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US-based literary magazine Shenandoah (Vol 6 No. 2) features a selection of poems by New Zealand poets, including Hinemoana Baker, Emma Barnes, James Brown, Kay Cooke, Natasha Dennerstein, Nicola Easthope, Cliff Fell, me (Janis Freegard), Rob Hack, Bernadette Hall, Siobhan Harvey, Anna Jackson, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Frankie McMillan, Maria McMillan, Emma Neale, Bill Nelson, Chris Price, Maraea Rakutaku, Harry Ricketts, Sandi Santorelli, Alice Te Punga Somerville, Tim Upperton, Sugar Magnolia Wilson and Sue Wootton. You can listen to audio versions of the poems too.
You can also read an essay on NZ poetry by editors Lesley Wheeler (who visited New Zealand on a Fulbright scholarship last year), Max Chapnick and Drew Martin, and enjoy additional poems by Robert Bense, Roy Bentley, James Brasfield, Nancy Naomi Carlson, Melissa Dickson, Richard Foerster, Brandan Galvin, Jeff Gundy, Jared Harel, Ben Howard, Luke Johnson, Susan Ludvigson, Tom Reiter, Austin Segrest and Corrie Williamson.
There is also flash fiction by Grazie Christie, Michael Devens, Trudy Lewis, Ryan Rising, Evelyn Somers , Melissa Wyse and Julian Zabalbeascoa.
My favourite poem so far is Emma Barnes’ poem Ohio.
Over and out.
Well, the Alice Spider book from Anomalous Press is fast becoming a reality. You may have met Alice before, but this will be the most Alice there’s ever been in one place. This is how she will look:
The stunning artwork on the cover is by Kristen Necessary.
There is one last hurdle. The lovely people at Anomalous Press are making six chapbooks altogether (small collections of poetry, of up to 40 pages) as a labour of love and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to get the funds together for printing. They need $US5,000. If you would like to support them – and receive books, postcards and other goodies in return (this is a pre-order type deal rather than a charity drive) – here’s where you can pledge the amount you would like to pledge and a description of what you will receive. Yes, I’ve already put my money where my mouth is, and huge thanks to everyone else who is supporting the campaign.
The Kickstarter link shows all the chapbooks being published and they look great!
This is a poem of mine that was originally published in the wonderful Blackmail Press. I wrote it after a visit to Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. Joseph Plunkett, one of the Irish rebels who took part in the 1916 rebellion (or “Easter Rising”), was executed hours after marrying his sweetheart, Grace Gifford.
Easter Rising (Joseph Plunkett, 1916), by Janis Freegard
In the garden of cats
the deserted lover
learns to purr again
& threads the sun around her neck
in a garland of golden oyster shells.
Violets grow quietly
dragonflies come to call
she smells lavender
listens to the sea.
Inside her shut shell
the deserted lover makes pearls
from the gritty bits.
Thinks: If I were a cat
I’d live off parakeets
& keep my love.
This is an old poem I wrote years ago after I’d been house-sitting for my friends Anna-Marie and Mary-Jane in Paekakariki – “the ridge where the parakeets perch”. It was summer and their cats and I spent a lot of time sitting about in the garden.
You can read the other Tuesday poems here.
(For My Father), by Keith Armstrong
You picked splinters
with a pin each day
from under blackened fingernails;
shreds of metal
from the shipyard grime,
minute memories of days swept by:
the dusty remnants of a life
spent in the shadow of the sea;
the tears in your shattered eyes
at the end of work.
And your hands were strong,
so sensitive and capable
of building boats
and nursing roses;
a kind and gentle man
who never hurt a soul,
the sort of quiet knackered man
who built a nation.
Dad, I watched your ashes float away
down to the ocean bed
and in each splinter
I saw your caring eyes
and gracious smile.
I think of your strong silence every day
and I am full of you,
the waves you scaled,
and all the sleeping Tyneside streets
you taught me to dance my fleeting feet along.
When I fly, you are with me.
I see your fine face
in sun-kissed clouds
and in the gold ring on my finger,
and in the heaving crowd on Saturday,
and in the lung of Grainger Market,
and in the ancient breath
of our own Newcastle.
Keith Armstrong was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he has worked as a community development worker, poet, librarian and publisher. He now lives in the seaside town of Whitley Bay and is coordinator of the Northern Voices creative writing and community publishing project which specialises in recording the experiences of people in the North East of England. He has organised several community arts festivals in the region and many literary events. He was founder of Ostrich poetry magazine, Poetry North East, Tyneside Writers’ Workshop, Tyneside Poets, East Durham Writers’ Workshop, Tyneside Trade Unionists for Socialist Arts, Tyneside Street Press and the Strong Words and Durham Voices community publishing series. He has compiled and edited books on the Durham Miners’ Gala and on the former mining communities of County Durham, the market town of Hexham and the heritage of North Tyneside. He completed a doctorate on Newcastle writer Jack Common at the University of Durham in 2007. His poetry has been extensively published in magazines such as New Statesman, Poetry Review, Dream Catcher, Other Poetry, Aesthetica, Iron, Salzburg Poetry Review and Poetry Scotland, as well as in the collections The Jingling Geordie, Dreaming North, Pains of Class and Imagined Corners, on cassette, LP & CD, and on radio & TV. He also has an extensive record of poetry performance throughout Europe and beyond.
We met Dr Armstrong on our recent visit to the UK, through another Tyneside-based poet, Dave Alton. Dave and Keith were kind enough to introduce us to local bars The Bridge and The Red House – recommended if you’re over that way.
The latest reviews of Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus come from Emma Neale in the NZ Listener (December 3 -9 2011):
“…Freegard is equal parts jester and scientist…the collection is as much about human follies, infringements, betrayals and tenderness as it is about the habits and habitats of our animal cousins.”
Sarah Jane Barnett in Landfall:
“There is a lot to enjoy in Kingdom Animalia. Freegard’s poetry is sharp and funny; she is the poet next door who I immediately like.”
and Joanna Preston in A Fine Line (the NZ Poetry Society newsletter):
“At its best, Kingdom Animalia is delicious – often funny, frequently touching, unmistakeably modern, and full of swerves and quirks and strange reverses.”
Earlier reviews had this to say:
Paula Green in the NZ Herald (1 November 2011):
“…Freegard has glued the breach between poetry and science with lyricism, inventiveness, research, playfulness and miniature bursts of storytelling. Fascinating.”
Patricia Prime in Takahē 73 (Winter 2011):
“…Freegard’s is a restless poetry, expressing contemporary angst within a context of travel, or analyzing the stopping-places, trying to see clearly, and identifying with the flora and fauna. Yet there is also a need to try and anchor the poems to the modern world.”
Tedi Busch in the Nelson Mail (30 July 2011):
“…The author’s imagination is infinite. In just one piece a witch teaches her to fly like a humming bird while advising a man from Japan about his cup of spaghetti and notes that our minds have minds of their own. Hers certainly does; I think I’ll go and read this all over again.”
and Hamesh Wyatt in the Otago Daily Times:
“…There is plenty of subversive humour and a little self-indulgence but never a dull moment. …….Kingdom Animalia: The Escapades of Linnaeus will get under your skin something fierce. It’s neat to have something brand-new and shiny.”
An interview about the book with Veronika Meduna on ‘Our Changing World’ poetry-and-science.asx
and with Tim Jones on his blog.
Kingdom Animalia also has its own Facebook page.