Poetry NZ, New Zealand’s foremost poetry magazine, guest-edited by Nicholas Reid, presents the finest in new writing from home and abroad. Each issue offers poems by talented newcomers and developing poets as well as already acclaimed and established writers. Issue 44 features the work of Maris O’Rourke, an emerging poet who’s already garnered numerous publications and accolades for her writings. Three sample poems can be found here: The green house by Maris O’Rourke, Notes from Jimbaran Bay by Norbert Bugeja, and Watch by Stephen Haven.
I’ve spent 2011 engaged in projects which present examples of New Zealand literature overseas. Between January and September, for instance, I was an editor and member of a venture which, come 2012, will showcase the written and spoken work of 25 New Zealand poets on The Poets and Poetry Archive (UK). In October, I was (along with 100 international writers) a guest writer at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Indonesia. Through the likes of the ‘New Zealand Feature’ in International Literary Quarterly (UK) and the awarding of Guest of Honour status to New Zealand at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, it’s been a year in which a number of New Zealand poets have either found their work promoted to global readers or have prepared for such in the imminent future.
In mentioning these developments, I’m not proposing that New Zealand poets haven’t had any exposure internationally before. Of course, they have. What I’m suggesting is that 2011 has offered increased overseas attention for New Zealand poets—and writers generally. Even so, these levels of international coverage lag behind those accorded prominent poets from elsewhere. In Australia, for example, Les Murray, Katherine Gallagher, John Kinsella and Chris Wallace-Crabbe are regularly published by influential US, UK and European poetry publishers and literary magazines. Where 2011 has seen (and 2012 may well see) increased numbers of New Zealand poets attending international literary festivals and increased publishing of their work in global literary magazines, I believe this will lead to more poetic reciprocity between New Zealand poets and those elsewhere. If so, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Poetry New Zealand has long supported the belief that definitions surrounding the fluid nature of what constitutes New Zealand poetry embrace writers who reside overseas and whose work extends to the world beyond our borders. Poetry New Zealand 42, for instance, featured the poetry of Australian resident New Zealand poet, Mark Young; while, conversely, Poetry New Zealand 38 featured the work of New Zealand resident Australian poet, Jen Crawford. Time and again, editorials, essays and book reviews published in the magazine have brought to New Zealand and overseas readers new developments in poetry practice and output here and elsewhere. It’s in this vein that in Poetry New Zealand 44 I’ve included new work by poets from Australia, Eire, England, Germany, Hawaii, Malta, Malaysia, Scotland and Germany, and offer an interesting essay by Robert McLean which examines the nature and value of international poetry, drawing heavily upon citations from other sources.
— Siobhan Harvey
I return with a stranger’s eyes.
See the crowding.
American couches too big for the room.
Peeling plaster ceilings above
high studs and dusty shelves
of floor to ceiling books.
I wander the spaces inside and out.
Put Leonard Cohen on the iPod.
Choose an old friend from the shelves.
Stretch out on the red velvet couch
under ornate clusters and cupolas
with a glass of Merlot.
Gradually I pull the house over me.
Settle into this tūrangawaewae.
Kauri weatherboards and an iron roof
colour-matched to red and green
leaves of the avocado tree
I planted from a pip.
With a place to leave I can travel.
— Copyright Maris O’Rourke, 2012.
A lanterned town
gazes at her airport,
and my eyes follow your hands
as they tell me
we need to choose well
the masks we have to live with.
Slivers of sunset
flirt with the sand, then trickle
back into their water.
On either side
the beach sighs,
and an airplane makes its way
across your diamond earring,
scaring the lotus
that stares at our night.
On the shores of Jimbaran
you drive your desires
deep into my spine
until I howl,
like this limp dog
wading out of the ocean.
— Copyright Norbert Bugeja, 2012.
Love like this never takes you by the wrist
Or against your absent mindedness
Alarms you with a quiet
More sure than its tick,
The point of origin
Some shop in Waltham, Mass.,
A 25-year warranty
Etched on its 100-year-old back.
Its slight weight
The absence of some wake,
The rosary of its turquoise beads
Marsupials, swallows out
Of the chimney’s mouth.
Your grandfather’s thumb
Has worn thin the one
Clasp that opens to the jewels
Of small things sprung. Far
From the satellite’s web
Only through your touch it gains
Its quick again.
— Copyright Stephen Haven, 2012.