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There’s a review of AUP New Poets 3 by Cy Mathews in the latest Takahe. Having failed miserably to upload a copy, here are a couple of quotes:
“Wellington’s Janis Freegard stands out with the easy musicality of her poems and prose poems, amongst which are moments of quirky brilliance…”
“At times these narratives risk becoming a little cutesy in their quirky, mannered eccentricity, but for the most part they are very enjoyable…”
“…”The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider” is an especially interesting experiment in serial prose poetry, for the most part realistic, but veering now and then into more surrealistic flights of fancy…”
Tim Jones (author of Transported and various other books) has reviewed AUP New Poets 3 on his blog. If you’re interested, you can read it here:
Finally the day comes when a poem matures, announces it’s leaving home and sets off into the world to seek its fortune. Once I’ve waved goodbye, it’s hard to control what happens to them, but I like to check in now and then to see how they’re doing.
I was pleased to find one of my poems (“Three Hummingbirds”) on a photography and poetry website recently. Great! I thought. Until I realised someone had seen fit to change the title, remove the stanza numbers and delete the middle stanza altogether! Oh and my name was spelt incorrectly (but I’m used to that). I don’t believe it’s OK to change someone’s work in this way (and I expect it’s a breach of copyright). I chose that title for a reason, the stanza numbers are an integral part of the poem and the middle stanza provides a clear link between the other two. I’m following this up with the person whose site it is and hopefully can get it remedied. (If it gets fixed, I’ll put up a link.)
If you want to read the poem in its true and proper form, you can see it here on the Poetry NZ website: http://www.poetrynz.net/archives/issue-27/
The other thing I found on the net recently was the first review I’ve seen of AUP New Poets 3. It’s from Trevor Reeves in Southern Ocean Review and if you’re interested, you can read it here: http://www.arts.org.nz/rev49.htm I must say I’m impressed with Southern Ocean Review’ broad coverage of poetry published in New Zealand with short reviews of pretty much every poetry book there is, as far as I can see.
I was a little surprised to be described as a “fresh new voice from the Auckland region” given that I’ve spent the last 25 years in Wellington and most of my poems in the collection are set in Wellington – but I expect that was because Auckland University Press is the publisher. And I did live in Auckland for five years in my late teens, so I’m quite happy to be considered a JAFA. Trevor goes on to say my work “deals mainly with spiders” which is an interesting interpretation. To me, the Alice Spider character I write about has always been human, but I know some people see her as an actual spider.
Anyway, there we have it. Poems which now have a life of their own. All I can do is hover in the background. Like a spider.
Big thanks to everyone who came along to the launch on Wednesday night. Cool venue, huh? And I hope you enjoyed the band – the fabulous Sans Souci, bringing the streets of Paris to a wintry Wellington. I started the evening with a ‘thank you rap’ (anyone who knows me, knows I don’t rap) which I will reproduce here for those who missed their thankyou on the night:
first I’d like to thank the AUP
for being so good as to publish me
that’s the Auckland University Press
& Anna Hodge, editress
I’d like to acknowledge the other two
writers whose poems are in this book
respect to Katherine and Rei-
hana who can’t be here today
Thanks to Greg O’Brien who taught us so well
at the poetry workshop at the IIML
Big ups to the writing groups who keep me on track
With their elegant, eloquent, fine feedback
like the Millionaires poets* who meet at finc
for sticks of bread and the occasional drink
(that’s Mary and Mary and Mary-Jane
and Kerry and Kerry and Jo and James)
whose advice is never to be missed
they stop me writing doggerel like this
then there’s the Wellington writers and the Sittenfeld set
a finer bunch of novelists I’ve never met
thanks to Adi Brown –she knows her craft
she took the back jacket photograph
thanks to Cathy Blakely for the things to eat
the yummy cheese straws and the party treats
thank you to everyone here tonight
friends and colleagues and passers-by
there are books for sale and spiders for free
and accordion music from Sans Souci
thanks to the folk from Mighty Mighty
for their wonderful hospitality
and finally thanks to our lovely MC
international man of history
that’s Peter, aka doctor D
all right, let’s have some poetry!
* not everyone listed here is a Millionnaires Shortbread poet, but I claim poetic license
and here’s a picture of me reading it:
(more pictures to come – thankyou Fleur for taking them)
In case you’re wondering, those are plastic spiders sewn around my neckline. I also colour-co-ordinated my outfit to match the vivid green of the book cover!
You are invited to the launch of
AUP New Poets 3
What is it?
