Quick Ten with Helen Heath

Monday, 24th January, 2011




I've finally got around to doing a video post. I've been thinking about how many of you may have read my words but we've never met in real life so I thought I'd let you laugh at my accent and inflict some of the questions I've asked other interviewees on myself!

Books mentioned:


My Mother Was a Computer

Made in America 

6 Impossible Things before breakfast 


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Tuesday Poem: Broken Arm by Emma Barnes

Monday, 24th January, 2011




Broken Arm


If you tend to me
like a bird, lend me
clothing and hearts
take me shopping in
carts you’ll fix me, fix
me, fix me. The letter
of three, the bones in
my wrist. Sea shells
from a beach in a glass
jar. If you, if you look.
At me, as a broken wing
as a chipped beak. I’ll
come out, come out and
nibble your cheeks. I
will do as you say one
word at a time. I will
be who you are one
footstep later. I will
explain everything in
verse and rhyme. I’ll
relax. I’ll relax. I’ll
do as you say. I’ll do
as you say. Yes I’ll
do just as you say.


Emma Barnes lives and writes in Aro Valley, Wellington. She's currently putting together the third edition of her magazine Enamel. She has had poetry published in JAAM, Landfall, Catalyst and Best New Zealand Poems 2008.

I published another one of Emma's poems last year and was so hooked I had to have her back this year. I stand by my claim that Emma is definitely an emerging poet to watch. Make sure you pick up the next issue of Enamel.

Enamel magazine

For more Tuesday Poems visit the Tuesday Poem Blog.


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Nana Cyborgs

Monday, 24th January, 2011

Daler Journal - Nana cyborgs

I've finally started back at the Helen Squared project journals. If you click on the image you'll be able to read the text.

It feels good to be back into it. Next up the altered books


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Weekend web reading

Summer Reading Update

Wednesday, 19th January, 2011

Patti Smith and Robert Maplethorpe

Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe


These are the books I did manage to read over December / January. Some of them were not on my list and some on the list dropped off or I haven't finished yet. 

Phantoms in the Brain - 4 stars, a fascinating look into neuro-plasticity, told in an accessible but not dumbed down way. Ramachandran's enthusiasm is contagious.

Nox - 5 stars, Nox is an epitaph in the form of a book, a facsimile of a handmade book Anne Carson wrote and created after the death of her brother. This is more than a book of poetry, I keep picking it up and dipping into it. Sad and beautiful.

Writing Down the Bones - 4 stars, A really good read for anyone wants to be a writer. Short philosophical chapters talking about the nature of writing, tricks and traps. Very sound and thoughtful advice. NOT writing exercises. Something you'll probably re-read over and over if you are passionate about the writing life.

Tomorrow’s People - 1 star, a couple of hours lost that I'll never get back. What a load of misunderstood rubbish. Nothing new or challenging and very little actual neuroscience. Greenfield should stick to what she knows (not technology). Also very outdated to try and align feminism with "nature" and technology as the masculine enemy. Don't waste your time!

Just Kids - 3 stars, What an amazing power-house of a woman Patti Smith is. Interesting stories about interesting people. I don't think much of it could happen these days. Some of it I found a bit self-indulgent but hey - it's her biography.

Light Boxes - 4 stars, A clever piece of writing, not a dense think-piece but a quick humorous read exploring SAAD in a fantastical way.

Black Juice - 4 stars, the blurb correctly says "In this extraordinary short story collection, human frailty is put to the test by the relentless forces of dark and light, man and beast. Each tale offers glimpses into familiar, shadowy worlds that push the boundaries of the spirit and leave the mind haunted with the knowledge that black juice runs through us all."

Legend of A Suicide - 3 stars, although this is excellent reading I just couldn't finish it. The work is so harrowing and I'm too tender. It was my first foray into library ebook lending, which was partly why I read it and probably why I didn't feel committed to finishing it. If you are made of tougher stuff I would recommend it.

The Penelopiad - 1 star, I wanted to like this, I really did. I love Margret Atwood, I love the concept, I love the subject matter, I love myths, I love feminist readings of texts... However, I was really disappointed. The first person narration had a very didactic effect and I didn't think Atwood ever took the story anywhere unpredictable ( of course the script is already set to a certain extent). It was worth reading once as a curiosity but I wouldn't bother with a re-read.

Books I’m still reading and enjoying:


My Mother Was a Computer

Made in America 

6 Impossible Things before breakfast



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Tuesday Poem: Ripple by Helen Heath

Monday, 17th January, 2011


The floor has a ripple

in it, which is funny

because the carpet is blue

like the sea and the baby

is pulling and chewing

on your nipple so hard

that it bleeds

and her little legs kick-

kick you, her hands find

your hair and pull hard

and there's a roaring

in your ears that might

be the sea and they ask

you if you're blue and

you say you just need

some sleep then everything

will be alright but now

the floor has a ripple in it.



I think I may have forgotten to let you all know that I have some new work over at Turbine 10. Here is one of the pieces.

Easing back into the Tuesday Poem...

If you would like to submit a poem to be published on my blog as a Tuesday Poem (They can be previously published) contact me.

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Finding my feet

Sunday, 16th January, 2011


I had a strange start to the year, I broke my little toe on the leg of my coffee table on New Years eve.

