Thursday, July 23, 2009

NZ Montana Poetry Day 2009

Today is National Poetry day, and while I know many of you may not be in love with this literary form like I am, I thought in today’s post I’d simply share some favourites of mine. All 3 are by New Zealand poets, and have that uncanny ability, that poems do, to reach out and encourage me to marvel- at how one can pen words so succinctly, or unashamedly indulgently without clichés; how you want to simply pause for a moment; how they describe terms, or rites of passage, or everyday thing with words not used before. When the latter occurs, you can sometimes be left wondering how you've not used these very lines or words or 'new' phrases yourself, given you immediately identify with them.
My favourite poems tend to be those that comment on human nature, friendship, family, the impact of our surroundings on our souls, and of course as a quintessential romantic at heart, love! Poetry is soul food. Thank god I found poetry- those Chicken Soup for the Soul books were never going to stand the test of god I shudder just thinking about them.

Enjoy these poems, and enjoy the weekend.


Clear, tranquil, calm,
the morning's luminous.

The art's in deflection
if we're to avoid
Dante's worst torment
which was to have recognised happiness

only after it had passed.
Even truth's available,

and so we speed on
pre-destined, complete.
-Brian Turner, Taking Off, 2001


The fire that lights a candle
cannot be shared between the wick
and the match, it has to be given
like a life.

The body lying on the wet sand
must leave an impression deeper
than the shallow water
coming to erase it.

May you never recover
from the lightness of my touch.

-Kapka Kassabova, Someone Else's Life, 2003

What It's Like

Well, it's kind of like
you're hanging over a
steep drop, fingers
cracking on some old
root or other and below
there's sand or river,
boulders worn to solid
spheres, and you say to
yourself, 'Now, I could
let go.' And what do
you know?

You do.

And then, it's kind of like
singing with your feet off
the pedals, bush lining a
damp black road downhill
to the corner and a creek
like a crowd hanging about
in dappled shade for you
to whistle by.
And then, it's kind of like
lying on a hillside, sun
full on and a gum tree
rattling away like streamers,
and there's a whole kind of
shining party going on,
and you're at it.

-Fiona Farrell, The Inhabited Initial, 1999

NB: this morning Jenny Bornholdt was announced as this year's winner of Poetry Book of the Year for The Rocky Shore. I've read through this volume, and it's pretty innovative in terms of contemporary free verse. Made up entirely of 6 long poems, according to the judges it 'broke the rules'...obviously rather successfully. I enjoy Bornholdt's work; it's comforting, motherly, quietly observant, sometimes stark but never's poetry that comments on family life and dwells happily on the comforting things in life whilst exploring feelings that one might sometimes think should be kept under wraps: in that very typical old fashioned NZ way of thinking...

Last night Cilla McQueen was announced to succeed Michelle Leggott with the next two year tenure of being the country's Poet Laureate. It will be interesting to see if the National Library and IIML roll with a repeat of last year's fantastic opportunity of having all living Poet Laureates in one room...I look forward to the publication of Leggott's work over the past couple of years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Think this is a dram worth recommending?