Takapuna Poetry Tour (8/5/21)
If you're at a loose end next Saturday, why not try one of the walks in Auckland's Urban Walking Festival? In fact - hint, hint - you might choose the one that I'm involved with, the Takapuna Poetry Tour.
The walk is free, but you're asked to book at this link to give some approximate idea of numbers. Here's Festival Director Melissa Laing's description of the event:
In the mid 20th Century Takapuna was the home to many of New Zealand's significant writers, poets, and playwrights, including Frank Sargeson, Bruce Mason, Janet Frame, and Karl Wolfskehl. The works they wrote influenced the shape of New Zealand literature for generations to come. The Takapuna Poetry Tour features writers performing poems in response to Takapuna’s literary history and urban future. Join us for spoken word and poetry on the streets.
Our poets include: Zak Devey, Amèlia Homs Ferrer, Renee Liang, Elizabeth Morton, Kiri Piahana-Wong, Ruby Porter, and Jack Ross.
Duration: 90 min
Access: Wheel Accessible
The Takapuna Poetry Tour is part of a day of activities presented in partnership with 38 Hurstmere, including films screened on site.
As you'll see from the map above, there are approximately 8 stops on the route, at each of which one of us poets will regale you with a short performance of one of our (Takapuna-related) works.
I have to say, Shore-ite though I've always been, I did find it a bit challenging to locate any specific references to Takapuna in my collected works, so have decided to settle instead for something more generically "North Shore" in inspiration.
I shall be stationed at stop 3 on the tour, the Frank Sargeson House at no. 14A Esmonde Road. I'm told that we'll be reading in the garden, as his bach is closed for refurbishment at present. I have to say that I'm hoping devoutly that it doesn't rain, as there's no real shelter anywhere near.
Bronwyn Evans: Reading at Frank Sargeson's House (8/5/21)
[image courtesy of photographer & Melissa Laing at Urban Walking Festival 2021]
Here are the proposed stops:
- Takapuna Beach / Bottom of Ewen Street - Bruce Mason's Home
Mason moved to Takapuna at the age of 5 and lived in Ewen St from 1926 until 1938.
- 9 Rewiti Ave - Kevin Ireland's home in the 1940s
- 14A Esmonde Rd - Frank Sargeson House
Janet Frame also lived here in a shed in 1955-56, while she worked on her first novel, Owls Do Cry. We'll be reading in the garden, as the house is closed at present.
- 24 Tennyson Ave - R. A. K. Mason's house
We'll do the reading in the car park of 22 Tennyson Ave, which is a medical cannabis practice beside Mason's old house. NB: Karl Wolfskehl also lived near here, on the corner of Burns Ave and Bracken Ave.
- Takapuna Bowling Club and Tennis Courts - not yet confirmed
- Hurstmere Green Park
This space was built in 2013 as part of a revitalisation of Takapuna, creating better town centre beach connections. It contains a text work: "Story Wall,” by Brett Graham, which concerns the myth of the origins of Lake Pupuke and Rangitoto.
- 38 Hurstmere
"A transitional space and home for tactical urbanism and placemaking, the first phase of a redevelopment of public land in Takapuna’s City Centre – a place for all of Takapuna.”
- Soap Box, Killarney Park - (a possible extension to the walk)
This sculpture was made to mark 125 years of women's suffrage
Bruce Mason: The End of the Golden Weather, dir. Ian Mune (8/5/21: 12-3 pm)
Paul Estcourt: Kevin Ireland (2007)
Frank Sargeson House (2006)
Rachel Barrowman: Mason (2004)
Brett Graham: Mataoho Wall (2012)
Christine Young: Soapbox (2019)
Jack Ross: The Oceanic Feeling (2021)
Actually, I tell a lie, I have managed to located a poem from my latest collection, The Oceanic Feeling, which references some of my feelings about Takapuna. I'm not sure that it's entirely appropriate to the occasion, though, so will include it here instead:
Anthony Minghella, dir.: Truly Madly Deeply (1991)
Rather a shock
i.m. Alan Rickman (1947-2016)
to think it’s been 25 years since
Truly Madly Deeply
my sister died
so hungry ghosts
seemed documentary realism
living by Lake Pupuke
with its gigantic eels
and those students next door
who had to pump up the stereo
to psych themselves
into going out
an unhappy time
as Rickman said
roles win Oscars
that swing inscribed for
Alice who used to play here
that makes the other parents
hold onto their kids
as though death were an infection
they might pick up
Te Ara: Lake Pupuke