Cover image: Renee Bevan / Cover photograph: Caryline Boreham
/ cover design: Ellen Portch & Brett Cross
Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 1 [Issue #49] (October 2014). ISSN 0114-5770. ii + 250 pp.
Jack Ross / Editorial: From Dagmara to Lisa / 7-10
Lisa Samuels / Bibliography / 11
– / from In Violet Meridian / 12-39:
- 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 / 41-48
Ai Hao / Coffin / 49
– / Festival / 50
Gary Allen / The kiss / 51
– / The humpbacked horse / 53
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 / 93
– / The girl in brown has something to say / 94
Ted Jenner / Two Hokianga Poems / 95
Annaleese Jochems / The Murderer / 96
Sophia Johnson / Somewhere in the city / 97
John Kambolis / Nothing Changed / 98
– / Submission / 99
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 / 117
– / On Metaphysical Insight / 118
Richie McCaffery / Cupola / 119
Theressa Malone / Red Headed Girl … / 120
Reade Moore / Mother / 121
Margaret Moores / Six days in Nelson and Canterbury / 122
Elizabeth Morton / UFO / 123
– / Night on the Ward / 124
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 / 130
– / fashion show / 131
Jessamine O Connor / Ten So Far This Morning / 132
John O’Connor / Kinaxixi (after Agostinho Neto) / 134
– / Dead of Night (after Manuel Bandeira) / 135
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 / 142
– / Promenade / 143
Vaughan Rapatahana / growing up in godzone / 144
Nicholas Reid / Copperplate / 146
Jeremy Roberts / Death of a Poet / 148
David Romanda / Compulsion / 149
– / My Girl / 151
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 … / 173
Kirsten Warner / Billy last night at Muriwai Beach / 174
– / Like driving a table / 175
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 / 187
– / Ignorance / 188
– / Ignorância / 189
Mark Young / A line from Barry Gibb / 190
– / Resplendance / 191
Jake Arthur / Poetic Voice and Poetic Personality in the work of Jenny Bornholdt / 192-203
Scott Hamilton / Jumping in the drink: Notes on the Tongan poems of Murray Edmond & Richard von Sturmer / 204-16
Hamish Dewe/ An Introduction to the Millerton Sequences / 217-23:
- Leicester Kyle. The Millerton Sequences. Ed. Jack Ross. Poem by David Howard. ISBN 978-1-927242-28-5. Pokeno: Atuanui Press, 2014.
Jack Ross / Books & Magazines in brief / 224-37:
- 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 (in association with the Alexander Turnbull Library). 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.
CONTRIBUTOR NOTES / 238-49
Reviews & Comments:
- Jennifer Little, "Massey editor for new-look Poetry NZ." Booknotes Unbound (May 29, 2014):
Watching an Al Jazeera television item about a young Arab poet spraypainting words of protest on a wall somewhere on the West Bank struck a chord with Massey University English senior lecturer Dr Jack Ross.
In his new role as managing editor of the country’s longest-running poetry journal, Poetry New Zealand, he hopes to infuse something of the spirit and energy of that far-flung poet in future issues of his new literary baby.
In the spirit of his predecessors at the helm of the periodical, he intends to keep it youth-oriented, politically engaged, experimental, and culturally diverse – all necessary attributes for an international journal of poetry and poetics.
- Jennifer Little, "‘Machinery for imagining’ in Poetry NZ." Massey News (October 17, 2014):
An adolescent's poem on bullying, and experimental works by an American poetics professor echo the diverse voices in the first edition of the country’s longest-running poetry journal to be published by Massey University.
The 66th issue since the journal originated in 1951, its new incarnation under managing editor Dr Jack Ross will be launched at the Albany campus on October 31.
The “bumper” selection of 117 poems by 93 poets (including 11 by feature poet Lisa Samuels) was siphoned from well over a thousand submissions sent in via post and email. Two essays, a review and brief notices of 25 new poetry books and magazines are also included.
