A Bloggy holiday

Tuesday, 15th March, 2011


I'm going to have a blog holiday, I'll be back in April.

See you then, no, no, dry your tears. I promise.

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Tuesday Poem on the hub

Monday, 14th March, 2011


This week I'm just going to send you over to the hub, where I'm guest editor.

You'll get a sneak peak at a new piece from Dinah Hawken.

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O Brother

Sunday, 13th March, 2011




On the scree slope you are alone. The Thar walks along the top of the

ridge, its kid trailing behind. There is just the smell of your wet

Swanndri and the sound of your own breath punctuated by the squeak of

boot on scree. You pick your way closer to them, the wind is in your

favour. You lift the rifle, butt to shoulder, eye to sight. Breathe

out slowly. Squeeze.

Bloody hell. You've taken the bottom jaw off the nanny, her tongue

lolls out grotesquely and she skitters down the scree. Quickly now, a

second shot and she's down. The kid stands over her body calling for

years. Maaaaa, maaaaa, maaaaa.



I think this might be the begining of something bigger, it's the first snippet of work from the creative non-fiction workshop I'm taking with Harry Ricketts at IIML.

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Tuesday Poem: Lonely Girls by Helen Heath

Monday, 7th March, 2011




Lonely girls

in toilets

make Neapolitan


wrap paper

round their fists.

Lonely girls

in mirrors –

convex, concave,

eat whole


reveal their insides –

a red thread.


For international womens' day I'm posting one of my own poems for all the lonely girls, hoping they can come to love their own bodies.

More Tuesday Poems on the hub.

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Tuesday Poem: A suite of love poems by Airini Beautrais

Monday, 21st February, 2011

Western Line Airini Beautrais




She carried the war

around with her everywhere.

When she walked under the feijoa trees

the war brushed lightly against their leaves.

She had been a young teacher.

Jews hid in her family’s barn.

When a man came and married her

the children asked

‘Why are you stealing our teacher?’

She tells this story

with wet eye corners

a laugh between her lips.






I have never tasted your lemons.

I have watched them from green to yellow.

I caught three boys filling plastic bags

with fruit for ammo

and told them to go away.

The nuns want to make marmalade.

But every year the tree gets stripped.





Mark follow your heart.

Over seas to the girl

who hung all your doors.

A floating dream

is better than sinking awake.

It is time the great apes

reconsidered the trees.

A world of wood is waiting

in bins and garages.

To be fastened by nail to trunk.

To be three-sided.

To move in the muscle of the wind.






To love a volcano is to love

shapes at dusk.

To love largeness.

It is a love seldom spoken of

but I have known men

to write furtively of sulphur dioxide

and utter words like ‘phreatomagmatic.’

Hands on pack straps.

Eyes into the craters.


Airini Beautrais’ first collection, Secret Heart, won the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Award for Best First Book. She has a background in ecological science and is a secondary school teacher. She also played for several years in the folk/rock band The Raskolnikovs.

I am very excited to present this suite of poems from Airini Beautrais' forthcoming and much awaited second book Western Line due in March this year.

These poems are fresh and funny. Western Line has three entertaining sequences of very short poems: Love Poems, Charms and Curses, which are followed by a group of innovative longer poems that explore ideas of place and purpose with the deepened insight of early motherhood.

For more Tuesday Poems have a look on the hub.


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Monday, 14th February, 2011

I'm off at Webstock for most of this week, see you on the other side!

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Weekend web reading

Twenty years

Thursday, 10th February, 2011

Twenty years. Twenty years. It doesn't matter how many times I say this to myself, it's hard to believe so much time has passed since my mother died. I was 20 years old, she had been fighting cancer for three years, she was almost 49, not much older than I am now.

At the time she seemed like an old woman but now I see just how young she was. I find this time of year hard, like a seasonal, physical memory creeps up on me. I feel weepy for no apparent reason. We buried her on Valentines day so each year the advertising begins and a tight fist forms in my chest.

They say time heals all wounds and in some ways I guess it does but sometimes it will hit me out of the blue, like the first time, with raw intensity and it seems like yesterday. It's hard to explain to people who think you 'should be over it by now'. That the time between those episodes increases but that they never really leave you altogether.

The photo is of Mum and Dad newly wed 1962, I like it because they look like they're trying to be glamorous on a budget.

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Tuesday Poem: Weeds by Sarah Jane Barnett

Monday, 7th February, 2011



She squares away at the bottom of the garden,

digging a row of bulbs in the dampness. A brown bird lifts

from the playhouse roof like a mathematical

breath. The sky shifts. She rubs the slight brightness


of a headache that may just be the beginnings of pleasure

as she tugs knots of weeds from the wrinkle of grey

dirt between grass and mound. The stems rib down

to hairy nodules. Their dusky heads bend


like the feral roadside flowers she picks for their bedroom.

A bit of wild, she says to Alex who looks up, smiles,

and goes back to eating his croissant.

The flowers try to hold the weight of her.




Sarah Jane Barnett is a writer and reviewer who lives in Wellington. Her work has appeared in a range of literary journals including Landfall, The Listener and Sport, and on the e-zines Cordite, Snorkel and Turbine. Her poem, The Drop Distance, was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2007. Sarah is currently completing a creative writing Phd in the field of ecopoetics. She also blogs at http://theredroom.org/

There are some fantastic lines in this poem -

A brown bird lifts

from the playhouse roof like a mathematical




The flowers try to hold the weight of her.



For more Tuesday Poems visit the Tuesday Poem Blog.



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Mothers and daughters

Monday, 7th February, 2011

Helen 1977

Me aged 7

When I look at this old picture of myself I am struck by how similar my daughter is to me. Often I think we are not much alike, especially when we argue but actually we are more alike than I like to admit. Especially when we argue!

My mother and I used to argue all the time and I swore I'd never be like her. Of course as I get older parts of her leak out of me and I hear myself say things she said to me to my daughter and so it goes...

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