Thanks to poet Mary Cresswell, who has done a bit of sleuthing, I can add a postscript to my post about Poetry & Gender in NZ Publishing. Mary has looked at all the poetry books published in New Zealand over the 5 years 2008-2012 and noted which ethnicity the poets identify with, based mainly on their author/publisher webpages.  So it may not be 100% accurate, but I think it’s a good estimate.

Apologies for the poor quality of the graph below – there’s a clearer version if you click on the link underneath it.  What it shows is that, over the five year period, 90% of the poetry publishing pie went to Pākehā/European poets, 4% to Pasifika poets, 3% to Māori poets and 2% to Asian poets. Middle Eastern and African poets accounted for 0.4% of books respectively.  When you compare this to proportions in the New Zealand population (70% Pākehā; 14% Māori; 11% Asian, 7% Pasifika and 1% Middle Eastern/Latin American/African – figures from Stats NZ Census 2013) it’s not looking very representative.  I do think it’s important for a country’s literature to reflect the diversity of voices in its population.

 

poetry books x ethnicity 2008 - 2010

poetry books x ethnicity 2008 – 2012

 

In a comment on the ‘Poetry and Gender’ post, Tina Makereti said that her research for her PhD “also identified a lack of any real indigenous literary studies in New Zealand (no courses at tertiary level, limited commitment to indigenous literatures in high schools), and few Māori literature scholars. I think if the commitment were there from the universities, and Māori saw themselves represented in the study of literature, the numbers would increase.”  So – universities, high schools, publishers – over to you!

 

PS: I should have mentioned that, as with the ‘Poetry & Gender’ data, the source for titles and authors, etc is The Journal of Commonwealth Literature and I’m grateful to Rebecca Pilcher for providing the 2012 information.

Sweet As launch

Just a wee reminder that this is coming up next Tuesday. It’s for a good cause and everyone gets a 20% discount off the Recommended Retail Price on the night!

Date:              Tuesday, 4th November
Time:              5.30 p.m.
Place:             The Grand, 69 – 71 Courtenay Place (upstairs)

Here’s the list of contents and further information from the editors:

Sweet as contents

‘Sweet as’ is a typically New Zealand term meaning okay, cool, better than good, or even awesome. However, the stories in this collection are not all ‘sweet’ in the traditional sense. New Zealand is a country of light — both strong and bush-dappled — but it also has a dark side.

These short stories speak to us of the diverse world we live in. They take us on a journey, or offer a glimpse into another’s life. Some show the struggles, tough questions and challenging situations people face. Some stories are sweet or humorous, while others are quirky or just plain entertaining. They provide us with a snapshot of life in New Zealand and how New Zealanders experience life overseas.
For this collection, we sought contributions from New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. This gives a breadth of story lines — ‘sweet as’ in their variety and quality. Our aim was to continue one of New Zealand’s finest traditions: its strong culture of reading and writing, especially in the area of short fiction.
Links to more information:
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/modernletters/about/events/book-launch-sweet-as-contemporary-short-stories-by-new-zealanders

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-As-Book-Project/385070231617937

eBook and book orders:

http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-As-Contemporary-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00NTLG8HQ/

For more information email us at: SweetAsShortStories@gmail.com

Since 2008, I’ve been looking at all the poetry books published in New Zealand each year and reporting on the gender balance. That first year, a little over a third (36%) of the poetry books published were by female authors, but there has been significant change over the five year period and women are now responsible for almost half (47%) of NZ poetry books. Here is a graph showing how things have changed.

poetry & gender graph

The quality’s not great, sorry. For a better version, click on this link: poetry & gender graph

Another way of looking at it is that men (green in the graphs) were getting almost two thirds of the poetry publishing pie in 2008 and this was down to just over half in 2012 (mmm – pie).

poetry & gender pies

Click here for a clearer version: poetry pies.pdf

(Disclaimer: yes, I realise this is a very binary way of looking at things, but if anyone on the list is intersex or does not see themselves as either male or female, I wasn’t aware of it. I have made assumptions around gender according to whether the poets look male or female to me or have male/female-sounding names.)

Now, I don’t know the ethnicity of all the poets published in 2012, but out of the 55 poetry books published, I only noticed one that I know was written by a Māori poet, two written by Pasifika poets and none by Asian poets. So what’s with that? There are obviously plenty of Māori poets, as evidenced by AUP’s Puna Wai Korero - An Anthology of Māori Poetry in English. I look forward to seeing a body of poetry that better reflects our population make-up.

What is perhaps most alarming about the trends over the past few years is how few poetry books were published in 2012 – 55, compared with 88 in 2008.

poetry books graph

Better version here: Poetry books

The three main publishers of poetry in New Zealand remain Steele Roberts (13 titles in 2012, similar to the 12 published in 2008), Victoria University Press (12 titles in 2012 compared with 6 in 2008) and Auckland University Press (5 titles in 2012 compared with 8 in 2008).

