Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Contemporary NZ Poets by Theme

Come along with us, they say
There are one or two questions
We should like to ask you

– Bill Manhire, “The Old Man’s Example”

Here's a thematic breakdown of the 87 tracks in our Contemporary NZ Poets in Performance anthology (Auckland: AUP, 2007). The categories are pretty subjective, and could undoubtedly be improved on. Maybe that’s not such a bad starting point for discussion, though: what's the poem really about?


Janet Charman: injection
David Eggleton: Teen Angel
Graham Lindsay: Playground

Anne French: Trout
Sam Hunt: Hey, Minstrel
James Norcliffe: planchette
Peter Olds: Elephant
Bob Orr: Ballad of the Great South Rd

Murray Edmond: Voyager
Anne French: Uncle Ron’s last surprise
Roma Potiki: For Paiki
Ian Wedde: Earthly – Sonnets for Carlos 35

Geoff Cochrane: 1988
Peter Olds: Waking up in Phillip Street
Bob Orr: The X

Paula Green: greek salad
Paula Green: oven baked salmon

Bernadette Hall: Amica
Sam Hunt: Rainbows and a Promise of Snow

Alan Brunton: from Waves
Geoff Cochrane: Atlantis
Bernadette Hall: Famine
Bill Sewell: Breaking the quiet
Bill Sewell: Jahrhundertwende
Apirana Taylor: Parihaka
Apirana Taylor: six million

Graham Lindsay: Life in the Queen’s English
Bill Manhire: On Originality
Bill Manhire: Valedictory
Iain Sharp: Two Minute Poem
Ian Wedde: Barbary Coast

David Eggleton: Poem for the Unknown Tourist
Paula Green: Two Minutes Westward
Jan Kemp: Sailing boats
Graham Lindsay: Cloud silence
Bill Manhire: The Old Man’s Example
Bill Manhire: Visiting Mr Shackleton
Cilla McQueen: Living Here
Stephanie de Montalk: Northern Spring
James Norcliffe: at Franz Josef
Peter Olds: Doctors Rock
Bob Orr: A Country Shaped like a Butterfly’s Wing
Vivienne Plumb: The Vegan Bar and Gaming Lounge
Roma Potiki: Exploding Light
Bill Sewell: Riversdale

Keri Hulme: from Fisher in an Autumn Tide
Bill Manhire: A Song about the Moon
Vivienne Plumb: The Tank
Ian Wedde: Earthly – Sonnets for Carlos 31

Michele Leggott: cairo vessel
Jan Kemp: The sky’s enormous jug
Jan Kemp: ‘Love is a babe . . . ’

Geoff Cochrane: Zigzags
Anne French: Acute
Roma Potiki: Riven

Alan Brunton: The Man on Crazies Hill, 1 & 3
Janet Charman: cuckoo in the nest
Bernadette Hall: Party Tricks
Sam Hunt: My Father Scything
Sam Hunt: Plateau songs
Graham Lindsay: Chink
Bill Manhire: Miscarriage
Bob Orr: Eternity
Vivienne Plumb: A Letter from my Daughter

Bernadette Hall: The Lay Sister
Stephanie de Montalk: Tree Marriage

Fiona Farrell: Instructions for the consumption of your Humanitarian Food Package
Anne French: The new museology
Cilla McQueen: Fuse
Bill Sewell: Censorship
Apirana Taylor: Sad Joke on a Marae
Ian Wedde: Earthly – Sonnets for Carlos 32

Alan Brunton: The Man on Crazies Hill, 2
Janet Charman: but she wanted one
Janet Charman: ‘they say that in paradise’
Fiona Farrell: Anne Brown’s Song
Sam Hunt: Bottle to Battle to Death
Jan Kemp: Against the softness of woman
Jan Kemp: Jousting
Bill Manhire: Domestic
Apirana Taylor: Hinemoa’s daughter

Paula Green: afternoon tea with Virginia Woolf
James Norcliffe: the visit of the dalai lama
Richard von Sturmer: Dreams

Janet Charman: ready steady
Geoff Cochrane: Spindrift Sunday

Janet Charman: from wake up to yourself
Iain Sharp: Amnesty Day


Richard Taylor said...

There seem very interesting poets there - I have been reading some work by Geoff Cochrane (who is featured) - a great talent - some brilliant poems - I remembered him, or the cover of his book - as when I was in Ron Riddell's bookshop (The Dead Poets Book Shop) we had masses of NZ poetry and one of the books there - always unsold sadly - was one by him with beautiful cover called "Kandinsky's Mirror" which I acquired, basically by way of payment for working there...

To prove the capacity of poetry - last night when I was ill with a cough and troubled and couldn't sleep I was reading from that book.

I also read right through my own poetry book, to myself, aloud.

I ommitted the "Hospital" sequence.

The therapeutic and psychic value of reading even one's own work aloud (good or bad, however defined) cannot be underestimated - whatever the "level" one's writing is. The reading-aloud experience is of a positive psychological value - even if one very much realises (or is concerned by) one's (felt or other) limitations - such a reading - can be of pride or pleasure and solace to whoever reads there own work.

This may not be the "purpose" of art but it is certainly a value or use of or for it.

I also enjoyed the original poets book of those reading aloud.

I mean the first book with Fairburn and others. I borrowed it from the library: but I should buy one as - although Mason (who I used to read over and over as teenager so I know most of his poems almost by heart) - in my view murders his own work* - Fairburn's poem is, and is read, beautfully and, for example, David Mitchell is eerily exquisite and charged but controlled with his reading of his My Lai Poem.

I kept coming back to his reading of that.

But there are many other great readings in that collection which Jack et al assembled. I would say the new one will be as useful and a great addition to our heritage and our art.

* But it is still great in all cases to hear how these writers actually sound.

Richard Taylor said...

This analysis by theme is very interesting - and the best of course somehow concentrate many if not all these themes.

The interrelationship of these aspects or categories is interesting - even if related by the fact the poems are by the same poet.

What are the themes of my poems Jack? I exclude Hospital ...

I frequently wonder what the hell I was ever writing about. And these days wonder whether it is worth writing at all as I seem to have said it all but what it is I have said I am not sure!!

[BTW where are all the comments form all these aspiring poets or fellow academics etc Jack - you need to do more publicity work! I am not being (too) ironical - or will your Blog evolve? -it is incredible the exposure Silliman got or gets - of course he's been around for a long time and used to tell everyone everywhere on various poetic lists what and when he was posting. Which makes sense - one wants to be read.]

The Poetics List at Buffalo (run by the evil Bernstein! not Goldstein either of ASB or 1984!!) I was on from which I am now persona non grata: even had a big debate about the value of "blogging". (Laugh out loud -what else is left us?) It's American so one doesn't feel too bad about being disliked by person's from that country.)

Which makes me think perhaps you need to get more controversial Jack! Start attacking Bernstein (the High Priest of Langpoism) or someone like Ron Silliman or Lyn Heijinian and link him (them) with a plot to invade Iran - something like that, whatever as the Yanks say...Whatever gets publicity! Drop some names into the broth!!