Poet Emeritus Gill Ward Is Back

Gill reports: ‘Well here I am after a long absence. The lockdown included my brain too.

Gill Ward

However I have done some reading. Like many people I have piles of books I have been give, found at op shops and sometimes bought new (well, sale price).

The 100-page rule

I decided I would place a 100 page injunction on myself and if after 100 pages (or less) I had decided the book was not for me I would stop reading it.

It is a liberating exercise. As my birthdays increase I know I will never cook all the recipes I have cut for magazines or even eat them is someone else cooks them Ditto to reading the books.

Lock down — a chance to purge a little.

During this time I have read books by local people, autobiographies, poems, short stories and novels, the whole range of literature. 

Two books I read were published recently by HeadworX  (Wellington), Mark Pirie’s company.  These were both poetry books. 

Here are two mini reviews as space allows:

Three Poets, HeadworX Publishers 2020. $25.00:

These three writers have read regularly at Poets to the People in Kapiti cafes where over nearly 16 years we have been bringing important guest poets to Kapiti and given writers an opportunity to read their own poems to an audience.

As a result of this I am familiar with the styles and poems of these poets. Congratulations to all three.

 Marion Rego, the first poet in the book has a really straight up and down approach to her poems (and when she reads them!).

They can be tender and wise but funny at the same time. Her light humour is a fine way of getting a message across. As well as her poetry collection in 2018,

Marion has been published widely and professionally for many years in educational brochures, school journals and children’s literature, songs, and travel writing.

Next is Alex Jeune, an emerging poet.

His poetry is compact and precise, well formed and the words perfectly matched to what he is saying.

He has a keen eye for nature and what is happening around him and an economical and graceful way of presenting them.

He has been published in several journals and an anthology.

Margaret Jeune too has published three collections of her poetry and appeared in several anthologies.

She too observes the. daily life around her. several of her poems are list poems and give you visual renderings of (for instance) Auckland, Titirangi , and New Zealand at Holiday Time. I felt as if I were there with her.


The Wanderer, HeadworX Publishers 2020. $25.00

 Ron Riddell is a well known New Zealand poet and novelist who lives much of the time in Colombia where the poem starts and it ends in New Zealand.

His Poetic Sequence, The Wanderer, takes you on a long journey which I felt I was sharing.

This, a long poem with connecting verses, was magical to say the least. 

I was taken along with Riddell throughout the poem; wrapped up in it. There are echoes of Dante and Eliot, in what has been described as a ‘soul-journey’.

I noticed poet Bob Orr had a comment in the blurb on the back cover so I rang him in Coromandel to talk about it. Bob said he was ‘increasingly spellbound’. Me too. 

Thought for the day:  “I need about one hundred fifty drafts of a poem to get it right, and fifty more to make it sound spontaneous.” ― James Dickey

Kindly, Gill

Oops how embarrassing! I notice I said ‘books I have been give” instead of given. Made me laugh but it’s a good example of you read what you think you see. Like ‘ physician heal thyself” should be ‘writer edit thyself”.

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