Thursday, May 31, 2007

Launch Invitation!

You are all most cordially invited to a booklaunch, on

4.15 pm
Bennetts Book Shop
Massey Albany

(Come off the northern motorway at the Albany turnoff, heading straight up the hill towards the main Massey campus, then drive in through Entrance One. Extensive parking is available. Bennetts bookshop is at the front of the large building to the left of this one, up a sweeping set of stone stairs.)

The two books being launched are new titles in the Massey Social and Cultural Studies monograph series:

#7 - Blood Ties with Strangers: Navigating the Course of Adoption Reunion over the Long Term
by Julee Browning

Drawing on in-depth interviews, this study expands on previous research to suggest that, both emotionally and practically, reunited relationships have no predictable pathways.


#8 - To Terezín
by Jack Ross

An account, in poetry and prose, of a visit to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in the Czech Republic, with an afterword by Montana-award-winning author Martin Edmond.

The books can either be bought either at the launch, or else ordered from the School of Social and Cultural Studies. Copies of Julee's book are $12 each; copies of mine are $15 each (+ $2 postage and packing).

Order enquiries to Leanne Menzies
Ph: (09) 441-8163
Fax: (09) 441-8162

Dr Graeme Macrae will launch Julee's book, and maverick poet and unrepentant Leftie Scott Hamilton has agreed to launch mine. Thanks again, guys!

You really owe it to yourself to check out this fascinating event. (Drinks and nibbles will be provided courtesy of the School of Social and Cultural Studies.)

Here are two sample poems from my book:

The Resistance

The trouble started
early in my stay
What would you like to see

in Prague?

The castle
The Charles bridge

the Jewish quarter

in Czech)
Why would you want
to go

I tried some explanations
heard so much about it
seen the films

read books
some friends had
mentioned it

before I left



Why would you want
to go there?

I think

you’ve got to see
the nightmare

for yourself

If the survivors
told me
not to go

I’d stay away


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Ross,

are dogs allowed at the launch? I asked my wife, and she said that it was obvious from your advertisement that dogs were allowed at the launch, but I thought I would ask you explicitly whether dogs are allowed, just to be on the safe side.

Are dogs allowed?

Keith Clyde (B.A.)

Dr Jack Ross said...

Well, Keith, all I can say is that any dog with a chequebook (or a major credit card, for that matter) is more than welcome at the launch -- and that goes for any other members of the animal kingdom also.

Jen said...

All best for this afternoon! I'd love to come but can't - will definitely get a copy of this from you or elsewhere before I leave for Prague, though.

Richard said...


I am very glad I got a copy of your book - the subject of the Holocaust and Hitler is the question of the 20th Century (Susan Sontag). As I discussed with you (briefly) Mailer is writing a book about Hitler - this was in some strange mag about or for enthusiasts of the hist. of WW2 - in the same issue they justify the Iraq War! But I only glanced at it and Mailer said something to the effect that if Hitler could be understood in "human terms" there was no hope and so on. But I understand but amnot so sure/unsure (sometimes I DO think - what can or could be or should be done after Auschwitz..) - maybe there isnt any hope - and Mailer is well qualified to comment in this way. But one hopes he is wrong.

But Mailer has a point.

Your book is less "ambitious" but certainly a fascinating "take" by a kiwi on the subject and your approach is subtle but not too formibable so I think people should get your book especially as it is at very reasonable price.

And for those who think "Holocaust - doom and gloom, not for me" it's not that bad - I like the honest humour of where Jack admits to his Czech hosts that his subjects are "always morbid" - that is direct if perhaps not quite true!

Scott gave a good intro. At that launch - my first time at Massey - I suddenly felt that - along side the book on adopton - "this is all very perilous; those who care on such issues - while there might be many in the 'intellectual world' (who care and who study such matters or related social sciences) and Massey is a big University, I had never been there...very big... (one could be fooled into thinking it was vast and represented New Zealand very well - but I felt suddenly as if I was Alice in Wonderland not in Realand - but that was touch of 'alienation' perhaps) but it is a kind of an oasis (an oasis not of a place but of a 'possiblity' of the development of ideas and sensbility etc) cut off from the darker world both you and the other writers are trying to delineate or iluminate..."))

On the road, outside the Massey campus, with cars belting about the North Shore (eveyone desperate to get way from everyone else) - looking for a petrol station - the world was very much less friendly or "cut off" like the somewhat sinister village in 'The Prisoner');

As Scott said we in NZ tend to put these issues away - in the '"over there,dont go there" box' - where we don't have to really face them...but death horror and injustice happen throughout the world and don't not happen relentlessly here in NZ daily.

And you segue into some very interesting (and indeed related - if not obviously) issues later in the book.

This book is a subtle addition to your total work - as I see it - to your "project".

As I said I am very glad I made the effort to go to Massey and buy a copy - this seemed important to me - for the writing and the subject. I don't drink now so I wasn't there for the wine or the nibbles as I missed most of them also! Important to be there for some reason more than some social need or the need to be seen or whatever. The book seemed important - I wasnt quite sure why at first... but I needed to BE there in person (if possible).

Thanks for the book. Richard.

Olivia Macassey said...

Alas, unlike Richard I wasn't there in person, but add my congratulations to the others and look forward to reading your book.

Dr Jack Ross said...

Thanks Richard and Liv for your comments. I've been taking both of your names in vain in my upcooming essay on "Irony and After: New Bearings in NZ Poetry" for the next Poetry New Zealand ... More on that later.

Richard said...


My name is eternally taken in vain!