The 26th issue of the newsletter from Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa is available now for download as a pdf.

Inside Winter 2016, volume 7, issue 2: Michael Duffett on K O Arvidson; in memoriam: Rore Hapiti/Rowley Habib; classic New Zealand poetry by Mina Graham Leask (1850-1929); National Poetry Day poem: Tribute to Norman Kirk by Sefulu Ioane; comment on Karl Wolfskehl by Niel Wright; poetry by Vaughan Gunson; donate to PANZA through PayPal; recently received donations; about the Poetry Archive.

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PANZA celebrates this year’s National Poetry Day, 26 August 2016, with verses by a Samoan-New Zealand poet Sefulu Ioane, a Hamilton teacher of the 1970s.

Sefulu interestingly goes by the same surname as the well-known Auckland rugby brothers Reiko and Akira, two All Blacks Sevens players at this year’s Olympics in Rio.

It’s not known, however, whether there is a family connection between the three men.

Sefulu’s poem is a remarkable tribute to a deceased former Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk (1923-1974), and breaks through the boundaries of politics, race and culture with poignancy and ease.

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Prime Minister Norman Kirk. Macfarlane, Ian: Negatives of Graham Bagnall and Norman Kirk. Ref: 35mm-00277-b-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22910147

Perhaps one of the books missing in New Zealand’s poetry history is a reliable anthology of well rendered portraits of, and tributes to, politicians and including poems by poet-politicians themselves.

In the 19th century and early 20th century such poet-politicians/statesmen were the norm in New Zealand, e.g. Alfred Domett and William Pember Reeves.

Nowadays they are not so common but current Labour Opposition leader Andrew Little has delivered a poem in the House (republished in Tony Chad’s poetry magazine Valley Micropress).

More standard are political lampoons, protests and satirical attacks on politicians and their particular policies and taxes affecting the everyday life of Kiwis.

Former Prime Minister David Lange’s first wife Naomi published poetry (Itineraries, 1990), and Lange’s education aide Harvey McQueen wrote the sequence Beehive. More recently former Labour MP Bill Sutton has written and published poetry. His second book Billy Button: A Life was published this year by the HB Poetry Press.

Ioane’s poem is a memorable portrait in contrast to the usual political satires that have become well-known via newspapers.

The poem appeared in Norman Simms’ edition of the small magazine Cave, which he took over from the late Trevor Reeves, of Caveman Press. Cave became The New Quarterly Cave then Pacific Quarterly Moana then Rimu and later Cross Current.

TRIBUTE TO NORMAN KIRK

Poem adapted from the Original Samoan by Sefulu Ioane

I

They’ve lowered the balloon at Mururoa
Its airy splendor withers in quiet dissipation.
Nuclear fury now wallows underground;
Formidable wild boar of our age,
Tameless snorting sends tremors
To the dark confusion of the subterranean world.
In the brief hours of sunshine
The fisherman lays his net.

II

Once more, the star-fish are free
Dancing to the tango of sensuous rhythm,
In tune with the music of the night:
Tumultuous revelry in that twinkling paradise.
The Octopus is wise and a sitting majesty
Master of ancient ceremonies;
Its ritual, so clever
Was nearly forgotten.

III

Upon the reef, our mother, the sea smiles;
Her snowy hair befits her age.
Carefree children, gathering shell-fish;
Their hearts are gay, like their ancestors of yester-years.
Tomorrow is another day
But are now singing in the moonlight
And Trade winds bring showers
Of Clean, sparkling water.

IV

They say the Big Man, with the beating heart
And his friends, brought the balloon down.
Fearlessly that note resounded across the Sea,
Summoning warriors to the defence of Peace.
Was it madness or mere adventure,
Buzzing of the bee that the elephant should care?
Must the Sandpiper cry all day
Till its voice is heard?
I think not, but time will tell.

