday Poem: 'Three Hummingbirds' by Janis Freegard

Three Hummingbirds

My mind is full of aspidistras. I went to the house of
the glorious witch. We ate hummingbirds’ eggs and
small slices of persimmon glazed with honey. I wanted
her to teach me how to fly, but all I could say was
‘aspidistras’. In the courtyard, hummingbirds hummed –
a sad tale of missing eggs. I took the hand of the
glorious witch. We walked together among the
persimmon trees. ‘Teach me how to dream of
aspidistras,’ I begged her. She laughed her honey-
glazed laugh and then, and then, we were flying like
hummingbirds, high above the courtyard.

In the white stucco room with the man from Japan, we
listened to some wilder shade of green. I sensed the
presence of mules, underground. The man from Japan
performed magic tricks with a cigarette. There was a
cup on top of his wardrobe and I said: there’s a cup on
top of your wardrobe and he said: it’s got spaghetti in it.
I haven’t laughed so much since I learned to fly. The
underground mules toil subconsciously beneath the
motorway. I’m wondering how far until breakfast.

Two days ago I was floating beneath the surface
wondering whether to come up for air and today I’m all
hummingbirds. My garden is full of persimmons and
cups of spaghetti. I have flown with a witch until
breakfast. A man from Japan made a white stucco room
disappear which has got to be a good thing. I have
played with mules and danced through aspidistras. Our
minds, unfortunately, have minds of their own. Three
hummingbirds. All humming.

Janis Freegard

A few months ago I went to the launch of Kingdom Animalia: The Escapades of Linnaeus, Janis Freegard's debut collection of poetry (published by Auckland University Press). At it she was dressed up quite fantastically, including wearing a mask with a very long beak- you can see her wearing it in this video of her reading a 'The Icon Dies' on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfS_b52SBNE.

At the launch she also read the poem which I think is my favourite in the collection - 'Three Hummingbirds'. Thanks Janis for letting me share it. I enjoy it's energy, it's sort-of narrative thread, but most of all the surrealism. Though, there may be more realism to it than I suspected: Janis says 'the cup of spaghetti on top of the wardrobe and the magic trick with the cigarette come from a real life incident.'

Janis Freegard was born in South Shields, England, but has lived in New Zealand most of her life. She has a science degree from The University of Auckland, with Honours from Victoria University of Wellington. Her work was included in AUP New Poets 3 (2008) and, also a prose writer, she won the BNZ Katherine Mansfield short story competition in 2001. Freegard lives in Wellington, New Zealand with an historian and a cat and blogs at http://janisfreegard.wordpress.com.

Check out the other Tuesday Poems, which are appearing already, via the Tuesday Poem blog.

13 August 2011

Poetry stuff goin' on

Monday 15 August: Joy Harjo

Born in Oklahoma, with a Muskogee Creek heritage, Joy Harjo is an internationally known poet; a performer, a writer (of plays among other things), and a saxophone player. She has received many awards for her poetry including the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her books include: ‘In Mad Love and War (1990); ‘She Had Some Horses’ (reprinted 2008); and most recently ‘How We Became Human: new and selected poems’ (W. W. Norton & Company 2002). She has released three award-winning CD’s of original music. Until recently, she taught at the University of New Mexico. She has spent many years in Hawai’i. Read more about her, listen to her poems at : www.joyharjo.com

Patricia Grace will chair this session.

Writers on Mondays is presented with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and additional support from Circa Theatre and City Gallery Wellington. These sessions are open to the public and free of charge.

Date Monday 15 August

Time 12.15-1.15pm

Venue Te Papa Marae, 4th Floor, Te Papa 9 (note: no food may be taken into Te Papa Marae)

Monday 15 August: Kay McKenzie Cooke

The New Zealand Poetry Society is pleased to present Dunedin poet Kay McKenzie Cooke. Kay is a poet and short story writer with an extensive background in the early childhood sector. She won the Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for her poetry collection, Feeding the Dogs, at the 2003 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Her poetry has also appeared in a range of literary journals and magazines, as well as anthologies. Her second volume of poetry, Made for Weather, was published in 2007.

The evening starts with an open mic, and there is a small door charge of $5 ($3 for NZPS members).

7.30pm, The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St, Thorndon

Sunday 21 August: Alex Staines

Guest Poet: Alex Staines
Guest Musician: Steph Casey
Plus: Open mic (from 4pm)
Time: Sunday 21 August, 4 - 6pm
Place: The Ballroom Café, cnr Riddiford St & Adelaide Rd, Newtown

11 August 2011

I was inspired by this

From an article talking to the winners of this year's book awards. Kate Camp said:

Inspired a couple of years ago by a visiting Canadian poet with a big ego and boundless ambition, she decided to follow her instincts wherever they led her. The resulting collection is "not particularly user-friendly", she says, "even the title's a little bit difficult ... To think that you can be just going off in your own direction without much regard for whether anyone's going to be following you there, and then for it to get a really positive response is amazing."
Yay for going your own way!

08 August 2011

Tuesday Poem: 'If this is the future...' and Eye to the Telescope

I apologise for being such a slack blogger. I have once again not organised any of the many poems from other poets that I intend to ask permission to post.

Instead, my Tuesday poem is a poem by me, called 'If this is the future...', which you will find in the second issue of Eye to the Telescope, the Science Fiction Poetry Association's online journal of speculative poetry: http://eyetothetelescope.com/archives/002issue.html (my poem is the first one in the issue).

I wrote this poem last year, about the very peculiar way I was feeling before Sean had some surgery. (It turned out to be nothing like how I imagined - it was actually much less horrible than I expected.) After I wrote it, I thought, 'Hey, that's a science fiction poem!' and thought that if I'd written it earlier I could have submitted it to Voyagers. So when Tim Jones said he was editing the second issue of Eye of the Telescope, which was to have a focus on New Zealand and Australian poets, I immediately thought of this poem. You can read a media release about Eye of the Telescope issue 2 here: http://beattiesbookblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/eye-to-telescope-2-robots-time-machines.html

And you'll want to go an have a nose at the other Tuesday poems, which are already popping up, via the blog here: http://www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/