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Well, I’m one sixteenth Norwegian, so this lovely little church felt vaguely ancestral. It was built in 1881 on a hill in Mauriceville (near Eketahuna) by Norwegian settlers.

Also, I am being interviewed tomorrow morning on Carterton Connections, Arrow FM 92.7FM 10am Friday 4 April 2014.


Day 9 - My dessk

Yes, I brought a few books with me (this isn’t all of them).

Also, I am the editor of this week’s Tuesday poem and have chosen a wonderful tuatara poem by Nola Borrell who is also in residence at New Pacific Studio at the moment.


Day one at New Pacific Studio.

Open Day poster

Later this month, I’ll be the guest reader at the NZ Poetry Society in Wellington.  It’s upstairs at the Thistle Inn (in Thorndon, opposite Archives NZ; you know, the oldest pub in Wellington where Te Rauparaha was rumoured to paddle his waka up to the front door before the coastline changed forever and where Katherine Mansfield used to hang out; no, not the one up the top of Cuba St, that’s Thistle Hall, this is the Thistle Inn) and there’ll be an open mic to start.  Hope to see you there!

NZPS: Poets’ Corner

Monday 17th February, 7.30pm
Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St, Central Wellington
Open mic – all welcome to participate. NZPS welcomes new poets as well as those with more experience.  Guest Poet for February: Janis Freegard.

I’ts a good month for poetry in Wellington.  Marty Smith’s boook launch is on Saturday 15th and  Harry Ricketts will be reading at Meow on Sunday 16th. 

And I’m pretty chuffed at the moment because one of my poems was commended in the Magma Poetry competition.




The phone rang: it was God.

We’re doing some market research, he said.  How do you find earth, these days?  Somewhere between Venus and Mars, I said, ha ha.  No, really, he said.  Well, I told him, we liked your original concept but we’ve workshopped it into something sexier, more happening, more 21st century. We’ve eaten most of the fish, cleared an impressive amount of forest and I’m afraid some species proved insufficiently competitive for the global economy.  I liked it how it was, said God.  That’s all very well, I said, but Progress, you know – can’t stand in the way.  You lot won’t be happy until you’ve used up all the good bits and moved on to the next planet in some kind of galactic Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, he said.  He sounded sad, so I hung up.

The phone rang: it was Janis Joplin.

You’re dead, I said.  And it’s half past three in the morning.  What do you want?  It gets boring on the other side, she said.   Sometimes we just dial numbers at random to find some-one to talk to; I died before my time.  Tell it to Elvis, I told her.  And I hung up.

The phone rang: it was Truth and Beauty, on a conference call.

Which of us do you prefer? they queried.  Do you want the honest answer? I asked.  Or one that’s exquisitely phrased?  While they argued, I hung up.

The phone rang: it was Zippy the Pinhead.

Are we having fun yet? I asked him.  I won’t ever put anchovies in the toaster again, he replied.  I’m trapped in a black hole with Mozart’s miso soup.  Thousands of orange polyester suits have invaded my brain.  He started making sense, so I hung up.

The phone rang: it was Death.

Wrong number, I said.  And I hung up.

The phone rang: it was me.

Now what’s going on here? I asked.  Am I trapped in an existential paradox?  Are you the past me, the future me, or an alternate universe me?  Are you my conscience, the inner me, the me I’d like to be or some kind of all-knowing über-me?  I just called to say hi, I said.  And I hung up.

The phone rang:  it was Hecate, Goddess of the Night.

All hail, Old Witch, I said.  You’re at a crossroads, she told me.  Which path do you take?  Well, I said, the earth is more or less spherical, so whichever way you go, eventually you’ll end up back where you started.  It’s the journey that counts, she cackled.  Put down that phone and get travelling.  And she hung up.

Polly Tussock 2008

Monument to brothers Grimm on the market place...

Monument to brothers Grimm on the market place in Hanau. (Hessen, Germany) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last year, the Goethe-Institut New Zealand (in association with the New Zealand Listener and the International Institute of Modern Letters) ran a short story competition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Brothers Grimm’s book of fairy tales.  Competition entrants were invited to write a modern-day Grimm fairytale with a New Zealand flavour, beginning with the words “Once upon a time . . .”

There were over 300 entries which the Goethe Institut has been publishing on a blog – one story per day.  They are keen for feedback to help them identify the 12 most popular fairytales that will be included a print publication at the end of the year.  With this in mind, they have introduced a 5 star system to enable readers to rank the stories.

The blog is here and the story I entered (The Kind Fisherwoman and the King of the Fish) is here.  It was a fun idea for a competition and I’ve really been enjoying the many and varied stories.  I heartily recommend having a browse – and don’t forget to have your say!

3 photos by Alison Jones

(The top I was wearing has the “worldwide web ” printed on it – a map of the world made of spider webs, with a spider hanging off.  & those things around my hat are little white plastic spiders.)

2nd pic is the Tuesday poets who were present: Mary  McCallum, Tim Jones & Helen Rickerby at the back, me and Keith Westwater at the front

Alice Spider launch - Alison Jones Tuesday Poets at Alice Spider launch - Alison Jones Alice Spider launch 2 - Alison Jones

and some photos by Matchbox:

Here are some of Peter’s photos from the Alice Spider launch on 6 September. More launch photos to come!

and here’s one Mary Macpherson took.

janis launch - mary macpherson



I have a couple of readings coming up that I’m very excited about.  The first is at the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui, part of a celebration of Robin Hyde‘s work, in association with National Poetry Day (although it will actually be the day after National Poetry Day).

Sat 17th Aug, 2:30 pm
Sarjeant Gallery Elements Cafe 26 Victoria St, Whanganui
A celebration of the work of Robin Hyde with readings by Glenn Colquhoun, Janis Freegard, Redmer Yska & Dr Mary Paul
The second is in Dunedin, at Circadian Rhythm.  It will also feature David Howard and an open mic.

Weds 21st August 8pm

Circadian Rhythm cafe





Janis on Twitter

  • RT @amjutel: Here's a creative writing contest: In exactly 55 words, tell us what the Covid-19 pandemic is/was like for you by 23 Oct. Ema… 21 hours ago
  • RT @minhealthnz: Watch our Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, sign a message as part of the New Zealand Sign Language Leader… 4 days ago
  • RT @ANZLiterature: Writers please apply!! 2 weeks ago

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September 2020

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