July 27, 2012

Bob Orr, National Poet

Bob Orr will be reading at Poetry Central, the grand celebration of National Poetry Day taking place on July 27th, 5:30 pm, at Central City Library, featuring eleven fabulous readers and a celebration of nzepc's eleventh birthday.

This is one of my favourite Bob Orr poems, from his book Calypso, which we launched a few years back at another Poetry Central:

I never did get to visit the grave
of Robert Louis Stevenson.
I wandered aimless about Apia's ramshackle markets
tasted a watermelon sliced open with a warm machete
drank the nectar of a green coconut beneath a pineapple sun
drank Vailima beer with a priest in a park
bought a fish from a boy on the side of the road
drank more beer at Aggie Grey's with the sad ghost of Marlon Brando.
But as for Robert Louis Stevenson
who could tell a palagi tourist about a man who lived on a mountain?
A very puzzled bus driver told me anyway he could be sleeping.
At Papa's fale the kids played outside on family graves
Papa sang away to himself on the porch
across the road a church was asleep until White Sunday
a pig nosed half-heartedly through broken coconut husks
a lizard slipped in and out of a crack in the ceiling's memory.
It kept a count I'm sure of every breath that I was taking
but could not recall for me the man of treasure island.
In the suddenness of the evening
the Pacific Ocean's cool machete split the sun in two
and at the same time just as sharply
divided what I know from what
I thought I knew.

July 16, 2012

Janet Charman, National Poet

Janet Charman, winner of the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards poetry category, will be presenting her new book At the White Coast at Poetry Central, our celebration of National Poetry Day, which will be happening on July 27th at Central City Library, at 5:30 pm.

Here's one of her poems which I found in that wonderful book Contemporary New Zealand poets in performance, where you can also hear her read it on the accompanying CD.

going to work
darkness dispersing
the sky fills
with light
rain falls
the heavy weight of a hollow boat
leaves my heart


July 10, 2012

John Newton, National Poet

John Newton is another of the poets who will be reading at Poetry Central, our annual celebration of National Poetry Day. The appointment is for July 27, at 5:30 pm, at Central City Library.

Here's one of John's poems from his book Lives of the poets:

Townes van Zandt at the Mangy Moose
'Hey Townes, play us something cheerful!" Oh man,
how did it come to this (a restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming,
each night the same bunch of snow-dazzled ski bums
and tourists)? Not that the hecklers mean any harm: he works it
into a small routine ('Hey, these are the cheerful songs --
you don't want to hear the rest of them!'). Fiction, of course.
There are no others. Each song's a miracle that makes him
feel primed like a piston. But once, just once,
he'd like to explain to them (C'mon, stick to the goofy jokes),
tell them the story of Skinny Dennis, dying on Sunset
Beach with his boots on. Or try out his version of Galveston
O Galveston (Damn, he always loved that song!),
how he doesn't remember the sea waves crashing,
only the chlorpromazine and the forked lightning.

July 03, 2012

Murray Edmond, National Poet

Getting the word out about Poetry Central, our upcoming National Poetry Day celebration, taking place at Central City Library on July 27th, at 5:30 pm. Here's a wonderful poem by Murray Edmond, one of the eleven poets who will be reading from their work:.

Rhapsody in pink
all we had was cars
we hopped from foot to foot
rustic rock'n'roll
fever at a puritan wake
fumbling for a kiss
lacking both a capital
or a French letter
nevertheless our imaginary
drove us round the lake
drove round and round the lake
and we painted all our nails
kind of low-brow posh
we heaped coals on our lips
and saw the mystic sun
ends of the earth
that place was called

-- from Walls to kick and hills to sing from, a comedy with interruptions by Murray Edmond (2010)

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