Ross – a poet, editor and critic who teaches fiction, poetry, and travel writing in the School of English and Media Studies – replaces distinguished poet, anthologist, fiction-writer, critic and retiring editor Alistair Paterson, who held the role of Poetry New Zealand’s editor for 21 years.
He suspects his choice of “extravagantly experimental” Lisa Samuels as the featured poet could be controversial. That the University of Auckland-based writer’s work is considered “difficult”, even by some connoisseurs of poetry, should not be an impediment to publication, he says. “As if being easy were some kind of duty for writers, to be ignored at their peril!” he comments in his introduction.
- Rachel O'Neill. "Interview with Jack Ross, new editor of Poetry NZ." Booknotes Unbound (23/10/14):
'I like to fantasise about being the editor-as-M (from the Bond films), a kind of shadowy spy-master who assembles the bits and pieces coming across the desk to create a composite mosaic picture of where the principal dangers lie – all those dangers to humanity (eco-catastrophe, political fanaticism and intolerance, the erosion of empathy), which I’m convinced that it’s poets’ job to speak out about. “With your unconstraining voice / Still persuade us to rejoice,” as Auden put it in his great elegy for W. B. Yeats.'
- Kathryn Ryan, "Nine to Noon." Poetry New Zealand (Friday 14 November 2014):
Poetry New Zealand originated in 1951 and has continued under a range of editors. From this year it is now edited and published by Massey's College of Humanities and Social Science - under creative writing lecturer, Jack Ross.
Duration: 14′ 34″.
- Jennifer Little. "Talking cats and other creative creatures." Defining NZ 28 (Feb 2015): 28:
Creative Writing senior lecturer Dr Jack Ross’s editorship of New Zealand’s longest-running poetry journal, which first appeared in 1951, marks a literary coup for Massey – and for the School of English and Media Studies – as its new publisher.
Number 49 of Poetry New Zealand was launched at Halloween at the Albany campus and includes 117 poems by 93 poets.
Ross's desire to surprise and stimulate readers of the occasional anthology is exemplified in a poem by Christchurch-based Chinese poet Wei Sun. It contains his favourite line in the book; “Holy shit! A talking cat!” – from the poem titled "OCD and Conversations with Cat".
The poem’s quirky yet touching surrealism underscores his search for “a freshness of outlook. There has to be something about each poem that makes me ask the question; ‘Is this a poem?’” ...
- Sacha Jones, "Congratulations Jack!" OWW: One Woman's World (10/11/14):
Congratulations to my friend and mentor Jack Ross, on being appointed editor of Poetry NZ. I have no doubt he will be a fine editor with exemplary taste, although he has resisted, so far, the urge to include any one of my poems in his journal -- early days yet.
Jack taught me almost everything I know on the creative writing front and inspired me to dabble in poetry, which had always seemed much too terrifying to me. And on this very blog poetry has become rather more than a dabble, and I have Jack to thank for that.
Jack may not want me to put this connection of ours about, but he's fairly safe there, as I have such a select few loyal followers that there is not much danger of it getting about far.
But this is not about me ...
Well done Jack, and well done to Poetry NZ for selecting such a fine editor. Long may you prosper poetically and in every other way.
- Owen Bullock, "Lisa Samuels and multiplicity." Poetry in Process: Understanding poetic process from inspiration to final edit (6/5/19):
In an interview with transnational poet Lisa Samuels, she suggests that at the heart of her poetry and her process is a multiplicity of reference and background. When asked by interviewer Jack Ross, in the first issue of the revamped Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, which writers inspire her she answers in terms of categories, and says that she is as likely to be inspired by, “patterns, sounds, place histories, images, philosophy, statistics for a country’s fabric imports, dictionaries, encyclopedias, poetry, experimental drama, strange comics, physics hypotheses, theory, and manifestos,” as writers (41).
