Cover image: Renee Bevan / Cover photograph: Caryline Boreham
/ cover design: Ellen Portch & Brett Cross
Poetry NZ Yearbook
Editor: Jack Ross
(Volume 1 [Issue #49], 2014)
ISSN 0114-5770. ii + 250 pp.
Auckland: School of English and Media Studies / Massey University, October 2014
- Jack Ross / From Dagmara to Lisa / 7
- Lisa Samuels / Bio-Bibliography / 11
- Lisa Samuels / from In Violet Meridian: / 12
- Judy Garland in Cuba / 13
- A body of received ideas / 16
- Concrete poem / 19
- Dislocalation / 20
- The judge of happiness / 22
- Flesh map / 28
- Cartesian rhapsody / 29
- The golden shovel / 31
- Gesamtkunstwerk / 34
- A biography of Adventure / 36
- Ode: in the body of the message / 38
- Jack Ross / An Interview with Lisa Samuels / 41
- Ai Hao / Coffin / Festival / 49
- Gary Allen / The kiss / The humpbacked horse / 51
- Jim Arkell / I dreamt after being diagnosed with COPD / 54
- Anita Arlov / Bringing Him Home / 55
- Ros Armstrong / Whitewashed Summer / 56
- Ruth Arnison / Partylines / 57
- Terri Ashton / Friday nights, Christchurch 1968 / 60
- Ardyn Janelia Dos Santos Baia / Pt England Bay / 61
- Troy Banyan / So be it / 62
- Robert James Berry / Horses / 63
- Tony Beyer / Li Bai / 64
- Eden Bradfield / we had coffee at pete’s coffee … / 67
- Liz Breslin / old dog down / 68
- Iain Britton / dolphin country / the red balloon / 69
- Owen Bullock / line / 70
- Chris Cantillon / Lancasters / 71
- Liam Campbell / That Night we Drew Whiskers on Ourselves and You Broke Down Crying / 72
- Lyall Clarke / generation gap / 73
- David R. Cravens / Milgram / 74
- Mary Cresswell / Timberline / 76
- Kieran Doody / Black Feathers / 77
- Glenys Doull / Singapore / 78
- Eugene Dubnov / Warming Your Hands / 79
- Rachael Elliott / Breaking and Entering / 80
- Jan FitzGerald / Ticket 250654 RMS Titanic / 82
- Rata Gordon / Do You Know What To Do With A Wall? / 83
- Terry Greatrex / Philosophy – between words and worlds / 85
- Susan Green / Baby / 86
- Charles Hadfield / “untitled” / 87
- Elsbeth Hill / Booster / 89
- Alice Hooton / Max and Lola / 90
- Jan Hutchison / the proverb tree / 91
- Hayden Hyams / The Evening Of The Day Before I Puke Off The Porch (And The Afternoon Of The Day I Do, After I Did) / 92
- Anna Jackson / Thank you for having me, briefly, in your chamber / The girl in brown has something to say / 93
- Ted Jenner / Two Hokianga Poems / 95
- Annaleese Jochems / The Murderer / 96
- Sophia Johnson / Somewhere in the city / 97
- John Kambolis / Nothing Changed / Submission / 98
- Noel King / 22 7 1976 / 100
- Joanne Kingston / Some Hero / 101
- Leonard Lambert / Waltz of the Flowers / 102
- Deirdre Lavery / Songs from the Mekong / 103
- Michele Leggott / Pisces Standing on a Chair / 104
- Christine Leunens / status / 114
- Simon Lewis / Book Person / 116
- Thérèse Lloyd / Part of an Urban Abstraction / On Metaphysical Insight / 117
- Richie McCaffery / Cupola / 119
- Theressa Malone / Red Headed Girl Discovers the Peppermint Mine / 120
- Reade Moore / Mother / 121
- Margaret Moores / Six days in Nelson and Canterbury / 122
- Elizabeth Morton / UFO / Night on the Ward / 123
- Jan Napier / Nullabor Time / 125
- Emma Neale / Soon, Moon / 126
- Janet Newman / rua / 128
- Piet Nieuwland / Kauri Mountain, Kiwi Coast, Ngati Korora / 129
- Keith Nunes / remembering dinner at dinner / fashion show / 130
- Jessamine O Connor / Ten So Far This Morning / 132
