Wikipedia informs me that there's now a specific term for a Festschrift compiled and published by electronic means on the internet. It's called a Webfestschrift.
They also state that this German word has been naturalised so thoroughly into English that it no longer requires italics. But what exactly does it mean? I've defined it, in context, as a "write of celebration" - a series of essays or (as in this case) poems and short memoirs designed to mark the retirement of a great writer or scholar.
Since January I've been working - with the help of many friends and contributors - on a Festschrift to celebrate the life and work of New Zealand poet Michele Leggott on the occasion of her retirement from the University of Auckland. That site went live yesterday, on Michele's birthday.
Here's a link to it, along with a table of contents:
Michele Leggott: DIA (1994)
A Birthday Festschrift for Michele Joy Leggott
(January 19 - October 18, 2021)
Jack Ross: Preface: October 18, 2021
- John Adams: Michele, reading
- Rachel Blau DuPlessis: Dateline: Michele, in eight moments
- Pam Brown: mezzo cento
- Ruby Brunton: And Still the Earth is Round - Poem for Michele
- Janet Charman: haiku
- Lynley Edmeades: Listening In
- Frances Edmond: For Michele’s festschrift
- Martin Edmond: Michele Leggott
- Murray Edmond: After Gilgamesh: for michele
- Sue Fitchett: Homage to Michele Leggott who cured a comma addiction
- Paula Green: out of the dark
- Bernadette Hall: on adding up the loves of our lives
- David Howard: VIEW FINDER
- Bronwyn Lloyd: Adventures in the Archives
- Therese Lloyd: Regift
- Cilla McQueen: Poet-to-Poet
- John Newton: Big Projects for Poetry (& Criticism)
- Tim Page: Michele Festschrift
- Mary Paul: Rā whānau ki a koe, Michele
- Chris Price: Works and Days
- Jack Ross: The Gulf
- Lisa Samuels: Joy Division
- Tracey Slaughter: is there a goddess for this?
- Penny Somervaille: Dear Michele
- Helen Sword: Walking with Michele
- Fredrika van Elburg: Working with Michele
- Ann Vickery: Floating Largesse
- Susannah Whaley: Festschrift
- Michael Whittaker: My path to Michele
- Joanne Wilkes: Michele Leggott
Michele Leggott: Heartland (2014)
It's been great fun working on this project. By its very nature it had to be hush-hush, and I was very happy to learn from Michele yesterday that we had indeed succeeded in keeping it secret. Even people she was in touch with every day had managed to avoid dropping any hints.
Of course, it contains contributions by only a few of the people who would like to celebrate and remember Michele's influence on them. In that sense it's a start rather than a full-stop to a consideration of her career to date. Now she's retired from Academia, there'll be that much more time to work on her own projects and interests exclusively in future!
I hope you enjoy browsing through the various pieces we've included. The site includes a pictorial breakdown of Michele's publications (both print and online) which may come as quite a surprise to some. She's really had an extraordinary influence on many, many aspects of New Zealand culture over the past three or four decades.
There's certainly space for a more complete listing of her articles and shorter pieces, but I leave that for someone else in the future. This project was intended from the start to be more personal and less academic in focus, and hopefully that will make it more accessible to poetry-lovers everywhere.
Michele Leggott: Mezzaluna: Selected Poems (2020)
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