Poetry NZ, New Zealand's leading poetry magazine, showcases new writing from this country and overseas. It presents the work of talented newcomers and developing writers as well as that of established leaders in the field. This issue features the poetry of Jen Crawford, one of the most innovative of our younger poets, who has published widely both in this country and in Australia. Three sample poems can be found here: from Pop Riveter by Jen Crawford, Night by Jenny O'Brien, and Summer 1943 by Kerry Popplewell.
A couple of touchstones:
- My feeling about technique in art is that it has about the same value as technique in lovemaking. Th at is to say, heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and so does heartless skill; but what you want is passionate virtuosity.
— John Barth
- One example of the genuine article undoes all the ambient speciousness.
— Lee Posna
- All criticism is inherently subjective; why should it matter anyway? Stop reading; go out and buy the things. — Richard Reeve
That, perhaps, can be the value of a magazine such as this. It’s not that any editor’s opinion of your work should matter all that much, but there is the pleasure of seeing your poem jostling and chumming up with the other poems, rather like a child on the first day of school. Some of those kids will become friends, others sworn enemies, most just faces in the crowd, but your interactions with them will teach you a lot of vital things about yourself.
‘Robust and opinionated’ would be my description of Richard Reeve’s review of Jan and my set of audio/text anthologies. Nor does Lee Posna’s essay on Contemporary American Poetry pull many punches. I’m not sure I agree either with Richard’s attempt to revive those old South Island / North Island divisions or with Lee’s strictures on a certain anthology entitled Legitimate Dangers. I like their commitment and seriousness, though. Above all, I respond to the joy they clearly take in discussing (and writing) good poems.
Th anks to Alistair Paterson for allowing me to take on the guest-editing of this issue; thanks to Lee Posna and Bronwyn Lloyd, who helped so much with shaping it and putting it together; thanks to John Denny for his wisdom and expertise; thanks, too, to Jen Crawford, whose searing ‘Pop Riveter’ poems seem to me to sum up everything implied by the phrase ‘passionate virtuosity’.
— Jack Ross
when I make
‘Th ank you,
doesn’t make tea.)
— Copyright Jen Crawford, 2009.
Another day ends
it’s night yet again
How I hate the dark
How I wish it would never come
I lie in bed watching TV
and listening to my cat purr
I jump at every noise
Why am I so scared?
I know God’s with me!
So why am I still scared?
My cat jumps on my bed
and looks at me with me
with his big yellow eyes
I give him a kiss
It’s still night and I still can’t sleep
Why, oh why, do I hate night so much?
When, oh when, will this night ever end?
— Copyright Jenny O'Brien, 2009.
We live in a house of women.
Somewhere else, there is war.
Blades of gladioli close over my head.
I walk down a thin strip of grass.
Flowers open their moist mouths above me.
Petals have the bloom of face powder.
The air is still, but not silent.
The dog falls asleep on the step.
In the paddock, plums are ripening
On trees heavy with heat.
— Copyright Kerry Popplewell, 2009.