- John O’Connor / Kinaxixi (after Agostinho Neto) / Dead of Night (after Manuel Bandeira) / 134
- Tru Paraha / Postcard from Israel / 136
- Chris Parsons / Revelations / 137
- Sarah Penwarden / Titirangi pantoum / 139
- Kerry Popplewell / Last Night / 140
- Jenny Powell / An Invitation to Magic in the Long Grass / 141
- Joanna Preston / Silks / Promenade / 142
- Vaughan Rapatahana / growing up in godzone / 144
- Nicholas Reid / Copperplate / 146
- Jeremy Roberts / Death of a Poet / 148
- David Romanda / Compulsion / My Girl / 149
- John C Ross / Imagining Thomas Jefferson’s daughter / 152
- Joshua Roy-Anstey / Cat-Fish-Rat / 154
- Dagmara Rudolph / Life is Unfair / 155
- Anna Rugis / The Feel of My Life / 157
- Genevieve Scanlan / Cross-Purposes / 158
- Kerrin P Sharpe / a language goes silent / 159
- Fred Simpson / Hymn 131: ‘marching as to war’ / 160
- Tracey Slaughter / from Me & Karen Carpenter / 161
- Laura Solomon / Joan of Arc Sends a Postcard Home / 163
- John Tangney / Rugby Union / 164
- Richard Taylor / “It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie …” / 165
- Loren Thomas / Sea Floor / 167
- Edwin Thumboo / Leaf / 169
- Mike Tolhurst / My Great Grandfather times three met Charles Darwin / 170
- Jamie Trower / a love letter to disability / 172
- Richard von Sturmer / Palaeolithic Excavations in the Lower Dordogne / 173
- Kirsten Warner / Billy last night at Muriwai Beach / Like driving a table / 174
- Wei Sun / OCD and Conversations with Cat / 177
- Elizabeth Welsh / How to pay for woodblock lessons / 179
- Gabriel White / from Aucklantis / 180
- Pat White / Leaving Ireland / 182
- Diane Wilson / Fault Lines / 184
- Landa wo / Ignorance / Ignorance / Ignorância / 187
- Mark Young / A line from Barry Gibb / Resplendance / 190
- Jake Arthur / Poetic Voice and Poetic Personality in the work of Jenny Bornholdt / 192
- Scott Hamilton / Jumping in the drink: Notes on the Tongan poems of Murray Edmond & Richard von Sturmer / 204
- Hamish Dewe / An Introduction to the Millerton Sequences / 217
- Leicester Kyle. The Millerton Sequences. Ed. Jack Ross. Poem by David Howard. ISBN 978-1-927242-28-5. Pokeno: Atuanui Press, 2014.
- Jack Ross / 224
- Alan Brunton. Beyond the Ohlala Mountains: Poems 1968-2002. Ed. Michele Leggott & Martin Edmond. ISBN 978-1-877441-47-9. Auckland: Titus Books, 2013.
- Kay McKenzie Cooke. Born to a Red-Headed Woman. ISBN 978-1-877578-87-8. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2014.
- Craig Cotter. After Lunch with Frank O’Hara. Introduction by Felice Picano. ISBN 978-1-937627-18-8. New York: Chelsea Station Editions, 2014.
- Alison Denham. Raspberry Money. ISBN 978-0-9864529-3-2. Christchurch: Sudden Valley Press, 2013.
- Doc Drumheller. 10 x (10 + -10) = 0: A ten year, ten book project, 20/02/2002-21/02/2012. ISBN 978-0-473-27757-4. Christchurch: The Republic of Oma Rāpeti Press, 2014.
- Eugene Dubnov. The Thousand-Year Minutes. ISBN 978-1-907356-74-2. Translated by Anne Stevenson & the author. UK: Shoestring Press, 2013.
- Sue Fitchett. On the Wing. ISBN 978-1-927242-52-0. Wellington: Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2014.
- Alexandra Fraser. Conversation by Owl-Light. ISBN 978-1-927242-44-5. Wellington: Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2014.
- John Gibb. The Thin Boy & Other Poems. ISBN 978-0-473-27736-9. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2014.