V

Yachtsman shared the sea with their Maori brother,
Faithful sisters, Waikato and Otago,
Obedient but gay at the altar.
The willing sailor whistles his tunes
Oblivious of unseen danger.
His country before him: the politician and the scientist,
Task masters of this century
Eagerly looking at Freedom’s eyes.

Sefulu Ioane, an associate editor of Cave; teaches biology at a Hamilton school.

(From Cave No. 7, c 1975)

[Sefulu Isaia Ioane wrote the Foreword to fellow poet Talosaga Tolovae’s 1980s book The Shadows Within and Other Poems, published by Rimu and held in the Archive.

Ioane also authored the teaching aid Handbook for Teachers of Pacific Island Children, 1977, 1978, 1982]

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Alongside the coffin of the late Prime Minister Norman Kirk at Parliament House, Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/4-021782-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22870322

Recently, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa featured in Jacket2, USA, in a series of commentaries by Vaughan Rapatahana on the small press and poetry scene in New Zealand.

“One such example of sterling input is the invaluable Poetry Archive of New Zealand. As Mark Pirie points out to us, ‘I co-organise the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa  (with Dr Michael O’Leary and Dr Niel Wright, the founders) collecting poets back to the nineteenth century. There are more good poets than people realize reading mainstream historical anthologies of New Zealand poetry. I have realized this fairly recently after wasted years of looking at and learning from selective, academic anthologies ever since I was a student. Since 2010, I have edited the quarterly Poetry Archive newsletter Poetry Notes. This has featured many forgotten historical New Zealand poets and presented highly original research by myself, Rowan Gibbs, Niel Wright, and Michael O’Leary. The National Library of New Zealand online research tools like Papers Past have been vital to this rediscovery of early New Zealand poetry too. Poets like Robert J Pope, Ivy Gibbs, and A. Stanley Sherratt have had their work republished.’ It needs to be made clear that these three guys receive no emolument for their earnest endeavours and do rely on donations of both funds and poetry texts to proliferate their resource, ‘so very good historical and contemporary poets don’t get missed.’ Stalwarts all, indeed.”

Article: Slam, slam … & thank you Mams by Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015 (https://jacket2.org/commentary/slam-slam-thank-you-mams).

The 25th issue of the newsletter from Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa is available now for download as a pdf.

Inside Autumn 2016, volume 7, issue 1: Michael Duffett on New Zealand in 1979; poetry by Eileen Van Trigt; in memoriam: Ruth Gilbert 1917-2016; Ruth Gilbert’s The Luthier by Niel Wright; Rachel Bush 1941-2016; comment on James K Baxter’s Complete Prose; Canterbury quakes anthology; donate to PANZA through PayPal; recently received donations; about the Poetry Archive.

The Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) now has over 5,000 titles.

Thanks to all those who have donated to the Archive over the past year.

The Poetry Archive of New Zealand catalogue has now been significantly updated to reflect new acquisitions March-May 2016.

The Archive began in February 2010 with around 3,000 titles and has grown substantially in the past year. PANZA would particularly like to thank Auckland poet, editor and novelist Alistair Paterson, Wellington poet/publisher Mark Pirie, Wellington publisher Roger Steele, Cecilia Johnson and the late New Zealand anthologist, poet and memoirist Harvey McQueen for their sizeable contributions to the fast-growing collection.

A full list of donations is listed in each issue of Poetry Notes, the PANZA newsletter.

PANZA acknowledges the death on 11 April 2016 of one of New Zealand poetry’s major poets, Ruth Gilbert (real name Florence Ruth Mackay).

Ruth Gilbert was awarded the distinction of receiving the ONZM (New Zealand Order of Merit) for “services to poetry” in 2002.

Gilbert was well-known in her writing life and was widely anthologised in major New Zealand anthologies.

She was educated at Hamilton High School and graduated at the Otago School of Physiotherapy in 1938.

Chief among her works is The Luthier sequence first published by Reed in 1966, a remarkable work detailing the musical appreciation in her family between the poet and her father, a maker of violins. The sequence shared the Jessie Mackay Memorial Prize for 1968 with James K Baxter. Three times Gilbert won the award.

