Poetry NZ Issue 28
Issue 28

Alistair Paterson

Anne Kennedy, Shanta Acharya, Wendy S Abramowitz, Joshua Auerbach, Joe Bacal, Ruth Bavetta, David Beach, Tania Brady, Iain Britton, Catherine Bullock, Jennifer Compton, Christina Conrad, Tony Cosier, Lee Dowrick, Kelly Norah Drukker, David Eggleton, Riemke Ensing, Robin Fry, Lola Haskins, Shahrokh Izadi, Carolyn Jess, Seaborn Jones, Stephen Kopel, Leicester Kyle, Jessica Le Bas, Simon Lewis, Holly Luhning, Robert McLean, Adrianne Marcus, Susan Maurer, John Millett, Pooja Mittal, Edward Mycue, Eileen Myles, Ouyang Yu, Simon Perris, Angelina Polonskaya, Barbara Raeburn, Helen Rickerby, Jack Ross, Barry L Smith, Tze Ming Mok, Leah Welch

Blair Ewing

David Eggleton

Alistair Paterson

Issue 28 features the poetry of Anne Kennedy, who is widely known in New Zealand for her fiction as well as her poetry. She is the author of two novels, has one the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award, the ICI Award, and has held a writing fellowship at the University of Auckland. Over forty other poets are also published in this issue, from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Iran, Russia and the United States.

Three sample poems can be found here: What Fell by Anne Kennedy, Towards Fourteen Ways of Looking at Pohutukawa by Riemke Ensing and Berlin by Seaborn Jones.


Last October Poetry NZ had the good fortune of being able to fly its flag on both sides of the Atlantic at the same time as Mark Pirie was flying it at a reading he was chairing in Wellington. As editor, and thinking about travel overseas, I contacted PNZ poets in London and New York suggesting I'd like to meet them. In both places the poets concerned indicated they'd like this to happen and suggested a dinner, or if possible a reading. The level of enthusiasm shown by them surprised and delighted everyone in New Zealand associated with the magazine. After a series of exchanges, it was agreed there would be readings in both locations together with a dinner in New York and individual meetings and discussions in London.

On the way to the UK, I stopped off at Palm Springs, California, and spent three most enjoyable days with my very good friends—formerly of Auckland Oswald and Ruth Kraus, Brick Row's publishers and PNZ's American agents.

A warm and enthusiastic group of expatriate New Zealand and local writers attended the London reading, which was organised and hosted by Shanta Acharya at Lauderdale House in Highgate. Supported by readings from Amanda Eason and Jenny Vulgar—both expatriate New Zealanders whose work has appeared in PNZ—I read a selection of poems from recent issues of the magazine and some of my own work. There were discussions with poets such as Vincent Berquez who persuaded me to attend the South Bank Festival Hall's Poetry Library launch of its new website. Amongst the 200 or so people present, many knew of PNZ. Paul Sutherland (general editor of Dreamcatcher), who was amongst those present, had drinks with us at a local pub afterwards.

Jane Preston of Poets' House opened the New York function. Joe Bacal, who helped make the event possible, introduced me to a warmly responsive audience. I spoke for fifteen minutes on Poetry NZ's goals and policies. Readings by PNZ poets Janet R Kirchheimer, Goran Tomic, Sara White and Susan Maurer followed and then again, I read a selection of poems from recent issues of the magazine, and from my new collection, Summer on the Cote d'Azur.

The warmth of the welcome given to Poetry NZ in London and New York, and the many hundreds of letters and emails PNZ receives, demonstrates the high regard this publication has gained in New Zealand and elsewhere. I offer my sincere thanks to everyone who attended the readings and to all those who support the magazine, and have contributed to making it such a success.

Alistair Paterson, March 2004

What Fell

for Temuera

It was Fall in the Tropics or what
they call Fall. Nothing fell.
Every leaf a last leaf
painted onto a wall.
Memories settled gently
onto the array of islands.
Learning American-as-a-second-
language the boy asked, What falls?
Well, the mist falls on the hills of
Honolulu. Rain falls.
Fumes fall on Downtown.
The pens of the students
of Noelani Elementary
land on the page and each morning
their hands fall onto their hearts
in allegiance to the flag.
The school day flutters slowly
downwards towards hometime.
Planes fly in from LA bringing
everything. The sun sinks
quickly below the horizon
leaving a green lip like
a mussel.
The Hep B shot fell
into the boy's arm. Ouch!
The rising inflection of sentences
was inverted to become
a falling.

— Copyright Anne Kennedy, 2004.

Towards Fourteen Ways of Looking at Pohutukawa

for painter Margaret Lawlor-Bartlett

Climbing North Head
we sight Pohutukawa.
A bell rings for Wallace Stevens.
The painter thinks of Calvary.

From the edge of the sky
the leaves of Pohutukawa
are smiles of darkest green.
Lorca already here. His palette
pointing our poems to love.

In the breath of wind from sea
the tree opens its arms enough
to let light glimpse its shadows.
The skull beneath the skin.

The tree is a circle of green

The sea a curve of blue

Pounamu, pounamu!

A star falls.
The tree lights up.
Mata Ariki reclaim the dead.

A storm of tui
singed by fire.

Such journeys.
Such mourning.
Urgent for answers
the cliff anxious with history.

The tree suffused with red.

Suddenly when you least expect it
a line of birds low across the water.
Their shadows sharply alongside.
The air trembles with memory.

A green so deep
myths rise
from the bowl of earth
red with blossom
and magic.

A spinnaker bleeds a pool of blood
into the harbour. You feel a whale
bucking in the rock lassoed by water.
The sky suddenly smudged.
Everything a bruise.

Sea, sky and hills.
The clouds shattered.
The light a miracle.
The whole world drenched in sun.
The tree
perfectly still.

— Copyright Riemke Ensing, 2004.


This is Berlin. I'm holding it
between my thumb and index finger:
a sugar cube, white like snow;
or at least I call it Berlin.
If I had two sugar cubes
I could have two Berlins but
for now: one Berlin.

I've never been to Berlin but
I imagine someone in Berlin a long time ago,
holding a sugar cube over a cup of tea
just as I am, watching the snow fall
outside a window, a wife waiting for
her husband to return from war, a soldier
waiting to go to war, a child
putting the cube into her mouth
instead of into the tea.
Freud or Chagall in a cafe or studio
each looking at a sugar cube in his own way
then mixing it with tea
and closing his eyes.

I've never had tea in Berlin but
I've just unwrapped another sugar cube.
Now I have two sugar cubes. I think of
each one as Berlin. I love them equally.
I hate them equally. I place them
on my bedside table. I drink the tea plain.
In the morning they'll be there:
two skies rising out of two skylines—
my sweet little Berlins
I can do with as I please.

— Copyright Seaborn Jones, 2004.