It made me realise how much we take our feet for granted. I only notice mine when something goes wrong.

I like my feet, they done me well for the last 40 years and hopefully for another 40.

I'm stepping mindfully into 2011 and keeping my feet firmly on the ground.

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Christmas special

Wednesday, 22nd December, 2010

Want ideas for things to do over the holidays?

1. Download ebooks from your public library, I've just started using Wellington public library's elibrary.

2. Use some of these Free Christmas Downloads or this or this.

3. Read some of these suggestions or watch a literary movie.

4. Play a board game with family or friends. 

5. Make a gingerbread house

6. Play with your Christmas presents

7. Send some alternative Christmas cards.


I may be at the beach or reading a book or hiding from the kids over the next few weeks so I'm not sure how much blogging I'll do but I'll see you in the New Year.

Have a very Merry Humbug! Travel safe, eat, drink, play!




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Tuesday Poem: Christmas: I love it when it's over by Natasha Dennerstein

Monday, 20th December, 2010




We shed our separate skins: you there; me here. The Family

Court Judge is away at her family bach in the Marlborough


Sounds and there will be no justice dispensed until February.

I hate Christmas: next year I will go somewhere Muslim,


like Indonesia. We have no children to peel paper from landfill

gifts with eager faces and you are not here to fix the broken


gate. I do not care: I would rather have a broken gate.

Christmas: I love it when it's over.



Natasha Dennerstein

photo by Rebecca Swan

Natasha Dennerstein was born in Melbourne of a family originating in Poland and Russia. She is currently living and studying in Wellington. She has been a psychiatric nurse for twenty years, which has given her an interesting perspective on the human condition and has been writing creatively most of her adult life.

A suitably grinchy poem for me the Christmas ginch *winks*. Merry Humbug everyone!

For more Tuesday Poems visit the hub.



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My Summer Reading List

Monday, 20th December, 2010


I got a copy of Crystallography at a good price from Unity Books. ‘Crystallography’ means the study of crystals, but also, taken literally, ‘lucid writing.’ The book exists in the intersection of poetry and science, exploring the relationship between language and crystals – looking at language as a crystal, a space in which the chaos of individual parts align to expose a perfect formation of structure. As Bök himself says, ‘a word is a bit of crystal in formation,’ suggesting there is a space in which words, like crystals, can resonate pure form.

Nox is an epitaph in the form of a book, a facsimile of a handmade book Anne Carson wrote and created after the death of her brother. The poem describes coming to terms with his loss through the lens of her translation of Poem 101 by Catullus “for his brother who died in the Troad.” Nox is a work of poetry, but arrives as a fascinating and unique physical object. Carson pasted old letters, family photos, collages and sketches on pages. The poems, typed on a computer, were added to this illustrated “book” creating a visual and reading experience so amazing as to open up our concept of poetry.


Cultural/literary Crit:

My Mother Was a Computer explores how the impact of code on everyday life has become comparable to that of speech and writing: as language and code have grown more entangled, the lines that once separated humans from machines, analog from digital, and old technologies from new ones have become blurred.

Made in America: Science, Technology, and American Modernist Poets The subtitle says it all.



Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind explores the vast complexities of the human brain and how it works, drawing on real-life case studies of patients suffering from unusual neurological afflictions to explain what occurs in the brain.


Hyper Text Fiction:

Patchwork Girl is a hypertext and a novel. It picks up the monstrous body/monstrous text idea from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and really explores monstrosity in all its various forms.


Library eBooks:

The Penelopiad "Murder comes back to haunt you. For Penelope, wife of Odysseus, running a kingdom while her husband is off fighting the Trojan war is not a simple business. As if it isn't bad enough that he has been lured away due to the shocking behaviour of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must also bring up her wayward son, face down scandalous rumours and keep more than one hundred lustful, greedy, bloodthirsty suitors at bay . . . Perhaps not surprising then that it all ends in murder. Margaret Atwood has given Penelope her own voice so that she can tell her story at last and set the record straight for good."

Zero History "Former rock singer Hollis Henry has lost a lot of money in the crash, which means she can't turn down the offer of a job from Hubertus Bigend, sinister Belgian proprietor of mysterious ad agency Blue Ant. Milgrim is working for Bigend too. Bigend admires the ex-addict's linguistic skills and street knowledge so much that he's even paid for his costly rehab. So together Hollis and Milgrim are at the front line of Bigend's attempts to get a slice of the military budget, and they gradually realize he has some very dangerous competitors. Which is not a great thought when you don't much trust your boss either. Gibson's new novel, set largely in London, spookily captures the paranoia and fear of our post-Crash times."

Black Juice "10 outstanding stories that delight, shock, intrigue, amuse and move the reader to tears with their dazzling imaginative reach, their dark humour, their subtlety, their humanity and depth of feeling."

The Art of Travel ""Lucid, fluid, uplifting" SUNDAY TIMES With the help of a selection of writers, artists and thinkers -- including Flaubert, Edward Hopper, Wordsworth and Van Gogh -- Alain de Botton's bestselling THE ART OF TRAVEL provides invaluable insights into everything from holiday romance to hotel mini-bars, airports to sight-seeing. The perfect antidote to those guides that tell us what to do when we get there, THE ART OF TRAVEL tries to explain why we really went in the first place -- and helpfully suggests how we might be happier on our journeys.

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