Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leaving the Tableland by Kerry Popplewell

Leaving, I stop to look
where once the long hut lay
under an outcrop on a sloping shelf;

then, try to reconstruct
from memory’s ragtag store
its silhouette, woodshed and rusting roof.

Almost, I smell wet smoke
but no one stops now, soaked,
to dry their clothes before a sputtering fire.

Glistening, the land’s pelt shifts.
Clouds break. Chill sunlight lifts
low haze from bush around the clearing’s rim.

I move on down the track.
High up, against white rock,
damp tussock flares on the receding hill.

"Leaving the Tableland" is the title poem of Kerry Popplewell's first poetry collection, published by Steele Roberts (2010) and available from the publisher or in selected bookshops for $19.99 (RRP).

Tim Jones writes
: Having enjoyed hearing and reading Kerry's poetry over the years, I was very excited to hear that her first collection was being published. I had a tough time deciding which poem from this collection to run as this week's Tuesday Poem, but I chose "Leaving the Tableland" because it's a fine poem that showcases Kerry's skill at exploring the place where landscape and memory meet.

You can read another poem from this collection, "Portrait: Pahiatua, 1942", which Helen Rickerby recently posted as a Tuesday Poem on her blog.

"Leaving the Tableland" is reproduced as this week's Tuesday Poem by permission of the author, Kerry Popplewell.

Tim Jones is the editor of this week's Tuesday Poem. Tim is a poet, author and editor who lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Jubilant Butter Thief

 The Jubilant Butter Thief

You played in the dust-
It’s all over you-
The dabs of butter
on your face
are caked with mud-
how can I allow you thus
to sleep by my side tonight.

(Dehejia 1988.100)

In 1997 I happened to find myself in Sydney for a few days, and as part of my essential education, went to the Gallery of New South Wales where I found an intriguing exhibition of Indian Miniature Paintings. As one who has increasingly stronger prescriptions in her glasses, I marvelled at the intricate detail and devoured the colours. There were poems mounted between some paintings and one I particular caught my attention; perhaps because I was going through an uncertain time in my relationship, or because it has resonance in many other situations. It is about unconditional love.

I copied it down in my little notebook at the time and I hope I have attributed it correctly. If you want to know more about Krishna’s butter stealing exploits, here’s a link.

Fifi Colston, this week’s editor, is ‘not only but also’ an artist, illustrator, writer, poet, designer, and tutor. She graduated from Victoria’s IIML in 2003 with an MA in Scriptwriting and is the author of 3 published junior fiction novels. Visit Fifi’s Blog and the other Tuesday Poets using our blog list to your right.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hadaly by Chris Price

Tomorrow’s Eve
Since our gods and our aspirations are no longer anything but
scientific, why shouldn’t our loves be so too? In place of that Eve of
the forgotten legend despised and discredited by Science,
I offer you a scientific Eve…
L’Eve Future, Villiers de L’Isle-Adam


Let us obtain from science
an equation for love. Give her
silver skin, impregnable
armour. Let Hadaly’s lungs
be golden phonographs, programmed
with great works of art. Let her save
Simple minded men
from the rouge pots
of their deceptive mistresses.
Let this innocent facsimile
false, mediocre
ever-changing reality
with her enchanting, ever-
faithful illusion,
our electric phantom, our
ideal woman.

'Hadaly' (1886) is largely composed of phrases found in Villiers de L’Isle-Adam’s 1886 novel L’Eve Future, translated by Robert Martin Adams (University of IllinoisPress, 1988). This poem comes from a sequence ‘A short history of automata’ which appears in Husk, Chris’ first book published by Auckland University Press. The author of the novel Tomorrow’s Eve (in which the ‘character’ of Hadaly appears), Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, later became the subject of the long essay ‘Variable Stars’ in Chris’ genre-crossing work Brief Lives.

I love the way Chris explores science and technology in unexpected ways. I’m very interested in representations of women as cyborgs and androids, usually that takes place in futuristic writing but here Chris looks to the past, which is a pleasing turn-around for me as a reader. Also the fact that it is a found poem reflects the constructed nature of automata in a most satisfying way!
Read a biography of Chris Price here.

Helen Heath, this week's editor, is a poet and blogger based in New Zealand. In 2009 she completed an MA in creative writing at Victoria University. Her poetry has been published in many journals in New Zealand and Australia. Visit Helen’s Blog and the other Tuesday Poets using our blog list to your right.

Monday, May 3, 2010

come here at once by Emma Barnes

This is what you said about my body
bang bang bang, three words all in
one row. Out of your mouth. I drove
past a greenhouse filled with lights.
I drove past a hill covered in tiny, tiny
light bulbs. At the end of the night
I felt my hips in disgust, my head
tipped back to catch words in my
throat. This is it all over. I am, I am,
I am, I am, I am, I am, I am everything.
The winter is coming and I can feel it
crawling, reaching for my knees. I
experience a sudden and unfortunate
craving, my eyes, they double blink.

Later in the gardens you talk at me
about whether a grain of sand makes
a difference to a beach. Pulling up
carrots my fingers shriek along their
fluffy tops. The grain of aforemention
-ed sand ticks over in my mind. My
mother yells to invite me to a wedding
I won’t want to go to. The baby cries
and I see you lift your head. I see your
breasts spill milk. I gulp back small
gusts of happiness that I am not you. I
gulp and gulp. My throat continuing
with what I started, here in this place.
If one more person tells me I am crazy I

am likely to head that way. You know?
I am not a great well, you yell into.
I am a woman with legs, a woman
with a long torso, a woman with
out the shame that you carry around
in a bag, over your shoulder, in your
shoe, tucked against your arch, no.
This is the week, everyone just cuts
me up. Broken milk bottles. Little
knives. They work harder and harder,
the more quickly I refuse them. That
is the small truth of it. That is the
secret in a nutshell. That is what
you should know if you know me at all.

Emma Barnes hasn’t long been back from a couple of years in Japan, but she’s been busy – she launched the first issue of her new literary magazine Enamel in early 2009, an another issue is due out in mid-2010. She's had poetry published in JAAM, Landfall, Catalyst and Best New Zealand Poems 2008, among other places.

'come here at once' is published on Tuesday Poem with permission. It was first published in JAAM 26, edited by Tim Jones.

Helen Rickerby is this week's editor of the Tuesday Poem. She is a poet, publisher, public servant from Wellington, New Zealand. Her second collection of poetry, My Iron Spine, was published in 2008, and her first Abstract Internal Furniture, was published in 2001. She's managing editor of Seraph Press and co-managing editor of JAAM literary magazine. Visit her Tuesday poem ('Emily Dickinson at home') and others by the Tuesday Poets (look in the sidebar on the right for links).