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Here’s another great initiative to support Canterbury.  Anna Caro and J.C. Hart have put together a short story anthology – Tales for Canterbury – with stories donated by international and New Zealand writers.  Contributors include Neil Gaiman, Sean Williams, Jay Lake, Tim Jones, Tina Makereti, Helen Lowe and me.  It’s being published by Random Static Press in both print and ebook forms and all profits will go to the New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Appeal.  For more information and to watch the promo video, visit talesforcanterbury.wordpress.com

Isn’t the cover beautiful?  The anthology is expected to be available by late April, but you can pre-order now.  ($12 for the ebook and $24.95 for the print version – I’ve ordered my copy already).  As of this morning, the editors had raised $880 towards their target of $5000.

I’ve run out of time to post a Tuesday poem today, so instead I’ll just say welcome to Blogland, Mary Macpherson!  Mary is a very good Wellington-based poet and photographer.  I posted one of her poems last year.   You can see some of Mary’s photos and read at least one of her poems by clicking on the link to her blog here.  The front page features a lovely photo of a jacaranda tree and a poem about a tree.

There’s been so much to grieve for lately.  Sometimes it’s good just to look at something beautiful.

I’m feeling very international at the moment.  I have a short story in the new online journal Anomalous (based in the US), two poems in the New Zealand feature of the online International Literary Quarterly, another poem in UK-based print journal Magma and one in the Australian print journal etchings.  Some of it is work I submitted 18 months ago, but somehow it’s all appearing in the same week.

The Anomalous connection came about courtesy of the Tuesday Poem.  Last December, the Tuesday poets paired up and swapped poems with each other, and I was lucky enough to be paired with the wonderful American poet Melissa Green.  An Anomalous editor (Cat Parnell) read my poem on Melissa’s blog and asked if I had anything else.  Anomalous also features recordings of the writers reading their work.  My story, Tattooed Ladies, is here.  Or you can watch a great little 30 second clip of the entire journal here.  Anomalous describes itself as “a non-profit press dedicated to the diffusion of writing in the forms it can take”.

The International Literary Quarterly is in the process of publishing more than a hundred NZ writers over the next couple of months.  I’m part of the third instalment, alongside Tim Jones, Janet Charman, Robin Fry, Sonia Yelich and many others.  My poems are here.  The NZ literary showcase also features NZ artworks and is well worth dipping into.

Magma is a longstanding UK journal, packed with great poetry and interesting articles.  I am in Magma 49, the ‘Build it up & knock it down’ issue, which sports a lovely digger on the cover.  (I always thought it would be fun to drive one, but I have no doubt it would end up stuck in a swamp, like the time I was in charge of some sort of sandbag compacting machine).

Etchings is based in Melbourne and published by Ilura Press.  The issue I am in is etchings 9: Love & Something.  The cover image is by Adam Elliot, the clay animator responsible for that great little movie ‘Mary and Max‘ about  the friendship between a little Australian girl and a reclusive American man.

Whew!  So much reading material.  Got to be a good thing.

Last week I thought about posting one of my favourite haiku for today’s Tuesday poem.  It was written by sixteenth century Japanese poet, Mizuta Masahide, after watching his barn burn to the ground.

Barn’s burnt down

now I can see the moon

Then the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami struck.  It seems too soon to be looking for the moon.  While I was looking up Masahide, I came across another haiku, by Taigu Ryokan, whose poem ‘You Do Not Need Many Things’ I posted in January.  He wrote it after his home had been burgled.

The thief left it behind:

the moon at my window

File:Flag of Japan.jpg

Photo by Toshihiro Oimatsu (Tokyo) via Wikimedia Commons

Deepest condolences to the people of Japan who have lost so much.

Starry Night

Weet-bix rugby stars and Starbucks
escort me and the nightsky journal.
I could leave this island universe
in 50 million light years.

Take away coffee takes me to a beach log
in dog-slobbered jeans.
This is our last lap of the Milky Way
so we carve names in driftwood.

God’s cloud sails past, as wind tweezers
the coffee cup from my hand. Stars
unravel rope ladders for dreams to ascend.

Back home, under van Gogh’s Starry Night
I find the iron pot constellation
filled with yesterday’s rice.

I am the Tuesday Poem editor this week.  I posted a poem by Robert McGonigal, a friend and poet who, sadly, died a few years ago.  You can read it by clicking on the Tuesday poem quill to the left.  I thought I’d post another of Rob’s poems here.  The photo above is of me and Rob in Berwick, on the English-Scottish border, taken (by Peter) on a fun and happy day.

AUP New Poets 4 will be out soon, featuring Harry Jones, Erin Scudder & Chris Tse (published by Auckland University Press).   I don’t know the other two poets, but I was in a poetry workshop with Chris Tse a few years ago and he’s very good.

It will be launched at Te Taratara ā Kae in Victoria University’s Rankine Brown Library on 17th March 5pm – 7pm.

Here is a link to the event on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=186779171356102

and here’s a description of the contents:

“This fourth in AUP’s New Poets series includes three very different voices. Chris Tse’s work draws fascinatingly on his family history and Chinese heritage. His selection, ‘Sing Joe’, includes narrative poems about his great-grandparents’ emigration to New Zealand and about his own childhood and his research to uncover their story. Erin Scudder writes sophisticated, dark and flavoursome poetry with close attention to the sound and shape of words. In its treatment of motive and emotion her work feels at once personal and universal, specific yet interested in archetypes and tropes. Harry Jones writes accomplished, elegant, formally adept work. He has a flair for the gorgeous lyric, but his selection, ‘Beyond Hinuera’, also has a subtle range. Together the work of these three writers feels substantial and pleasingly distinct.”

The series is a great way to get to know the work of new poets, three at a time.  I was in AUP New Poets 3 with Katherine Liddy and Reihana Robinson; Volume 2 featured Stu Bagby, Sonia Yelich and Jane Gardner; and Volume 1 had Raewyn Alexander, Anna Jackson and Sarah Quigley.  Here’s to the next volume!

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