One of the foci of her writing is ‘imaginative unknowing’ (46) with the use of fragmented language part of an attempt to make a true representation of our fragmented experience. This point is exemplified by her idea that ‘everything represents’ what she calls the ‘dispersed inexplicable’ ...
Rachel O'Neill. "Interview with Jack Ross, new editor of Poetry NZ." Booknotes Unbound (23/10/14):
Poetry NZ is an international print journal of poetry, established in 1951 by Louis Johnson, and edited between 1993 and 2014 by Alistair Paterson. The magazine is now housed by Massey University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and is edited by Jack Ross. We asked Ross a few questions about editing Poetry NZ, and about local poetry and the brand new issue (full launch details below).
1. If the poet is ‘the priest of the invisible’ as Wallace Stevens put it, the editor is…?
Interesting question. I suppose the obvious answer is ‘the office manager’ (though it’s tempting to say the Pope) – but I have to admit that I tend to prefer rather more subversive models of the poet.
If, like Stevens, one agrees that the function of poets is to give “to airy nothing / a local habitation and a name,” then I myself like to imagine it as a kind of espionage: “God’s spies,” as Shakespeare says in King Lear.
Continuing with that analogy, I guess I like to fantasise about being the editor-as-M (from the Bond films), a kind of shadowy spy-master who assembles the bits and pieces coming across the desk to create a composite mosaic picture of where the principal dangers lie – all those dangers to humanity (eco-catastrophe, political fanaticism and intolerance, the erosion of empathy), which I’m convinced that it’s poets’ job to speak out about. “With your unconstraining voice / Still persuade us to rejoice,” as Auden put it in his great elegy for W. B. Yeats.
2. Poetry NZ was established in 1951. What attracted you to the role of editor of Poetry NZ in particular?
Over the years I’ve received a good deal of help and support personally from Alistair Paterson, my immediate predecessor in the role, and I’ve also seen just how much time and passion he gave to Poetry NZ and all its subscribers and contributors. I didn’t see any way in which I could emulate that degree of commitment while still retaining any time for my own writing (not to mention the demands of my job), so I did turn it down when he initially spoke to me about it.
When he and John Denny, the magazine’s publisher, approached me again late last year, though, it was with the suggestion that Massey University be asked to take over the journal – rather as Otago University has Landfall – and that was quite a different proposition. I began to see ways in which it might become a collective effort, rather than one person’s life’s work.
I think if the magazine is to continue, it has to draw in as many people as possible: guest editors, reviewers, essayists, artists, designers, event-planners and so on. A university gives you good access to such people. Having said that, though, I should emphasise that this is, and will remain, a magazine which reaches out beyond the confines of the institution – or, for that matter, the country. Poetry NZ exists as much to bring our poetry to the world as it does to mirror solely what’s going on in New Zealand.
3. A poet is usually profiled in each issue of Poetry NZ. Can you tell us a little about the featured poet for this issue?
Yes, I’d love to. The featured poet for this issue is Lisa Samuels, who teaches poetry and poetics at Auckland University. The reason I chose Lisa is because she’s an extremist: her poetry is of an extravagantly experimental type, which still tends to polarize people in this country. Also because she’s not a New Zealander, although she has chosen to settle here (and has written a very amusing meditation on the experience in her long book-length poem Tomorrowland – now also available as a CD).
This doesn’t mean that I’ll be reluctant to feature local poets in the future. Like Alistair Paterson, though, I think it’s important that we don’t get too protectively nationalistic in our approach to poetry here. Lisa, for me, ticked all the boxes – and I think that you’ll find the poems I’ve selected from her latest collection a challenging mixture of melopoeia and subversion: though perhaps it’s necessary to hear her perform them to get the full effect.
4. You mentioned that you are keen to showcase ‘emerging – and inevitably challenging – poetic trends, voices and styles.’ Are there interesting threads that link emerging work at the moment, or is the work interesting because it’s diverse?
