Monday, 15 July 2013

John Pule's poetry

Went to a John Pule exhibition Sadness Spirit at Pataka - 18 poems on big sheets of thick creamy paper, pinned directly on the wall, no frame, blue handwriting on white paper, the blue ocean-deep, deep deep.  The poems are all reproduced in the catalogue, albeit in the wrong colour, unbelievable. The catalogue is given away free - and that is generous.

John Pule himself read his poems, "No second-hand words", he said.He also said that he wanted people to think of them as proverbs, something they might say to themselves in the morning.
Here is an easy one to do that with, which stayed with me since I saw it:

You can see that the colour is not a beautiful blue. Go and see the exhibition for yourself, preferably on a day when there are only a few people there.
Also read in the catalogue the list of awards he has received, the list of exhibitions, the honors. Sometimes the powers that be do get it right. If he is affected by his success - which he must be, though in which way? - it does not show.
Was disappointed in Pataka: they did not provide him with anything to put his papers on, nor make any effort to provide some quietness - we listened to the poetry against a loud hubbub from people who were attending a launch of another show nearby. Pule himself seemed untroubled.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Dropping like a stone

The book is going through a change of shape. Received a beautifully written 'sermon' (her word) from Renee, my mentor, in response to the latest writing I sent her -

Kia ora Navina, more, more detail, more detail, more detail, write as though your reader knows nothing.  Describe your mother, your sisters, you don’t mention your father.  And if this is your weekly output it's not enough. Not nearly enough. 

I like the idea very much, I feel it’s nearer the heart of the matter, but I need to say that  this is a serious project and it could work extremely well but you must give it your if not whole - at least a large part of - your time and attention.  You need to have an aim when to finish a draft.  You need to set a deadline.  You need to have a weekly output to which you keep. 

You need to write as though it matters intensely that the reader understands this story. You need to write as if someone was trying to stop you and you’re determined to get it finished.  Have a good think about it.  This is not a pastime like embroidery, this has to matter and it has to matter to you enough so that you set aside time, regular time, that it becomes something that you have to do not something you choose to do.  I think you are at the crossroads and only you can make these decisions.  It's like falling in love, you have to drop like a stone into the pool and go with it.  I hope that you do. Aroha, RenĂ©e

I am one lucky person to have Renee at my elbow.
I'd be a fool not to follow her advice.

Here we go then...








File:2006-01-14 Surface waves.jpg

Photo from Wikipedia, picture taken by Roger McLassus, improved by DemonDeLuxe, Sep 2006, entitled Surface waves of water.

For more about Renee, her writing,  her teaching and her friends, see her blog here,

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The stupidity of man

A friend has leant me her book of William Carlos Williams' Selected Poems, which I am reading in fits and starts. An unexpected pleasure - given The Red Wheelbarrow.

Here is the first verse of his poem These:


are the desolate, dark weeks
when nature in its barrenness
equals the stupidity of man.