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I’ve taken to calling 2014 my “Tale of Two Cities” year.  It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. My mother died in April; work turned to shark-infested custard; there’ve been family illnesses. It’s been one of the hardest year of my life.

But also these things happened: I had a magical three-week residency at New Pacific Studio in the Wairarapa; I had two books accepted for publication (a novel and a poetry collection, both of which should be emerging next May); I got a great new job; I had a lovely week with my friend Nicola in Glink’s Gully; I got a prize for public management (the Master’s degree I graduated with last year); and through all the chaos, I had Peter looking after me.

Roll on 2015. I’m hoping it’s going to be less of a roller-coaster and I hope it’s a great year for everyone.  Happy New Year.

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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

 

 

I have news.  It concerns poetry and spiders.

When I was about eighteen, I started writing about the adventures of a character called Alice Spider.  And I kept on writing about her, on and off.  A couple of decades after I started, I realised all the little Alice fragments were part of a prose poem sequence.  Sections of Alice have since been published in Turbine, AUP New Poets 3, JAAM and US-based Anomalous Press.  And now Alice is getting her very own chapbook, courtesy of the wonderful folk at Anomalous.  And it’s not just any old chapbook – it’s 3 types of chapbook: a  limited edition of 26 handmade, letterpress-printed chapbooks with images by Jill Kambs (I’ve seen the proofs and the book looks beautiful), as well as a regular, offset-printed chapbook and an e-book.   Very exciting!

This would not have happened without Mary MacCallum’s Tuesday Poem site – the Christmas before last, the Tuesday poets all had a “secret Santa” poem-swapping session, where we paired up with other Tuesday poets and posted each other’s poems.  I was paired with US poet Melissa Green, who writes stunningly beautiful poetry.  Melissa graciously hosted Alice on her blog,  where she was spotted by Anomalous Press and invited to appear in their new journal, and now Alice is moving on to her next adventure.  Many thanks to Cat Parnell and Erica Mena of Anomalous Press for this opportunity and to Jill Kambs for making beautiful books.  I”ll post a photo when the books arrive.

Also, Anomalous Press has just announced its first chapbook competition.  Entry fees are $US15 and all submissions will be considered for publication in the Anomalous Press journal.  There is a separate category for translations.

 

I always knew I was home because of the china ducks on the wall.  I bought them in the mid-eighties, from a second hand shop in Wellington, near the Manners St Post Office. The first thing I did in a new flat was to nail them up – in the lounge, if the flatmates were amenable, or in my own room if they weren’t. 

 The next thing I did was reassemble my bed.  The wire base had to be reconnected with its solid wooden headboard and footboard by means of a spanner.  This made me feel like an independent woman.  A woman who could do anything.  I could, for example, move heavy furniture around the room by bracing my feet against the wall and pushing things with my back.

 And I would set up my record player and play ‘Colossal Youth’, the Young Marble Giants’ only album (though there have been CD reissues and live versions since). 

 Eventually, I gave the ducks away, but found I missed them.  When I bought my house, the place Peter and I live in now, I bought the house a present – three china seagulls.  They fly up the living room wall, telling me I’m home.

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