Design by Jo Bailey /
Typesetting by Megan van Staden
Poetry NZ Yearbook 2020
Editor: Johanna Emeney
ISBN 978-0-9951229-3-2. 360 pp.
Auckland: Massey University Press, March 2020
- Johanna Emeney / How the poems choose you / 10
- essa may ranapiri / 12
- Haunt / Hunt
- poetry under capitalism / 14
- my dream of a nonbinary prison / 15
- that flaming brand / 17
- the world is in death swings / 18
- a cold sting / 19
- by the grace of god / 20
- swimming / 21
- intimacy / 22
- it is what these words tell me daily
it is what they need from me that hurts the most / 23
- you tried to kill yourself / 24
- my tupuna / jesus of nazareth / 26
- Boulder/Meteor / 28
- the carpenter / 29
- in the shade / 30
- took their solitary way / 31
- Modern-day Poi / 32
- General Electric as an All-Powerful Immortal Being / 33
- the end of Hawaiki / 35
- Headline / 38
- borrowed blue pale dead / 39
- out/or not out / 40
- Restless Land (afer Dinah Moengarangi Rawiri's 'The Resting Islands') / 41
- loveletterunderdarkness / 42
Into the water
I will take natural orders
No hay remedio
Other side up
Remember to understand love
- Lynn Davidson / For my parents / 200 Second prize:
- Janet Newman / Drenching / 202 Third prize:
- Michael Hall / Fencing / 203 Highly Commended:
- Paula Harris / The first 146 minutes of knowing Rawiri / 204
First prize (Year 11):
- Poppy Hayward / ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ / 207 Joint First prize (Year 12):
- E Wen Wong / Boston Building Blocks / 208
- Annabelle Fen / October / 209 First prize (Year 13):
- Phoebe Robertson / She is / 210
- Heather Bauchop. Remembering a Place I’ve Never Been: The Past in Three Voices. ISBN 978-0-473-45367-1. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2018. RRP $30.00. 100 pp.
- Jenny Bornholdt. Lost and Somewhere Else. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2019. RRP $25.00. 75 pp.
- Janet Charman. 仁 surrender. ISBN 978-1-98-853110-6. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2017. RRP $27.50. 118 pp.
- Nicola Easthope. Working the tang. ISBN 978-0-9951107-2-4. Wellington: The Cuba Press, 2018. RRP $25.00. 88 pp.
- Murray Edmond. Back Before You Know. Auckland: Compound Press, 2019. RRP $20.00. 74 pp.
- John Geraets. Everything's Something in Place: Writings 1980-2015. Auckland: Titus Books, 2019. RRP $42.00. 326 pp.
- Alison Glenny. The Farewell Tourist. ISBN 978-1-98-853129-8. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2018. RRP $27.50. 112 pp.
- Michael Harlow. The Moon in a Bowl of Water. ISBN 978-1-98-853129-8. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2019. RRP $27.50. 80 pp.
- Saradha Koirala. Photos of the Sky. ISBN 978-0-9951107-4-8. Wellington: The Cuba Press, 2018. RRP $25.00. 58 pp.
- Wes Lee. Body, Remember. ISBN 978-1-911335-54-2. Lorgnette Pamphlet Series. London: Eyewhere Publishing, 2017. RRP £6.00. 34 pp.
- Owen Leeming. Through Your Eyes: Poems Early and Late. ISBN 978-0-473-44419-8. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2018. RRP $19.95. 50 pp.
- Mary McCallum. XYZ of Happiness. ISBN 978-0-9951092-2-3. Submarine. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2018. RRP $25.00. 68 pp.
- Robert McLean. Figure & Ground. ISBN 978-0-473-45084-7. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2018. RRP $19.95. 52 pp.
- Cilla McQueen. Poeta: selected and new poems. ISBN 978-1-98-853128-1. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2018. RRP $39.95. 296 pp.
- Michael Morrissey. Poems from Hotel Middlemore. ISBN 978-0-473-43853-1. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2018. RRP $19.50. 38 pp.
- Robin Peace. A Passage of Yellow Red Birds. ISBN 978-0-9951092-6-1. Submarine. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2018. RRP $25.00. 80 pp.
- essa may ranapiri. ransack. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2019. RRP $25.00. 96 pp.
- Vaughan Rapatahana, ed. Ngā Kupu Waikato: An Anthology of Waikato Poetry. Hamilton: Waikato Press, 2019. RRP $15.00. 96 pp.
- Eleanor Rimoldi. American Retrospective: Poems 1961-2016. ISBN 978-0-473-42208-0. Wellington: Hicksville Press, 2018. RRP $25.00. 56 pp.
- Tracey Slaughter. Conventional Weapons. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2019. RRP $25.00. 95 pp.
- Lynn Davidson. Islander. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2019. RRP $25.00. 80 pp.
- Rachel Tobin. Say it Naked. ISBN 978-0-9951092-5-4. Submarine. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2018. RRP $25.00. 86 pp.
- Kirsten Warner. Mitochondrial Eve. ISBN 978-0-9941123-4-7. Auckland: Compound Press, 2018. RRP $15.00. 20 pp.
- Pat White. Watching for the Wingbeat: New and Selected Poems. ISBN 978-0-473-44420-4. Lyttelton: Cold Hub Press, 2018. RRP $39.95. 164 pp.
