Tuesday, November 30, 2010
he could no longer row his dinghy
the tide went out with his heart,
and when I asked him what he felt
about that, he said he didn’t know
where to start. You’ll have to…
he said, but didn’t complete
the sentence about a sentence
because he’d already said it all.
By Brian Turner from Just This (page 40)
Winner of the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry
Used with the permission of Victoria University Press
I love the utter quiet despair in this poem. I find that if you really listen and pay attention to the world then it’s often the small, the quiet and the unassuming people and things that have the most impact. This is especially heightened in cities where bigger, faster, louder, more, seems to be prized.
The end of 2009/start of 2010 for me was a particularly grief-stricken time and this poem sums up exactly how that felt. This poem has a hollowing feel, a poignant sense of loss, and something that I too felt couldn’t completely be explained by words when people asked, “How are you?”
There must be many on the West Coast, reeling from the Pike River mining disaster, who feel exactly this.
The unfinished completeness of the fisherman’s sentence reminds me of a fantastic part in Janet Frame’s autobiography (possibly An Angel at my Table), when her father paints a picture of some dogs but leaves the eyes unfinished. This is seen by a young Frame as a symbol of her father’s – and family’s – circumstance at the time.
Read more about Brian Turner here. And do check out the other Tuesday Poems in the live blog roll in the sidebar.
Emma McCleary is this week's Tuesday Poem editor. Emma has recently started as the Web Editor at Booksellers New Zealand. It’s her job to help support bookshops across New Zealand, regularly post book news, encourage staff to tweet on the @booksellersnz account and compile Bookseller’s weekly member newsletter The Read.
When she’s not at work, Emma blogs about her life in Featherston, runs her craft empire Emma Makes and is a printmaker.
Tuesday Poem acknowledges the terrible losses felt by the families of the Pike River Miners.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
This week's editor is guest poet Jennifer Compton who was born in New Zealand in 1949 and is based in Melbourne. She was the 2008 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence in Wellington, NZ, and was this year's Visiting Literary Artist at Massey University in Palmerston North. She is writing her way through the backlog of good ideas she picked up while she was there. In May 2011 she will be a guest again at Sarajevo Poetry Days.
Tuesday Poem congratulates Wellington poet Diana Bridge who is the winner of the 2010 Lauris Edmond Award for Poetry worth $NZ1000.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The hand that signed the paper felled a city;
(Above are the first two stanzas (an extract) of a four-stanza poem, because one of our ever- alert readers has pointed out to us that copyright laws in the UK differ from New Zealand and extend a further 20 years after the author's death. Dylan Thomas died in 1953 so his copyright extends to 2023. As editor, I apologise for this transgression to our readers, fellow contributors, the heirs of Dylan Thomas and the ghosts of Dylan and his wife, Caitlin. Editor: Andrew M. Bell)
This week's editor is Christchurch writer Andrew M Bell whose poetry, screenplays, fiction and non-fiction have been published and broadcast in NZ, Australia, Israel, US and the UK. You can find his poems here.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
the whole truth.
Better to let small parts
speak for the whole –
a look, a hand
in the small of my back.
Better to find that
the truth lies
in the smallest things we do.
I chose this poem by Helen Heath because it is the first poem posted by a Tuesday Poet that grabbed me - with its simple elegance. On the surface it is straighforward, but underneath it has an elegance and grace that is quite breathtaking. I could wax lyrical, but that is hardly necessary as the poem speaks for itself. It stands alone, a beautiful truth, as rare as any jewel, although perhaps a few words about the author will not be remiss ...
Helen has been one of the true champions of the Tuesday Poem blog, generous not only with her own work, but also showcasing other up-and-coming poets, interviewing authors, and generally being a stellar member of the local writing community.
Helen blogs at helenheath.com.
She lives in the seaside village of Paekākāriki, on New Zealand's Kapiti Coast. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University in 2009. Her poetry has been published in many journals in New Zealand and Australia. Most recently she’s had a chap-book of poems published by Seraph Press called Watching for Smoke (2009). Currently she is working on a full-length book of poems.
Alicia Ponder is this week's Tuesday Poem editor. She lives in Eastbourne, is the co-author of two art books, and several New Zealand School Journal plays and stories. She blogs here at an Affliction of Poetry.
For more Tuesday Poems, click on the Tuesday Poets in the sidebar.