The Autumn Newsletter for Poets

Poetry Editor Gill Ward says this is an April offering but it’s on the cusp of May so whenever you read it it will be
Autumn!

She continues: “Just now it seems to be raining poetry on me. So much appears in my life everyday and these last
weeks have been very fertile.

Here are some of the things that have delighted me:

Hone Tuwhare’s poems in Italian

Piccoli Buchi Nel Silenzio, Hone Tuwhare’s selected poems side by side in both English and Italian.

This was chosen and translated by Antonella Sarti Evans. I was at the Launch at Vic Books in Kelburn
parade; Antonella spoke about the process of translating the poems and the necessity of often
needing to leave the Maori words as they were with footnotes e.g., mana, marae, manuka, paua,
and kina, to name a few.

But has difficulty with dunny

There were difficulties with some words – dunny for one! And ‘bloody good’ was translated as troppo bello, which if you have heard Hone reading does not quite sound as it would the way he would yell it.

The musicality of the Italian Language as the poems were read both in Italian and English came through in both languages.

It was very poignant and in one poem Rain it was hard for the reader to hold it together at the end (and also for me!). Great to see
that poem and two other favourites there, Kitten and No Ordinary Sun but I was sorry Friend was not included. This was a very brave idea, and for me and I am sure for many others, it worked.

The NZ short poems

Then Short Poems of New Zealand edited by Jenny Bornholdt (Victoria University Press).

What a treat! I have always maintained that a poem doesn’t have to be long to be high-quality. In fact length, in the hands of the wrong writer can kill a poem.

This is s a stunning book. Paper Plus has it and it is a volume so worth owning. How proud I was to see in this book over twenty poets we have had to read for us at Poets to the people.

Many of them I have also heard read at other venues. Several we had as guests in the Second NZ Poetry Conference in Wellington as
well.

Bob Orr was our guest at Poets to the people in March. His new book is beautiful both in the quality of the book and the poems it holds. Congratulations to Roger Steele on a fine publication of a talented and unpretentious poet. This book One Hundred poems and a Year is also at Paper Plus.

Local heroes Rob and Kaye Clark

(l to r) Rob and Kaye Clarke, Gill Ward,Suer Jamieson, Alan Tristram, Hilary Wooding at a recent poetry prizegiving

How enjoyable it was to hear Rob and Kaye Clark of Paper Plus speak about book shop owning and their personal history of it at a recent Friends of the Libraries event.

And I have just finished reading The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. It is set in a ‘booktown’, Wigtown, in Scotland. A true story, delightful, honest and a very funny read.

Goodness, you really need a sense of humour to run a bookshop! I laughed and felt stressed at the same time as I read it. Recommended.

Another book from Margaret Jeune

Recently I was asked to write a blurb for Margaret Jeune’s book of poems, Flight Path. It is published by Mark Pirie of Headworkx. In it, I stated that Jeune ‘lets us into her life with accessible and straightforward poetry.’

I mentioned her style which is intimate, humorous and moving. Headworkx has just published a second volume of her early poems under her previous
name, Margaret Webb, Upbeat.

These poems begin in1969 and finish in 1987. I smiled at many of the titles and places. They brought back memories, coffee bars, (Chez Paris), the old Town Hall, Manners Street Post Office with its stamp machines…  a party on Mount Victoria.

She shared many of her experiences of way back then There is a marked maturity which grows between the
first and last poems in the collection.

Margaret is a prolific and dedicated poet who has resolutely written poems throughout all the various ups and downs of her life. I enjoyed finding lines which amused and arrested me.

For instance, in Hangover:

I’m a Saturday night leftover
On the Sunday morning rail
and from The Post Office:
How disappointing it would be
To discover that a jigsaw puzzle
Did not actually exist
And the piece that you found
Was in fact all there was.

As Tony Chad says ‘good solid images mixed with a quirky sense of humour.’ Margaret is a regular reader at Poets to the People.

We are delighted to present Fiona Farrell as our May guest poet on Sunday May 26th at Poets to the People.

I’ll leave you with Grouch Marx:
My favourite poem is the one that starts ‘Thirty days hath September’ because it actually tells you
something.
Well, that’s telling us!
Cuddle up with a book – it won’t argue with you and you can chuck it out if you don’t like it.

Gill

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