About the Contributors / 335
About Poetry New Zealand / 355
Index of new poems / 358
How the poems choose you
It is wonderful to be chosen by poems, and the very opposite of trying to choose poems. Choosing poems is hard work — it feels like rifling through perfectly serviceable clothes from a stockier, taller cousin. Being chosen by poems, however, is like winning a voucher from your favourite shop and being dressed by one of its very genial and talented personal assistants. The poems that choose you are must-have items.
Poems choose you when they howl without any sort of dissembling — and yet a howl is not necessary. Pain is not even a prerequisite. However, sincerity is integral to a poem’s ability to single you out as its guardian. Any sign of fraudulence, and it’s all off. When a poem says ‘but motherfucker’ to you in entreaty or complaint, it better not be playing around — see essa may ranapiri’s ‘my dream of a nonbinary prison’ for an example.
A poem chooses you the moment it takes you by surprise. To be clear, this cannot be any old surprise. It must have the qualities of what President Oprah Winfrey calls the ‘A-ha moment’ — a sudden insight which causes the pulse to quicken and galvanic skin temperature to rise. A poem like this is no riddle; it is a messenger imparting a truth about what it is to be human in the world. In fact, it probably touches on something you have already felt or secretly known, but never quite been able to admit.
Some poems don’t need electrodes to test your bodily response. Paula Harris’s poem brought me to tears on first reading. And second. Interestingly, it has some very humorous lines as well as some that agitate the lacrimal glands, and I am always in awe of poets who can produce this sort of work — poetry that blends fresh, funny lines with lines that expose the abject difficulty of being alive. It’s the sort of comedy–pathos amalgam that Jimmy Perry and David Croft achieved in Dad’s Army, Larry Gelbart achieved in M*A*S*H, and Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant achieved in The Office. Although they were working with made-up characters, and surely, by now, everybody knows that the poet is the ‘I’ of the poem. Wink emoji.
Because I am editing and not writing the poetry in this journal, I feel free to say: ‘Poems that choose you are like mille-feuilles — thoughtfully assembled and subtly layered’, which is a simply dreadful simile, but very true in terms of the type of poems I am describing. Whether those layers come by way of diction, imagery, mood or nuance, it doesn’t matter, but if you can’t get a few readings out of a poem because it’s a one-trick cupcake, then you’re wasting your time. Michael Hall’s ‘Fencing’ is a superb example of a compact poem with deftly constructed layers. It is a poem that will reward you with new insights every time you read it. The last stanza is fabulously dense, with its metaphor of the father and son tacking down the backdrop to a day:Some days he tightenedWhy does the son only appear in this last stanza? The son seems so small here in relation to his father! But, wait, he is steadying the staple — the thing that holds the horizon tightly in place once his father has hammered it in . . . so he is key to this whole enterprise. The son may be just the staple-holder, but he is his father’s right-hand-man here, helping him to hold the whole world in place (as fathers do, for a time). So many thoughts triggered by four lines, and we have not even addressed the sounds of the lines as Hall works them like fencing wire, lengthening, tightening and tacking. It has been a privilege, this year, to be chosen by so many moving, well-crafted poems written by people I know well and people I have never met. What a pleasure to be introduced to so many talented poets this way. I am grateful to Jack Ross and the team at Massey University Press for the opportunity, and for their guidance and trust.
And started hammering
As I held the staple in place
— Johanna Emeney
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS:
ABOUT POETRY NEW ZEALAND:
Poetry New Zealand is New Zealand’s longest-running poetry magazine, showcasing new writing from this country and overseas. It presents the work of talented newcomers and developing writers as well as that of established leaders in the field.
Founded by Wellington poet Louis Johnson, who edited it from 1951 to 1964 as the New Zealand Poetry Yearbook, it was revived as a biennial volume by Frank McKay in 1971, a series which lasted until 1984. David Drummond (in collaboration with Oz Kraus’s Brick Row Publishing) began to publish it again biannually in 1990. The journal reached its 48th issue in 2014, the year Jack Ross of Massey University’s School of English and Media Studies took it back to its roots by renaming it the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook.
Poetry New Zealand has been edited by some of New Zealand’s most distinguished poets and academics, including Elizabeth Caffin, Grant Duncan, Riemke Ensing, Bernard Gadd, Leonard Lambert, Harry Ricketts, Elizabeth Smither and Brian Turner. The journal was overseen from 1993 to 2014 by celebrated poet, novelist, anthologist, editor and literary critic Alistair Paterson ONZM, with help from master printer John Denny of Puriri Press, and guest editors Owen Bullock, Siobhan Harvey and Nicholas Reid.
The magazine’s policy is to support poetry and poets both in New Zealand and overseas. Each issue since 1994 has contained a substantial feature showcasing the work of a developing or established poet. It also includes a selection of poetry from New Zealand and abroad, as well as essays, reviews and critical commentary.
- Thom Conroy
- Jen Crawford
- John Denny
- Matthew Harris
- Ingrid Horrocks
- David Howard
- Jan Kemp
- Bronwyn Lloyd
- Alistair Paterson
- Tracey Slaughter
- Bryan Walpert
Webmaster: Warren Olds
Submissions: The submission dates for each issue are between 1 May and 31 July of each year. Submit either (preferably) by email, with your poems pasted in the body of the message or included as a MSWord file attachment; or by post, to the address below, with a stamped self-addressed envelope, and contact details in your covering letter.
Dr Tracey Slaughter
School of Arts
Private Bag 3105
Please remember to include a short biography and current postal address with your submission. Each contributor will receive a free copy of the issue their work is included in.