‘The Land of Poems, Poetry and Poets’

‘Greetings from the land of poems, poetry and poets,’ says Gill Ward.

‘ do sometimes mention other books or literary matters in this column but this is because some things are too good not to share.

Last month at Poets to the People we hosted Fiona Farrell. Fiona is an important New Zealand author and poet and had come all the way from Dunedin so we were indeed privileged to have her here in Kapiti.

Fiona Farrell

To say you could have heard a pin drop is no exaggeration.

As well as reading her poems Fiona talked to us about writing them. We do appreciate this.

For some time I have owned a book of poems called Being Alive, (ed. Neil Astely, Bloodaxe books England). This book was supported by the Arts Council England.

It is a large, international anthology; 482 pages of contemporary poetry. The poems are described as being about love and loss, fear and longing, hurt and wonder. Fiona has a poem in this book and I asked to read it for us. This poem was called Credo and it had a verse in it:

“I believe in

life. You have to

don’t you, being alive?”

I wonder if the name of the book came from this poem?

Ranging from humorous to heart-stopping

Fiona’s poems ranged from gently humorous ( a ‘knight’ wooing her with a load of firewood instead of roses) to the heart-stopping sadness of Hamid Ameri’s Skull won’t stop growing.

Thank you many times to Fiona Farrell for this inspirational visit.

Mark Pirie up next

Our next poet is Mark Pirie. Mark’s poems have been published in India, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia, the US, Canada, Singapore, China, Thailand, Germany and the U.K.  As well,

Mark is an editor of poetry anthologies and literary critic. He writes fiction and non-fiction. Mark is a supportive publisher of many New Zealand  poets (JAAM, HeadworX, broadsheet and the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa) and we are very pleased to acknowledge his contribution in this field by presenting him and his own poems at Poets to the People.

‘Short Poems’– and a tribute to Denis Glover

I am loving Victoria University press’s Short poems of New Zealand (ed. Jenny Bornholdt)

Here then is a wee tribute to a famous one-time inhabitant of Paekakariki, Denis Glover a poem of his which is in this book:

Home Thoughts

I do not dream of Sussex downs

or quaint old England’s

quaint old towns ––

I think of what may yet be seen

in Johnsonville or Geraldine.

Poetry lessons:

  1. You can be funny and nostalgic at the same time
  2. a poem doesn’t have to be long
  3. it is ok to rhyme – but do it right!
  4. Read this book if you can, or buy it from Paper Plus.


Kapiti Coast District Libraries’ Poetry Competition 2019 is now open and the deadline is 30th June. The theme is TOGETHER.

For guidelines, and to enter, visit www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/libraries

To finish, a Chinese proverb:

A picture is a voiceless poem; a poem is a vocal picture.

Well, sometimes!


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