Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Chemotherapy - it's on the hub!

My poem 'Chemotherapy' - a tribute to the courage and constancy of The Book of Hat author Harriet Rowland's mum Jan Kelly - is on the Tuesday Poem hub this week with a poem by Frankie McMillan. We've both just judged the National Flash Fiction Day NZ competition and so we're paired up here by NFFD powerhouse Michelle Elvy.  Very cool. Thanks Michelle!

The Book of Hat is published by my Mākaro Press. It is Harriet's story of living with terminal cancer based on her vivid, upbeat blog posts and has been a hit with young adult and adult readers around the country, and elsewhere. The Auckland Libraries blog reviewer says:

                                      The Book of Hat is the real The Fault in Our Stars

The poem is here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Alienation by Siobhan Harvey

is the march of students into class,
      the closing of space around them
  like a retracted wing.

is ornithology for beginners:
      Today’s lesson is birds, the teacher says;
           and how the children squawk.

is uncertainty:
      What birds do we know? the teacher says;
            and how words and ideas flock
   hungrily into Cloudboy’s mind.

is eagerness to impress:
           Geese, Miss, cries Cloudboy;
    and how he goes on, In Historia Animalium, Aristotle said
           Barnacle Geese emerged from shellfish like phoenixes
    from fires.

is the mouth of a river:
     No, New Zealand birds! the teacher remonstrates:
         and the liquid bubbling cry of it.
the call of a bittern, the cry of a tern …  

is the unwillingness to give in:
     Moa, miss, Cloudboy perseveres.

is cultural confusion:
     What's a Moa? the teacher asks.

is an argument which can't be won:
     It lived long ago, Miss, Cloudboy says, like the dinosaurs;
                 and the teacher's reply, Not dinosaurs! New Zealand birds!

is an arm small as a wing:
     how a girl raises her hand; 
                   and how the teacher nods
                                    at the child's answer, Blackbird, Miss. 

is an open window:
     how Cloudboy turns towards it, the freedom
                    beyond glass, the knowledge
                                     of air, the gravity birds defy. 


A stunning poem from Siobhan Harvey's powerful new collection Cloudboy about her son who is diagnosed with autism. She writes from the point of view of Cloudmother. I review it on Beattie's bookblog.

Here's a quote from the review:
....  the character of Cloudboy snuck up on me. With him came his abiding curiosity for how things work, his passion for finding out, his genius for understanding (his subjects: Nephology, Astronomy, Ornithology and goodness knows what else at the age many are learning to write their names) and his perceptive mother. And we see this wisp of a boy go to school, and watch aghast at the way school tries to make him more boy than cloud, and in so doing breaks the heart they don’t seem to know is there (‘such softness’) ....
Siobhan's poem posted here with permission. 
Do check out Tuesday Poem hub with a wonderful poem by Emma Neale.