Gill Ward’s Poetry News

Gill Ward

‘Oh well everyone – I’m sure we can say happy New Year right up to the end of January?’ says Poetry Editor Gill Ward.

Can’t we? It’s just that the days and years seem to go quickly and in November when I was having my first swim it seemed just the other day last April when I was having my last of the season. I am cautious about saying ‘happy’ New Year, mostly I like to wish us all marginally above average because even ‘average’ would do for many people.

Let’s celebrate

Let’s celebrate we are not immersed in Paris riots, Brexit, Trump, Syria,  ISIS and all the misery, uncertainness and sadness this and much more is bringing to families.

First, the bad news…

Now I need to tell everyone the good news/ bad news situation re Poets to the People. Most of you know High Tide our marvellous venue for poetry closed down in November after an arduous year.

We wish Leigh and her staff very well in whatever 2019 holds for them. They were such an accommodating crew, and they did us and much of the community proud in their thoughtful attention to a number of groups in Kapiti who made her Café a regular meeting place. So thank you all, we’ll miss you.

Gail Lewis to the rescue…again

I scoped out several venues and then magically Gail Lewis appeared and said ‘Why didn’t you ask me?’ Gail now owns Robert Harris in Coastlands. She was there at the beginning when Lindsay Rabbitt and I thought up the idea and started Poets to the People in Lembas 13 years ago.

Gail is full on with enthusiasm and love! She has worked out how we can operate; plenty of parking, poetry people from Waikanae and Paekakariki and Wellington can come by train and walk across. We can have coffee and wine and other goodies so how perfect is that?

Nicola Easthope coming

Our first poet this year on February 24th – last Sunday of the year is Nicola Easthope who has brought out her second book of poetry. ‘Working the tang’, (The Cuba Press) which was launched at the end of 2018. Let’s hope we have a great enthusiastic crowd to support Nicola, thank Gail, and encourage us (Elizabeth Coleman and me) and to share their poem at the open mic.

We are hosting Fiona Farrell in April, and have several others on our list for the year.

Bob Orr, seafarer and poet

I need to tell you about Bob Orr’s latest book, One hundred Poems One Year.

Bob Orr, born in the Waikato, worked as a seafarer on the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf for 38 years. He now lives in a cottage on the Thames Coast.

In 2016, Bob won the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry. 

One Hundred Poems and a Year is his ninth collection, and was mostly written when he was Writer in Residence at the University of Waikato in 2017.

Bob will read again for us in 2019 when we can sort out our programme for the year. His latest book is beautifully presented with a cover picture by the late Barry Lett. It is a picture of a vase of blue flowers and there is a moving poem for Barry in his book.

Steele Roberts have given us a fine collection with this beautifully presented publication. I can see tiny poems within each poem, lines that make you wish you had written them. Bob’s last lines are stunning. He is a master of the last line I think!

The sea, land and New Zealand are hidden in every poem – you’ll feel it.

When I used to write poetry reviews I hated quoting bits of poems because I felt it was like introducing one limb as a person! But I  am getting over it, so here is a small portion of one on Bob’s poems —

  • Rucksack

Consider this book of mine
as if it were a rucksack

containing what you might need
if you were to step outside your door.

There are poems heavily knitted
as fishermen’s jerseys

in case you should find yourself
all at sea. Others are

like handkerchiefs
you can put in your pocket —

Paper Plus has some copies in their poetry section. Hurry along and have a look (and try not to buy too many other books) they have the set selection of poetry books in the Kapiti Region.

Keep up cheering for poetry –-  make it as important in your life as sport is for some people.


Yes Fern and Sue write away we love your poems and so good that you share them at Poets o the People – I’d better get one ready myself for Sunday!

Today I walked into Paper Plus and was able to use my gift voucher – There is no Harbour (Dinah Hawken) and Working the tang (Nicola Easthope). Two coastal poets with recent publications. Wonderful – thank you Alan, Gill and all.
sincerely sue byford.


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