A bit of both, I guess. I’m no enemy to political engagement in poetry, though I think it has to go beyond mere slogans, to be self-questioning, if it’s to retain any poetic interest. I’m also very interested in the growth of the new pastoral, together with its theoretical branch of eco-poetics, and I see a lot of passionately committed new work coming up in this field. Finally, I have a strong interest in translation and multicultural approaches to poetry. All three of these trends are represented in the issue, but I’d like to be able to include more work under each of these headings in the future.
5. Can you describe some of the poetry that will appear in this issue?
My favourite line so far in from everything I’ve read for the issue (well over a thousand poems, from an estimated 2-300 poets who’ve submitted) has got to be: “Holy s***! A talking cat!” That’s from a poem called ‘OCD and Conversations with Cat,’ by a young Chinese poet from Christchurch.
My favourite poem is probably ‘Life in Unfair,’ by an eleven-year-old girl who sent us a letter which assured us that her parents’ assent had been obtained before the poem was submitted. The poem is about bullying – and it speaks from the heart. I have to say that the moment I saw it I was determined to put it in (I did have a tangential vision of her whipping out a massive copy of Poetry NZ next time she runs into one of the ‘popular girls’ who hound her so unmercifully, and casually flicking it open to her name in the contents page. I suppose that they probably wouldn’t be all that impressed. I can’t think of a better way of protesting the unfairness of life, though, than by writing a poem about it and getting it printed in one of our most widely read literary journals …)
Besides that, there are some lovely translations from the Chinese, which I’ve been able to present in dual-text; some Russian poems translated by Anne Stevenson in collaboration with their author, Eugene Dubnov; a poem written simultaneously in French, English and Portuguese by the Angolan writer Landa wo; poems from Australia, Europe, Ireland, North America, and a variety of other places as well as virtually every corner of New Zealand. I hope I’ve provided enough surprises to keep everyone guessing!
6. What are your favourite reading conditions?
I’m sorry to say that I can only read comfortably whilst lying on my bed like a Roman emperor, with a book or bundle of papers balanced on my stomach. I’d like to be able to say that I can also, at a pinch, read in an armchair, or a café, or at my desk, but it would be a lie. I’ve been thinking of experimenting with lying and reading in a hammock over summer, but I’m a bit doubtful about the strength of the branches in our backyard which would have to hold it up.
7. What’s on your bedside table?
A travel book by Lawrence Durrell; an old children’s book by Arthur Ransome; a collection of SF short stories by Arthur C. Clarke; a collection of stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Snow Image); a collection of fascinating tales from archaeology called The World’s Last Mysteries; and an MA thesis which I’m reading for examination. Until very recently there were a couple of dozen slim volumes of verse which I was reading for the reviews section at the back of Poetry NZ, but I’m giving myself a bit of a holiday from poetry at the moment. I like to jump from book to book, depending what mood I’m in: some I read in the evening, some in the morning before getting up.
Jack Ross is a poet, fiction writer and editor. He has published books of poetry and short fiction and has edited numerous collections of writing and a variety of journals. Ross has worked as a teacher of New Zealand literature and creative writing, and he is co-editor of a series of books dedicated to capturing New Zealand poets in performance. You can find out more about Jack Ross in his Book Council Writers file.
Auckland launch of Poetry NZ:
Poetry NZ Yearbook will launch as part of Massey University’s Writers Read series, and you are invited to attend the celebration.
The launch event will include Lisa Samuels, the featured poet in this issue, Jack Ross, the new Managing Editor of Poetry NZ, and a number of the other poets included. The magazine will be launched by A/Prof Grant Duncan, of Massey University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The line-up of invited readers will include the following:
Richard von Sturmer
Event details: Friday, October 31st, 6.00-8.00 PM, Drama Lab, Sir Neil Waters Building, Albany Campus, Massey University. All welcome! Full details here.
Wellington launch of Poetry NZ: Monday, December 1st, 6.00-7.30 PM, Meow Café, 9 Edward Street, Te Aro, Wellington. All welcome!