- Rogelio Guedea. Si no te hubieras ido / If only you hadn’t gone. With translations by Roger Hickin. Introduction by Vincent O’Sullivan. ISBN 978-0-473-28658-3. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2014.
- Sweeping the Courtyard: The Selected Poems of Michael Harlow. ISBN 978-0-473-27420-7. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2014.
- Michael Harlow. Heart absolutely I can. ISBN 978-0-473-27647-8. Hoopla Series. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2014.
- Chloe Honum. The Tulip-Flame. ISBN 978-0-9860257-5-4. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014.
- David Howard. The Speak House: A Poem in Fifty-Seven Pentastichs on the Final Hours in the Life of Robert Louis Stevenson. ISBN 978-0-473-28364-3. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2014.
- Leonard Lambert. Remnants: Poems. ISBN 978-1-927242-28-5. Wellington: Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2013.
- Stephanie Lash. Bird murder. ISBN 978-0-473-27649-2. Hoopla Series. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2014.
- Cilla McQueen (in association with the Alexander Turnbull Library). Edwin’s Egg & Other Poetic Novellas. ISBN 978-1-877578-13-7. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2014.
- John O’Connor. Whistling in the Dark. ISBN 978-0-473-29151-8. Wellington: HeadworX, 2014.
- Outloud Too. Ed. Vaughan Rapatahana, Kate Rogers, Madeleine Slavick. ISBN 978-988-13114-0-5. Hong Kong: MCCM Creations, 2014.
- Lee Posna. Arboretum. ISBN 978-0-473-28356-8. Auckland: Compound Press, 2014.
- Helen Rickerby. Cinema. ISBN 978-0-473-27648-5. Hoopla Series. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2014.
- Marie Slaight. The Antigone Poems. Drawings by Terrence Tasker. ISBN 978-0-9806447-0-8. Potts Point NSW: Altaire Production and Publication, 2013.
- Elizabeth Smither. Ruby Duby Du. ISBN 978-0-473-26830-5. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2014.
- MaryJane Thomson. Fallen Grace. ISBN 978-0-473-28152-6. Wellington: HeadworX / The Night Press, 2014.
- Steven Toussaint. Fiddlehead. ISBN 978-0-473-28354-4. Auckland: Compound Press, 2014.
Books & Magazines in brief:
Contributor Notes / 238
From Dagmara to Lisa
Sitting on a park bench is a form of publishing
So says Lisa Samuels in her poem “A Bird in a Plane.”
Exactly what she means by that is another question. I suppose, in a sense, that sitting out in the sun is as good a way as any of making yourself publicly available, conspicuous, which is after all the basic meaning of “publication.”
“Seventeen copies sold, of which eleven at trade price to libraries beyond the seas. Getting known.” Samuel Beckett’s bitter words in Krapp’s Last Tape have struck a chord with many writers, I’m sure. Publication, after all, is scarcely a value-neutral term for either professors or poets in today’s “publish or perish” Academic landscape. Lisa is both.
I knew in advance that choosing her to be the first poet featured under the new regime at Poetry NZ might be somewhat controversial. She is, for one thing, American – a fairly recent immigrant to these shores, though one who’s hopefully now put down roots here for good. And even some poetry connoisseurs have commented to me on the “difficulty” of her work. As if being easy were some kind of duty for writers, to be ignored at their peril!
As so many poets, local and international, have done over the past decades, I sought the wise counsel of Alistair Paterson on the matter. He is, after all, the outgoing Managing Editor of Poetry NZ, and can be forgiven for still feeling a proprietary interest in the journal to which he’s contributed so much time and love for so long.
“Excellent idea, Jack,” he told me. “I was intending to do it myself if I edited another issue.”
So there you go.
But why? Why Lisa Samuels? It’s not as if she needs the exposure. She’s already very well thought of in her twin communities of experimental post-Language American poetry, and the Academic teaching of literature and creative writing. No, it’s not that she needs it – it’s that we do.
I said in my review of her book Wild Dialectics (2012):
The best analogy I can come up with for what Samuels does with language is what Charlie Parker and the other prophets of Bebop did with the preset idioms of Jazz. They got inside the phrases, turned them over, referenced and looped around them, and the result was a newly self-conscious, airy, tightrope-walker’s music. [brief 50 (2014): 152-53].That description may or may not give an accurate idea of the surface appearance of a Lisa Samuels poem, but it certainly leaves to one side the whole question of just why she writes in this way.
