Cover image: Katharina Jaeger / Cover design: William Bardebes (2020)
The Oceanic Feeling. Drawings by Katharina Jaeger. Afterword by Bronwyn Lloyd.
ISBN 978-0-473-55801-7. Auckland: Salt & Greyboy Press, 2021. 72 pp.
[I'm going out on a limb here and gambling on our present COVID-19 Level 2 status to assume that this event will be permitted to go ahead. You might be best to wait on confirmation of that before booking your fare to Hamilton, though. I think we should come in under the 100 participants restriction, but of course social distancing will have to be considered as well.]
Tracey Slaughter has very kindly invited me to piggyback the breaking of a bottle of champagne over the bow of my new book of poems onto the launch event for her first issue of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook as Managing Editor. Here are the details:
Venue: Poppies Bookshop Hamilton
Time: Thursday 11 March, 5.30 onwards
So what exactly is this book? It contains poems written over the past seven years or so, roughly the period I myself was editing Poetry New Zealand, with illustrations from Katharina Jaeger, and an afterword by Bronwyn Lloyd, beautifully produced by William Bardebes and Emma Smith at Salt & Greyboy Press.
Here's what the blurb has to say:
Jack Ross’s latest collection combines poems about ‘families – and how to survive them’ (in John Cleese’s phrase) with darkly humorous reflections on Academia and various other aspects of modern life. It concludes with some translations from Boris Pasternak and Guillaume Apollinaire.
The book also includes a suite of drawings by Swiss-New Zealand Artist Katharina Jaeger, ably explicated in an Afterword by Art Writer Bronwyn Lloyd.
'… picture yourself on a Gold Coast beach, the wind idly leafing through the pages of a much-annotated copy of Benjamin’s Arcades Project on your lap; as ‘Baudelaire’ flashes by in your peripheral vision, you disinterestedly observe a sleek conferential shark feeding – though far from frenziedly – on a smorgasbord of swimmers, whose names end with unstressed vowels and whose togs are at least a size too small. The water is the colour of an $8 bottle of rosé. I find reading Ross – to borrow his victims’ parlance – kind of like that.'
- Robert McLean, Landfall Review Online
Born in Zurich in 1964, Katharina Jaeger studied art at Kunstgewerbeschule Zurich before emigrating to New Zealand in 1986. She has a Bachelor of Design from Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (now Ara Institute of Canterbury), where she currently teaches in the Visual Arts Programme. Katharina has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally for over two decades. She was a finalist for the Parkin Drawing Prize in 2017 and her most recent solo exhibition, Billow, was held at PG Gallery 192 in September 2019.
Bronwyn Lloyd is a freelance art writer and textile artist who lives in Mairangi Bay. She completed a PhD on Rita Angus’s Goddess paintings at the University of Auckland in 2010. Since 1999 Bronwyn has been publishing articles and catalogue essays on New Zealand painting, applied art and design, as well as fiction: her first book of short stories, The Second Location, was published in 2011 by Titus Books. Her series of needlepoint amulets, Under the Protection, was exhibited at Masterworks Gallery in November 2020.
Jack Ross has published five poetry collections, three novels, three novellas, and three books of short fiction, most recently Ghost Stories (2019). He was managing editor of Poetry New Zealand from 2014-2019, and has edited numerous other books, anthologies, and literary journals. He lives in Mairangi Bay on Auckland’s North Shore and teaches creative writing at Massey University.
Crissi Blair: Salt & Greyboy Press (2019)
So there you go. The gang will all be there. There'll be readings and book-signings by Tracey, me, Aimee Jane, and a host of others - it'll be standing room only, and a night to remember. As Tracey has written about the work she's been receiving over the past year of COVID-19 lockdowns and confusion:
They wrote like their breath depended on it! Poem after poem that came in showed the traces of writers using language in its rawest form — to reach out, to make human contact, to leave some skin-temperature mark. When we were cut off from real presence, when we were barred from crossing thresholds, we sent language instead ...I don't think that's something you'll be wanting to miss.