Poetry Takes Off…Again !

edited gill wardBack on board with

Gill Ward’s poetry news

Life events took over and I have not been writing this column for a while. It’s good to be back.

Poets to the People is still in full swing on the last Sunday of every month. Although I am no longer organising the performances three enthusiastic and knowledgeable people have taken over. They are Michael Keith, Elizabeth Coleman and Linda Niccol.

You will no doubt know one or more of these local arts supporters. They are doing a great job and we have had full houses at every event this year.

Our guest poets have been wonderful and there is always a good attendance at the open mic. Do come along and read your poem. The audience is attentive, appreciative and sympathetic and we love first timers.

You may have noticed I say ‘we.’ This is because this is an inclusive community event and every one feels part of it. You’ll feel that if you come along.

Valhalla has ceased trading and we thank them wholeheartedly for their generous support over the last two and a half years. Our new venue is The Boundary on the corner of Rosetta and Raumati Roads.

Our August poet is ta taaa ta (drum roll) — Vincent O’Sullivan. Vincent, as most of you will know, is the current New Zealand Poet Laureate.

He is busy all over New Zealand so we are very fortunate to be able to persuade him to come to Kapiti. He didn’t need much persuading because he loved reading here last time.

At last year’s poetry conference I said we’d love to have him back but I knew how busy this year would be for him. Vincent said he would be delighted. So something to look forward to on Sunday 31st August. Watch out for information and posters.

National Poetry Day, Fri, 22 August 5.30pm event at Paraparaumu Library

Celebrate National Poetry Day this year with Kapiti Coast Libraries. This promises to be an exciting night with the winners of our ‘War and Peace’ themed poetry competition announced!

Read your own poems at the Open Mic session afterwards. Special guests at Open Mic will be Kāpiti College students reading poems of WW1.

So a chance to bring your poems to the open mic. Do it!

Also to remind you about the current series of   Writers on Mondays at Te Papa run by Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters is continuing. Look it up online there are fantastic offerings.

Last Monday we had the amazing Hinemoana Baker. I wish I had been able to get this out in time to tell you. Also two Paekakariki poets, Rachel O’Neill and Maria McMillan introduced their new collections there on 21st July. Look out for them!

Don’t miss Best New Zealand Poems selection on August 18th. Several Kapiti Poets are represented. These events are FREE believe it or not! What’s more if you are over 65 you can get a free train and bus in.

Poet of the

I feel like introducing a poet of the month each month. So I am going to indulge myself .My choice this month is Bob Orr. Bob’s latest collection, Odysseus in Wooloomooloowas published this year.

It is his eighth published book of verse. He has been writing poems since he was 12 “when I found that words and their arrangement, actual and possible, were a game like any other.”

His poems are in many anthologies. He has worked for 20 years on Waitemata Harbour. His poems show a love and familiarity of the way words work. They are fresh and spare. They are full of a sense of the sea and land and contain a depth of emotion laid cleanly and unapologetically before the reader.

Space limits a full review, and without permission I cannot include a complete poem. However the first poem in this book delighted me. If you have ever squinted your eyes on this coast to get a glimpse of the elusive green flash at sunset these few lines will resonate:

Wave after wave tilting from Australia.

At sunset by the ocean

we wait for the green flash —

I would love to include a poem once a month and so if you would like to submit send them to me at gillii@paradise.net.nz This will pose a huge dilemma for me as if I get too many I will have to choose. It’s ghastly not to be chosen when you submit but there will be a good reason for choosing the one I do rather a than a reason for leaving out a poem.

Good poetry activity to you all either passive or aggressive…