Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Alice Spider (extract) by Janis Freegard

From Alice sings

she's a nightchild baby, daughter of the city, she's part of these neon lights, she walks so fast and looks so cool, you know that she's got it right, she's a citygirl, sugar, and she's so clever, she knows the quick way home, she's a moonbeam baby ...

Gorgeous huh? You can see more of Alice Spider and hear her read out loud on the Anomalous website. This exciting US press is publishing Alice Spider by kiwi Tuesday Poet Janis Freegard - she posts on it here and you'll notice that Anomalous has been drumming up some funding on Kickstarter. It's a great way to support a poet and a press and you get a beautiful book (and all sorts of extras) for your troubles. I've signed up, and there's 16 hours left to go from... now... click here. 

And over on Tuesday Poem there's a terrific brand new poem by Fleur Adcock and a lovely piece of writing by this week's editor Helen Rickerby explaining why she chose it. Then there's the sidebar - 30 poets and 30 poems... why not? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Poem: A Song on the End of the World by Czesław Miłosz

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

Thanks to Melissa Green - my lovely poet friend for posting this poem on her blog once and thus alerting me to it. It's perfect for the week when we think of the Canterbury earthquake that hit two years ago delivering such horrors to that beautiful city ... I also direct you to Fault by Joanna Preston which is on the Tuesday Poem hub.

My thoughts will be with the people of Christchurch on February 22. 

Back to Melissa Green who lives in Boston and is a Tuesday Poem alumni and someone I correspond with - not enough, not nearly enough. Just this evening, I suddenly wanted to see what she was up to - to see she was still writing poems and blogging. She is a quite extraordinary poet. 

Melissa Green
So yes, she's blogging (now and again), but more importantly, I discovered (I must have heard something on the wind) that she's publishing her memoir The Linen Way as an e-book with Rosa Mira Books. I have had the privilege of reading this memoir and the images it left me with are burnt into my memory.  

Such brilliant news... bravo Penelope Todd of Rosa Mira! Bravo Melissa!

Do please check out the TP hub - not only is there Joanna Preston's poem but also, in the sidebar, you'll find poets posting their own work and work by others they admire. Lovely stuff. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Poem: The Gift by C.K. Stead

I'm editor of the Tuesday Poem hub this week, so I'll send you there in a single click - faster than Dorothy and the magic slippers - to read C.K. Stead's The Gift.  See you there...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tuesday Poem: Wild Iron by Allen Curnow

Yes, this is us in Wellington at the moment - I am listening now to the foundering shrieks of the gale. Allen Curnow wrote the poem in 1941 and it's a stunning piece of writing - the sounds and the repetition of those sounds (which he delighted in) slowly but surely hammering home the reality of the winds on settler roofs in Canterbury.

I'm rather taken up with Curnow's mate Denis Glover at the moment because, over the summer, I found a terrific first edition (only edition?) copy of his collection Wellington Harbour  - a collection of funny, rude, satirical sort of poems (I think he called them 'funniosities') about the place where I live - many of which were published in the Dominion Post.

Googling around, I found an indepth write-up on Glover here , and included in it is the story behind his most famous poem The Magpies which is, it seems, inextricably linked with Curnow's Wild Iron. Seems they were heading off to a bach together through a dark and stormy night ... which brings me to this post, I guess -- and the poem. Unavoidable, really. 

Here's the full story of Glover and Curnow and the poems they wrote (thanks to Sarah Shieff): 

Glover’s friendship with Curnow played a coincidental but crucial role in the composition of Glover’s most famous poem. One weekend late in 1941 Glover had driven up to visit the Curnow family at a holiday bach at Leithfield, north of Christchurch. 
On the way up, Curnow recalled, ‘Glover… got out of his little tin baby Austin in the middle of a wild nor’wester to have a pee by the roadside. There were magpies squawking everywhere. And when Denis arrived and came to the door of the bach he didn’t say anything at all except “quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle” - just like that.’ (Curnow in the New Zealand Herald, 29 July 1987). Before Glover’s arrival that day, Curnow had begun work on his own poem about the storm, prompted by the sound of a piece of roofing iron blowing in the wind. So as not to disturb him, Glover sat down to write. Curnow’s short, brooding lyric ‘Wild Iron’ has achieved almost the same iconic status, and is almost as frequently anthologised, as Glover’s ‘The Magpies’. 
Both poems frequently find their way into anthologies for children – Curnow’s for its Stevensonian evocation of a storm at night, Glover’s for its ingenuous tone and simple rhyme scheme, and its apparently cheerful chorus: 

When Tom and Elizabeth took the farm 
The bracken made their bed, 
And Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle 
The magpies said.

(Selected Poems 31)

Please check out the poem at our Tuesday Poem hub - it's by the unmatchable Joan Fleming and posted by Orchid Tierney.