27 May 2013

Tuesday Poem: 'The Nail' by Therese Lloyd

The Nail

Where I am—generic architecture
like a barn or a bach but
neither of those things
Feral fennel clots the air with ammonia
and the usual marks are everywhere—
burnt stumps and discarded branches
their currency clattering at the night-window

I've made a list of things I will steal:
a Crown Lynn cup and saucer
an ashtray printed with Foxton: the Foxy Town
and a remote control like the one I lost—
but I won't, I will leave this place
cleaner than when I arrived

If I could get things right on a small scale
if I could lay the right things
at the feet of the wooden women
who circle the ladder to heaven
Or reign Foveaux's rusty breath
to skirt these hingeless doors
But my vision is split like a horse's
and my pockets hurt from the fists
I've shoved in them

Round back the muttonbirders are dumping the buckets
of bodies in the kitchen sink
the ovens and deep fryers gearing up a notch
We prepare ourselves by mumbling a song
taught to us this morning
half naïve native, half colonial hucksters
sung to a Beatles tune
Standing on the grass, I let a nail
pushed from rusted metal
pierce the sole of my shoe

Therese Lloyd

This poem comes from Therese Lloyd's poetry collection Other Animals, which was published earlier this year, and which I've recently finished reading.There's a fresh voice in the poems. I particularly wanted to share this poem because there are several bits in it that when I read them I had that twinge you sometimes have when you kinda wish you'd written them.

In case you're nosey to know, they are: 'I've made a list of the things I will steal:/A Crown Lynn cup and saucer/an ashtray printed with Foxton: the Foxy Town'; 'if I could lay the right things/at the feet of the wooden women/who circle the ladder to heaven' and 'my pockets hurt from the fists/I've shoved in them'.

The last of these matches nicely with the the last few lines - the actor and the acted upon are switched - the narrator 'lets' the nail pierce her shoe (and, perhaps, more gruesomely her foot); the pockets are sore, not the fists.

I'm not quite sure what's going on in this poem, but clues suggest a stay on Stewart Island/Rakiura, or possibly one of the Tītī (muttonbird) Islands. It's certainly during muttonbird season. Where ever it is, it seems like the end of the earth.

As well as Other Animals, Therese has also had a very limited edition collection of her work, Many Things Happened, published by Pania Press. She spent a year attending the Iowa Writers' Workshop after being awarded the Schaeffer scholarship, and now is back living in Paekakariki.

And there are more Tuesday Poems, for your reading pleasure, over at the hub: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/.

13 May 2013

Tuesday Poem: 'Thursday' by Paula Green

(for Jenny Bornholdt)

If you look beneath the floorboards
of this poem you might find
endless days of rain and wind
on the Waitākere Ranges.

Between the walls you might see
a garden that needs spring plants.

You might stumble upon
the story of a mathematician
who knits patches for a quilt because she
can never recall what she saw
the month before

or the story of a philosopher
who walks in circles
to seek the meaning of life
or lost things or why the heart
and not the lungs
registers the pulse of love.

My house waits
with its creaking walls
and everything
is the same and then

The wind crackles.
The bouillabaisse needs stirring.
Perhaps it needs more salt.

Paula Green

I can't believe it's launch week already. On Saturday we've got the Auckland launch of The Baker's Thumbprint, and then next week it's the Wellington launch.

'Thursday' is the first poem in the book, and as soon as I read this in the manuscript I was pretty sure this was a book I wanted to publish. It's just gorgeous. My favourite lines are 'why the heart / and not the lungs /
registers the pulse of love', but there are so many more to love. It's a quiet, contemplative beginning to playful and frequently energetic book, but it has several of the themes that continue through the whole - secrets waiting to be discovered, philosophy, place, home and lunch - there's always lots of good food in a Paula Green book!

As ever, more Tuesday Poems await over at the hub blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/.

11 May 2013

Launching The Baker's Thumbprint, Auckland and Wellington

If I haven't invited you already, then consider yourself invited!

We're launching Paula Green's new collection The Baker's Thumbprint (which I am/Seraph Press is publishing) in both Auckland and Wellington on the 18th and 21st of May. Come along to one or other, or both! The launch invitations are below, and the Facebook events are here for Auckland: http://www.facebook.com/events/468081233260334/ or here for Wellington: http://www.facebook.com/events/163956803780493/.

07 May 2013

Tuesday Poem: 'Immigrant' by Fleur Adcock

In the above clip Fleur Adcock introduces and reads her poem 'Immigrant'. She's back in New Zealand for a visit from the UK, to launch her latest book, Glass Wings. I went to see her in conversation with Harry Ricketts last night, and I was fortunate enough to have afternoon tea with her on Friday. We very much claim her as a New Zealand poet - I certainly do, I see her as a foremother of us New Zealand woman poets - and yet she hasn't spent much of her life here in New Zealand. This poem is about a time when she was shedding her (unwanted) New Zealandness, when she'd escaped back to the UK, but New Zealand still had its claws on her.

More Tuesday Poems over on the hub blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/.