The launch of a poetry book by Janis Freegard,
Katherine Liddy and Reihana Robinson“
followed by music from the fabulous Sans Souci
Where is it?
at the Mighty Mighty Bar in Cuba Mall
(upstairs between Rex Royale and Mr Bun)
When is it?
on Weds 13th August 08 5:30 – 7:30pm
Can I bring my friends? Workmates? People I meet on the street?
The more the merrier!
What can I expect there?
“ poetry! at 6ish
“ accordion music! at 6:30ish
“ free spiders!
“ fine company!
“ cheese straws!
What if I hate poetry?
You can hang out at the bar with the other philistines until it’s over.
What’s with the spiders?
Janis’ section of the book is called ‘The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider and Other Tales”
“ but only Janis will be there on account of the other two being overseas
OK, I have been out looking for spiders. I have promised free spiders at the poetry book launch and I shall deliver. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been to every $2 shop and craft shop in Wellington and today I have come home with several bags of plastic spiders, in varying lurid colours. I thought it would be easier. I thought there would sheet upon sheet of spider stickers and fake spider tattoos, that the craft shops would be full of little wooden spiders and fluffy spiders and spider stamps. Alas, I was mistaken. Some of the things I found didn’t even have the right number of legs (8 – they’re arachnids; if they have 6 legs they are either insects or differently abled). And what is the deal with butterflies? Butterflies galore; butterflies as far as the eye can see;butterly upon butterly upon sparkly, glittery butterfly, but a sad and inexplicable lack of spiders.
I like spiders. I had a flatmate once (who shall remain nameless) who, despite spending his university holidays working at the freezing works, would call me if he came across a spider in the bath. Personally, I was brought up to believe that spiders were worthy, fly-eating creatures and that, while it was permissable to vacuum up their uninhabited webs, the spiders themselves should be left to rebuild in the ceiling corners.
If you want to read one of my spider poems, you can click here:
If you want a spider of your own, do come along to the Wellington version of the AUP New Poets 3 launch. I’m hoping it will be at Mighty Mighty on Wednesday 13th August 2008, at 5:30pm, but right now I can’t get hold of Rich the Gig Booker to confirm. Katherine Liddy is also planning a launch in Vancouver – so it’s a truly global publication.
My main writing project at the moment (apart from the novel looking resentful and neglected on top of my printer) is organising The Launch. My two fellow poets (sister poets?) are overseas, so there’s no hope of a joint event. Instead I am endeavouring to organise a bit of a do in Wellington, during which I will subject my friends, colleagues and uninterested observers to a small dose of poetry. Some will like it, some will clap politely whilst stealing surreptitious glances at their watches and some will hide out at the bar until it’s over. (A bit like life, really).
Planning is under way. The word “Planning” is included in my job title, so I feel I ought to have a few clues by now. Mostly it’s about making lists of things to do and writing people’s names next to them. Must get on to that. No, really, I have taken action already and made a phone call and sent an email. I’m hoping it will all happen at Mighty Mighty on Weds 13th August (just need to confirm a few things). I will be offering free spiders. Watch this space.
Friday 18th July, of course, is Montana Poetry Day and there will be jolly poetry events all across New Zealand (hurrah!). Personally, I shall be trekking to the City Gallery at lunchtime for a movie about Maori poets and in the evening will venture forth to the Newtown Public Library for an open mike session (read your own or someone else’s – I hope to do both). There’s also the all day poetry marathon at the Bucket Fountain in Manners Mall. Yay!
My exciting news is the imminent arrival of AUP New Poets 3 in all good NZ and online bookstores. I’m one of three poets featured – the others are Katherine Liddy and Reihana Robinson.
Here’s a synopsis:
“This is the third book in AUP’s New Poets series, which began in 1999 and has launched an oustanding range of poets. The new poets in this third volume, Janis Freegard, Katherine Liddy and Reihana Robinson, all have vastly different yet complementary styles. Freegard writes quirky and often surreal poems about a Wellington inhabited with strange animals, art and people; the humorous prose poem is a favourite vehicle but there are also serious, luminous moments in this selection, called ‘The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider and Other Tales. Liddy is a promising young poet with an unusual interest in and ear for rhyme and rhythm. While some of her poems are texturally dense she has an impressive range and there is a pleasing variety in her selection, ‘Artefacts Exhibiting Love’, which is ordered chronologically from the Bronze Age to the space age. Finally, Robinson’s poems are tropical but gritty, set as many of them are on Pitcairn Island ‘A Hum for Pitkern’ is her strong centrepiece – and elsewhere in the Pacific. She intersperses touching lyrics about family and identity with sharper poems written in a fractured English. ”
and here’s a picture:
Now I’ve just got to sort out a launch…