Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Michele 2021

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)

Michele 2021
A Birthday Festschrift for Michele Joy Leggott

(January 19 - October 18, 2021)

    Jack Ross: Preface: October 18, 2021
    About Michele

  1. John Adams: Michele, reading
  2. Rachel Blau DuPlessis: Dateline: Michele, in eight moments
  3. Pam Brown: mezzo cento
  4. Ruby Brunton: And Still the Earth is Round - Poem for Michele
  5. Janet Charman: haiku
  6. Lynley Edmeades: Listening In
  7. Frances Edmond: For Michele’s festschrift
  8. Martin Edmond: Michele Leggott
  9. Murray Edmond: After Gilgamesh: for michele
  10. Sue Fitchett: Homage to Michele Leggott who cured a comma addiction
  11. Paula Green: out of the dark
  12. Bernadette Hall: on adding up the loves of our lives
  13. David Howard: VIEW FINDER
  14. Bronwyn Lloyd: Adventures in the Archives
  15. Therese Lloyd: Regift
  16. Cilla McQueen: Poet-to-Poet
  17. John Newton: Big Projects for Poetry (& Criticism)
  18. Tim Page: Michele Festschrift
  19. Mary Paul: Rā whānau ki a koe, Michele
  20. Chris Price: Works and Days
  21. Jack Ross: The Gulf
  22. Lisa Samuels: Joy Division
  23. Tracey Slaughter: is there a goddess for this?
  24. Penny Somervaille: Dear Michele
  25. Helen Sword: Walking with Michele
  26. Fredrika van Elburg: Working with Michele
  27. Ann Vickery: Floating Largesse
  28. Susannah Whaley: Festschrift
  29. Michael Whittaker: My path to Michele
  30. 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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