Her other works such as her Lazarus sequence from Lazarus and Other Poems (1949) were widely acclaimed in New Zealand poetry circles. She also wrote poetry on her experiences in New York and Western Samoa.

Gilbert’s poetry dates from 1938 and as recently as 2009, 71 years later, was still being featured in PANZA member Mark Pirie’s journal broadsheet, issue no. 4, with a cover drawing of Ruth in Western Samoa by Dr Michael O’Leary (featured below). O’Leary has written vividly of her in his doctoral thesis on New Zealand women’s writing 1945-70.

As a poet, Ruth stayed true to her lyrical and musical impulse for rhyme despite Modernist trends in New Zealand poetry since the 1960s, and was an early feminist poet.

Gilbert published a number of volumes, including her Selected Poems, 1941-1998 from Niel Wright’s Original Books in 2008. Wright did much to publicise and keep in print Gilbert’s work in the past two decades.

Among the positions she held are: President of PEN (the Writers’ Union); President of the New Zealand Women Writer’s Society; and a member of the New Zealand Literary Fund Committee.

Gilbert was 99 at the time of her death.

PANZA extends their deepest sympathy to her family and friends at this time.

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Ruth Gilbert in Samoa by Michael O’Leary, 2009

The 24th issue of the newsletter from Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa is available now for download as a pdf.

Inside Summer 2016, volume 6, issue 4: Niel Wright on W H Oliver (1925-2015); classic New Zealand poetry by E Mary Gurney (1900-1938); poetry by Hugh Isdale; comment on Robert John Palmer Bakewell (1857-1942); NZ Truth poem; research request; donate to PANZA through PayPal; recently received donations; about the Poetry Archive.

esawxmassurprise2015cov

In the spirit of the Beatles who put out a Christmas record for their fans, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) and HeadworX offer to you, our friends and clients, this small token for your enjoyment.

Poems on the railway, Auckland, cricket, netball, excerpts from Niel Wright’s Poetic Fish Hooks, and a prose piece by B. E. Turner from the recently published ESAW anthology Of Paekakariki edited by Sylvia Bagnall.

Contributors: Michael O’Leary, B. E. Turner, F. W. Nielsen Wright, and Mark Pirie.

Download and view the free pdf of this book (file size 527KB):

http://www.markpirie.com/books/esaw-christmas-surprise-2015

The Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) now has over 5,000 titles.

Thanks to all those who have donated to the Archive over the past year.

The Poetry Archive of New Zealand catalogue has now been significantly updated to reflect new acquisitions September-November.

The Archive began in February 2010 with around 3,000 titles and has grown substantially in the past year. PANZA would particularly like to thank Auckland poet, editor and novelist Alistair Paterson, Wellington poet/publisher Mark Pirie, Wellington publisher Roger Steele, Cecilia Johnson and the late New Zealand anthologist, poet and memoirist Harvey McQueen for their sizeable contributions to the fast-growing collection.

A full list of donations is listed in each issue of Poetry Notes, the PANZA newsletter.

The 23rd issue of the newsletter from Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa is available now for download as a pdf.

Inside  Spring 2015, volume 6, issue 3: An interview with Patricia Prime; A history of JAAM literary magazine; National Poetry Day Poem: Carlaw Park by Francis Cloke; poetry by MaryJane Thomson; further comment on Geoffrey Pollett (1908-1937); further comment on John O’Connor (1949-2015); Paekakariki arts walk; C K Stead appointed NZ Poet Laureate; new publications by PANZA members: Lonely Earth by MaryJane Thomson; 12 Netball Poems by Mark Pirie; Livin’ ina Aucklan’ CD by Earl of Seacliff’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Michael O’Leary and others]; Poetic Fish Hooks by Niel Wright; donate to PANZA through PayPal; recently received donations; about the Poetry Archive.