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A quick post about a few things coming up in Wellington:


The Spring Sessions: Live Poetry Readings w/ Fuyukos Fables & The Lost Boys

at The Watusi, 6 Edwards Street, Central Wellington
Thursday 14th October 8pm start

GENRES: folk, indie, pop

The Lost Boys describe themselves as ‘Lost Rock’

Graham Candy – vocals and guitar
Kyo Won (Charles Park) – lead guitar
Campbell Bond – bass
Ethan Lloyd – drums

Then on Sunday, it’s

Poetry at The Ballroom Café

Guest Poet: Tim Jones

Musicians: The Gracious Deviants

Open mic session

Sunday 17 October, 4 – 6pm

The Ballroom Café, cnr Riddiford St & Adelaide Rd, Newtown

ballroom poster October

and next Monday:

NZPS Monthly Poetry Reading, Wellington

Monday 18 October, 7.30pm
The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St

The meeting will be all open mic. night. Bring 2-3 (shortish) poems of your own and one of someone else’s to share and introduce us to. 

All welcome. Entry: $2.

More events around the country here:

This Sunday 18th July 4pm – 6pm
at the Ballroom Café, Newtown, Wellington
(corner of Riddiford Street & Adelaide Road)

Guest Poets are:

Simone Kaho
Hinemoana Baker
Teresia Teaiwa

Hinemoana Baker is a Maori writer & musician with tribal links to Taranaki, Horowhenua & Otakou Peninsula. Her 2nd book of poems, koiwi koiwi (VUP), will be launched at Poetry at The Ballroom

Simone Kaho, a poet with Tongan roots, has performed at Poetry Live in Auckland. Her work has been published in Live Lines III.

Teresia Teaiwa, an African American Banaban I-Kiribati who was born in Hawai’i & raised in Fiji, has had work published in Sidestream and in 2008 produced a solo CD, I can see Fiji.


Music from Hinemoana Baker & Chris White, open mic & more…

Poetry at the Ballroom Cafe

 Jennifer Compton will be reading at the Ballroom Cafe in Newtown, Wellington, on 20 June 4pm – 6pm & Carlos Navae will be playing music.  Click on the link below for the poster with more details.

ballroom poster June

Poetry Society AGM & 5 by 5

Monday 21 June, 7.30pm
The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St, Thorndon, Wellington

The meeting will open with the 2010 AGM of the NZPS.

This will be followed by readings from 5 local poets (Jack Duggan, Anne Harre, Tim Jones, Sugu Pillay, and Mercedes Webb-Pullman) of 5 poems each. Free entry.

Stand Up Poetry at the Palmerston North Library

I will be the guest poet at the Palmerston North City Library on 7 July.  It starts with an open mic at 7pm.

Location: Sound & Vision Zone, Ground Floor, Central Library

Other Good Poetry Things

The NZ Poetry Society has a good list of nationwide poetry events – here’s the link

On the international front recently, we’ve had Clive James refusing to take part in the “sad little contest” for Oxford poetry professor and female Saudi poet Hissa Hilal coming third in the Arab world’s largest poetry competition, the “Million’s Poet contest“.  Her success was notable because she was the first woman to reach the finals (since the annual competition started in 2006) and because her poetry spoke out against extreme religious laws that discriminate against women.  Well done Hissa Hilal!  She took home $800,000 for her prize.  Perhaps TVNZ would like to follow suit – surely it’s time for “NZ Poetry Idol”?

While Auckland is getting ready to enjoy their writers & readers festival, coming events in Wellington include:

Jenny Bornholdt at Massey’s Writers Read Series 2010

Thursday 13 May, 6pm
Theatrette (10A02) Museum Building, Massey University, Buckle Street; Entrance D, (access Theatrette from East side of Building).

Jenny Bornholdt (current writer in residence at Victoria University) will be reading and discussing her creative work, followed by Q & A and refreshments. All welcome, entry is free. Poet Bryan Walpert will chair.

