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OK, with 2009 already a distant memory, here is part 3 of poetry books I read and enjoyed last year.  No doubt I’ve missed a few along the way, but here goes:

Firesprung‘ and ‘Keening with Spittal Tongues’ by Kathleen Kenny (Red Squirrel Press).  We saw Kathleen read at the South Shields  Museum last August and I really enjoyed hearing her poems.  You can read a couple on the Red Squirrel website.

‘Further Convictions Pending’ – Vincent O’Sullivan (VUP) – I confess I hadn’t read much of Vincent O’Sullivan before.  I won this in an NZ Book Council giveaway (thanks Book Council!) and am now on a very pleasant voyage of discovery.

‘The Song of Lunch’ (CB Editions) and ‘A Scattering’ (Arete Books) by Christopher Reid.  Christopher Reid read at Te Papa last year.  A Scattering is a sad, but beautiful book, about his grief at the death of his wife (more on that here

Lighter and more fun (but still with its dark side) is The Song of Lunch, about a man who meets up for lunch with a former girlfriend but things don’t turn out as he imagined.

‘Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand’ (Interactive Press, edited by Mark Pirie and Tom Jones) – well I have to mention Voyagers, seeing as I’ve got a poem in it.  See here for more details and sample poems.  Lots of gems in this book.  One of my favourites is Vivienne Plumb’s The Last Day of the World which begins “That will be the day none of the eggs will cook.  There will be strange phenomena” .

On the Eve of Never Departing’  by Richard von Sturmer (Titus Books).  Not a poetry book (more of a memoir), but his language is so lyrical and beautiful, I thought I’d sneak it in.  There’s an account of the launch here:  I remember seeing Richard and his partner performing as the Humanimals in Auckland back in the early eighties and being terribly impressed.

 Also not a poetry book per se is Sam Hunt’s ‘Backroads’ (Craig Potton Publishing) which Peter got me for Christmas – again it’s a memoir, but with lots of great poems (other people’s – like James K Baxter’s – as well as his own) and great photos.

 Peter also gave me Glenn Colquhoun’s latest: ‘North South’ (Steele Roberts) – with illustrations by Nigel Brown, a tale of Celtic gods and goddesses meeting their Māori counterparts.

So – that was 2009.  Here’s wishing everyone a poetic 2010!

I’ve been making jewellery.  On Thursday evenings at Inverlochy house in Aro Valley with jeweller Sue Shore.  Unfortunately, the course is finished now, but I hope to do more next year.  Last week, I made a pair of copper spaceship earrings, and the week before I made silver earrings, heating strips of silver until the surface melted into folds.  Polished up in the tumbler, they ended up looking a little like leather, I think.  It’s been enormous fun – all the hammering and soldering and sawing – a good antidote to sitting in front of a computer all day.

Here are the little ships, floating in space, and celebrating the fact the Voyagers science fiction poetry book made it into the Listener’s Top 100 books for the year.

The Voyagers science fiction poetry anthology is being launched around New Zealand this month. A list of dates and readers (shamelessly copied from Tim Jones’ blog) follows. I will be reading a poem from the book at the Wellington Central Library on Monday 19 October 2009 and at Paraparaumu Library on Tuesday 20 October. The book’s received a great review in the latest Listener (10-16 October) – good to see it’s making a splash, as editors Mark Pirie and Tim Jones had quite a journey getting it published.

There are all sorts of notable Kiwi poets in the book – Fleur Adcock, Kevin Ireland, Fiona Kidman, Alistair Campbell, Meg Campbell, Alistair Paterson, David Eggleton – I could go on. Have a browse in your local bookshop, go to a reading, write some yourself!

Voyagers Tour Events: Venues and Readers

Dunedin Public Library, 14 Oct, 5:30 pm
. Join Sue Wootton, James Dignan, Tim Jones, David Karena-Holmes and IP Director Dr David Reiter to kick off the national tour of Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand.

Dunedin, Circadian Rhythm Café, 15 Oct, 7 pm. Our event here will feature Sue Wootton, Jenny Powell, James Dignan, David Eggleton, David Karena-Holmes, Tim Jones and David Reiter.

Christchurch, Madras Café, 16 Oct, 5 pm
, with Owen Marshall, James Norcliffe, David Gregory, Tim Jones and David Reiter

Wellington Central Library, 19 Oct, 5:30 pm
, with Janis
Freegard, Robin Fry, Helen Rickerby (tbc), Jack Perkins, Rachel McAlpine, Michael O’Leary, Marilyn Duckworth, Tim Jones, Mark Pirie and David Reiter

Kapiti Coast, Paraparaumu Library, 20 Oct, 5:30 pm for 6 pm
featuring Puri Alvarez, Nic Hill, Helen Rickerby, Michael O’Leary, Janis Freegard and David Reiter

Hamilton, TBC, 21 Oct

Auckland Central Library, 22 Oct, 5.30pm,
, with Raewyn Alexander, Jacqueline Ottaway, Iain Sharp, Michael Morrissey, Anna Rugis, Alastair Paterson, Iain Britton, Thomas Mitchell, Janet Charman and David Reiter

Devonport, 24 Oct, 6:30 pm, Depot Arts Space, with Iain Britton, Alistair Paterson, Andrew Fagan, Janet Charman, Anna Rugis, Thomas
Mitchell and David Reiter.,_sci-fi_poetry-m048.asx
Mark Pirie & Tim Jones talk to Lynn Freeman on Radio NZ about Voyagers, the new NZ science fiction poetry collection.

I may be biased – having a poem in the collection myself – but I’m finding it a great assortment of established and new poets with a wide range of poetic styles and interpretation of what science fiction poetry actually is.

‘Voyagers’ is coming your way soon. It’s a science fiction poetry anthology edited by Mark Pirie and Tim Jones and I’m very happy to have a poem in it. You can read more about it on Tim’s blog here:

Should be available in New Zealand on 1 June.

There is a mini-site at: and an orders page at:





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