My source, as usual, is The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (December 2013 48: 541-553, Kirstine Moffat and Larissa Schumacher). The list includes a handful of books by New Zealand poets that were published in other countries. Thanks to Rebecca Pilcher for helping me source the latest information.

 

Sweet As launch

I realise I’ve been very quiet on the blogging front recently, largely because I’ve been beavering away on a novel – more on that in the coming months. But another thing I did recently was to contribute a short story to a great initiative – ‘Sweet As: Contemporary Short Stories by New Zealanders’, an anthology to raise funds for the IHC. My late sister Joanne was intellectually disabled (she had Sanfilippo Syndrome) so I had a bit to do with the IHC while growing up and I’m pleased to be able to do something to support them.

There’s an impressive line-up of authors in the anthology, including Frances Cherry, Maggie Rainey-Smith, Wes Lee, Jo Randerson, Lawrence Patchett, Kate Mahony, Vivienne Joseph and many more. Hope to see some of you at the launch:

Date:              Tuesday, 4th November
Time:              5.30 p.m.
Place:             The Grand, 69 – 71 Courtenay Place (upstairs)

Thanks and congratulations to editors Wendy Moore and Blair Polly for making this happen.

This Sunday, I will be reading poetry at Meow Cafe & the lovely Rachel France will be playing beautiful music. Open mic to start. Hope to see you there!

MEOW POETRY jULY14

 

 

http://pubimages.randomhouse.co.nz/getimage.aspx?vid=474500&usehttp=0&cat=default&class=books&size=custom&resize=1&dpi=300&quality=100&type=jpg&width=1500&height=2500&id=9781775534594

I’m very excited to have a poem included in this fine anthology from Random House: Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page (eds Siobhan Harvey, James Norcliffe & Harry Ricketts). It’s in a lovely-to-hold cloth binding and has a great range of NZ poets – from the well-known and well-loved (such as Fleur Adcock, Sam Hunt, Hone Tuwhare, James K Baxter, Jenny Bornholdt, Bill Manhire, Greg O’Brien and Janet Frame) to more recent poets like Chris Tse and Joan Fleming.

Any anthology is subjective and no doubt three different editors would have come up with a different selection. (Personally, I would have included Richard von Sturmer, Tim Jones, Helen Lehndorf and a bunch of others, but then again there’s no-one in the collection I’d want to leave out). Overall though, this feels pretty representative of New Zealand poetry as a whole, and New Zealand poets in general. And it’s good to see the smaller presses represented, like Headworx and Seraph Press. Well worth reading, I reckon!

I’m also very pleased to find myself rubbing shoulders with Bill Manhire on the Best American Poetry blog in a series about New Zealand poetry curated by Greg O’Brien. I’m looking forward to future instalments and seeing what Greg has to say about New Zealand poetry & poets.

 

This Sunday, 25th May I will be reading at Kapiti’s ‘Poets to the People‘ which I’m really looking forward to. It’s at Valhalla 31 Poplar Avenue, Raumati South, 4­-6 pm ­ and there is an open mic, so bring your poems! Food and drink are available.

Image

 

Delight the sight of fanning fern
Passive pose and knows we look
When each form looms
Amid the nature bush, a lush alluring sight
Down dales sprawling
Up vale calling to the wind
Nostalgic north perpetuates my awe
With a desire to see you more, proud ponga!

 

File:Cyathea dealbata 1.jpg

Photo by Sean Hamlin from Wellington, New Zealand, courtesy of wikimedia commons

 

Well, my mother passed away a month ago, so everything is a bit weird and I find myself surrounded by Mother’s Day advertising.  Here then is one of her poems, posted in her memory, for Mother’s Day. It’s from her book of paintings and poems, called Heart and Soul (Bellingham Daniels Publishing, in association with Steele Roberts Ltd).  It should really have been Bellingham Danielson Publishing – Bellingham is the surname of my great great grandfather (Albert Bellingham) on my mother’s father’s side and Danielson is from my mother’s mother’s grandfather (Samual Danielson), who was from Norway. However, when my mother asked me what my great great grandfather’s surname was, I said I thought it might be Daniels and only realised later I’d forgotten a bit.

Several people have asked me why my mother and I spell our surnames differently – she changed the spelling of her name after she divorced my father, replacing an ‘e’ with an ‘i’.

This is us in the sixties. At that time, we were living with my grandparents and had the surname Paine. It’s complicated.

marion003 (2)

Day 21 The Icosahedral Dome

This was the photo I meant to post a week ago, on the final day of the Ema Saiko Fellowship at New Pacific Studio. It’s the yurt-like nomadic structure that Lydia and Vlad were building at the studio while I was there. I’ve known it since it was bags of wool and pieces of dowelling and it was great to see it finally assembled. It was very warm inside and comfortably fitted 7 people.

Day 20 - Model T

Just went for a ride in this fine specimen of a 1926 Model T Ford. Thanks Ryan!

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Wordle: janisfreegard.com

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