PLEASE RSVP to by Tuesday 11 May.

Poetry @ The Ballroom Cafe, Wellington

Sunday 16 May, 4pm-6pm
Ballroom Cafe, junction of Adelaide Rd and Riddiford St (upstairs, next to the 4 Square)

Guest poets: Gerald Melling & Geoff Cochrane, with music from Terry Shore.

NZ Poetry Society May meeting

Monday 17 May, 7.30pm
The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St

Open mic to start, followed by guest poet: Pat White (Wairarapa), current Writer-in-Residence, Randell Cottage. Entry: $5 (NZPS members $3).

Ballroom Cafe

Tomorrow (Sunday 18th April), Rachel McAlpine will be reading poetry at the Ballroom Cafe in Newtown (9 Riddiford St) and Apollo will be drumming.!/event.php?eid=116209038390000&ref=nf

Open mic to start, so bring a poem to read.  4pm to 6pm.  Food, coffee, wine on sale. 

NZ Poetry Society

Monday 19 April, 7.30pm
The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St

Guest poet: Jennifer Compton (NZ/Australia), the current Writer-in-Residence at Massey University.

Entry: $5 (NZPS members $3).

Here I am at the Ballroom Cafe, being a sea anemone.

And here’s a photo of the poets and musicians who peformed on the day (including Abdalla Gabriel, Admire Barnes, Tim Jones, Harvey Molloy, Linzy Forbes, Alan Wells and some other lovely people whose names sadly escape me).  Next month – Rachel McAlpine!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

4pm to 6pm

Ballroom Cafe, Riddiford St, Newtown, Wellington

I will be the guest poet and Abdalla Gabriel and Admire Barnes will also be reading.  There will be a musical interlude (which will not be me playing Sheena is a Punk Rocker on the ukulele) and food and drink for sale.  There will be an open mic too, so bring your own poems to share.  Hope to see you there!

Sometimes (in libraries or bookshops), poetry gets classified as “non-fiction”, which always interests me.  It seems to imply that it is real, true or factual.  Sometimes, of course, poetry is all these things and sometimes it is completely fictional or even absurd. 

Poets often play with the truth to make the poem better.  I’m thinking of a conversation between Sam Hunt and Hone Tuwhare that Hunt relates in his recently published memoirs “Backroads”.  He’s referring to Tuwhare’s poem “Flood” that finishes:

“Shall I be able to ford

the river soon: visit

a lean Aunt?”

Hunt says he asked “Who was your lean Aunt, Hone?” and received the reply “I don’t know; it may have been my mother.”

But, of course “visit my mother” wouldn’t work nearly as well as “visit a lean Aunt”.

So, it pays not to take poetry too literally.  Certainly, much of my own poetry is completely fictional, although I often weave reality and imaginings together.  I would be alarmed to think people were regarding some of the things I’ve written as factual, or that when I write about “she”, I’m always really  referring to myself.  For the record, I don’t suffer from trichotillomania (a complusion to pull out one’s hair).  Also for the record (because people sometimes think the “you” in my poems refers to my current partner), I don’t cook chicken for dinner for Peter and me.  Nor do I think for one moment that the astronaut artist Alan Bean is putting backyard dirt on his paintings.  I’m sure he is a man of integrity; the poem is purely speculative.

But most  poetry has a kind of truth about it, even when it’s not factual.  Does that make it non-fiction?  No more than a novel or a short story, perhaps.  I think poetry sits best in a category all of its own.

Speaking of poetry, tomorrow (Sunday 21st Feb 2010) is the first of the Ballroom Cafe monthly poetry sessions. 

Poetry Cafe, Wellington, NZ

Sunday 21 February 2010, 4pm – 6pm
Ballroom Cafe, cnr Adelaide Rd and Riddiford St, Newtown

This will be a regular Wellington event on the 3rd Sunday of the month – a mix of open mic, music & guest poets.  A fine complement to the regular Poetry Society gigs on Monday nights.  I’m looking forward to it!



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