That, of course, is where we get into larger questions of what poetry – and poetics – are actually for: the transference of content, or the interrogation of mode? The idea that how we communicate is at least as important as what we communicate is a truism in the post-McLuhan world. It’s actually quite hard to guess what a poetry entirely uninterested in the former would look like. Chopped-up prose, presumably – naiveté speaking to naiveté.
The brute discourses of power are familiar to all of us from the six o’clock news, but it’s the more subtle variants of misinformation and occluded truth in every other form of contemporary language, oral or printed or streamed, which cry out so urgently to be interrogated. And that, it seems to me, is Lisa’s special skill: the reason for the complex soundscapes and Babel-like confusion of her unique and idiosyncratic idiom.
One innovation in this new bumper format for PNZ is the space to include a reasonably lengthy interview with each featured poet. I suspect that you’ll find Lisa’s answers to some of these questions extremely interesting – not just as a series of suggested approaches to her poems, but as a window on her whole project, the intentions behind her multifarious encounters with language.
Another poet I’m especially happy to see in this first issue of PNZ under my editorship, and under the auspices of Massey University’s School of English and Media Studies, is Dagmara Rudolph.
Dagmara wrote to us earlier this year enclosing a poem entitled “Life is Unfair.” Her covering letter included the information that she was an 11-year-old girl, and that she had her parents’ permission to send us her poem. The poem is about bullying, and tyranny, and being misunderstood. It seems to me to achieve exactly what it sets out to achieve, with minimal curlicues and poeticisms.
The moment I read it I was impatient to see it in print, in the hope (I suppose) that its publication might persuade Dagmara that the world is not always an entirely malign place, and that the best way to react to injustice is to put it on record – to do, in short, precisely what Dagmara has done. Or Lisa Samuels, for that matter. It’s no particular accident that these two poets appear to be writing about essentially the same thing.
I should emphasise that I didn’t think Dagmara’s poem was “good for an 11-year-old” or a “good start” – I thought it was a good poem. End of story. All the other poems in this journal are here for the same reason: because I thought each of them, in its own unique way, was just that: a good poem.
There are a number of vital acknowledgements and thanks to put on record here:
First of all, to my Creative Writing colleagues at Massey’s School of English and Media Studies, Thom Conroy, Ingrid Horrocks, and Bryan Walpert, who – together with our Head of School A/Prof Joe Grixti – have helped so much with settling Poetry NZ into its new institutional home. The same goes for the other members of the new Poetry NZ Advisory Board: Jen Crawford in Canberra, David Howard in Dunedin, and Tracey Slaughter in Hamilton.
Secondly, to Alistair Paterson and John Denny of Puriri Press, respectively managing editor and publisher of Poetry NZ since well before the turn of the millennium, for allowing us the opportunity to take it over earlier this year.
Thirdly, to the production team: our Administrator Bronwyn Lloyd, cover designers Ellen Portch and Brett Cross, not to mention the able assistance of Rob Roberts, Marian Thompson and their team at the Massey Printery.
Finally, to all the subscribers and contributors – most noble of all, the subscriber-contributors – who’ve kept this journal in all its multiple guises alive for over sixty years, and look set to keep on doing so for the foreseeable future.
The cover image for this issue, Renee Bevan’s “Stream of thoughts, a whole year’s work” (2012), expertly photographed by Caryline Boreham, shows what happens when you burn a whole year’s worth of your own carefully crafted journals, pulverise the ashes to dust, and then tip the results over your head.
It’s an arresting notion, certainly – a kind of blaze of glory: a moment of confusion and blindness succeeded by light.
I hope you can see the analogy with the kinds of poems included here: sparks of light in an ocean of stultifying babble, laser-beams penetrating the Stygian darkness of our contemporary linguistic wasteland.
This first Yearbook issue of Poetry NZ since 1964 is dedicated to three illustrious predecessors:
- Louis Johnson (Managing Editor, NZ Poetry Yearbook, 1951-64)
- Frank McKay (Managing Editor, Poetry New Zealand, 1971-84)
- Alistair Paterson (Managing Editor, Poetry NZ, 1994-2014)
— Jack Ross, 14-17 September 2014