21 October 2018

Book launch on 5 November in Wellington: Saradha Koirala's new poetry collection "Photos of the Sky"


I'm very flattered that Saradha Koirala has asked me to launch her third poetry collection Photos of the Sky in Wellington on Monday 5 November. Here are the details of the launch. You're invited!

What: Wellington launch of Photos of the Sky by Saradha Koirala, published by The Cuba Press.
When: Monday 5 November 2018, 5.30-7.30pm
Where: The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St, Thorndon, Wellington



I've followed and posted about Saradha's career as a poet and novelist. Her work ticks all the boxes for me: skill, thought, and heart.

Saradha describes Photos of the Sky as follows on her website:

The collection starts with a declaration; ends in realisation. In between is a journey of reaching across the Tasman, shifting to a new home, reaching a place of disquiet and starting again. The full spectrum of emotions brings with it rain, sweat, tears, wildflowers and the promise of snow.

I'm also very happy to support The Cuba Press - a new Wellington press which is really making moves in a range of genres. They are open for submissions until 1 December - check out their submission guidelines.

With Saradha's permission, here is her poem "Confession, confessed". This serves as an excellent introduction to Photos of the Sky. I hope you can make it to the launch!


Confession, confessed


I’ve been the secret and the secret-keeper
the one from whom the secret is kept.

I’ve been a curiosity of connections that don’t concern me
the cause and effect of all that is curious.

I’ve been right and I’ve been wronged
I’ve been righteously wrong.

I’ve been a cut-out shape where I used to be seen
and I too have cut fleshy shapes from my life.

I’ve been the problem and the solution
the floating object of insomnia, rage

a presence off limits
that has in turn been there for me.

I’ve been the reason and I’ve been the excuse.
I’ve been falsely accused, rightly refused.

I’ve been the obsession
the obsessed.

I had an alibi.
I am the reason you needed an alibi.



03 October 2018

Poem of the Month - October: "Into our room", by Trish Harris


Into our room
clanking and rattling
spinning and whirling
sliding and wheeling
come trolleys
       chairs
       trays
       stretchers
       beds
       drips
       pills
       linen
       basins
       and patients.

Hospitals run
on wheels.


Credit note: This untitled poem by Trish Harris is reproduced by permission of the author from her collection My wide white bed (Landing Press, 2017). For more information and to buy copies of My wide white bed, go to https://landingpress.wordpress.com/upcoming-titles/my-wide-white-bed/ . Books are available from the website and all good bookstores for $22.


Tim says: I would have enjoyed and been moved by the poems in My wide white bed at any time, but it was an especially poignant reading experience for me this year after both my father and I had stints in hospital during 2017 - his, unfortunately, terminal.

My Dad spent the last two weeks of his life in Hutt Hospital, which is the same hospital that provides the closely observed backdrop of Trish's poems. So I can say from personal experience that what Trish Harris describes in this poem, and the confusing mixture of the personal and the impersonal one experiences as a hospital patient or even as a the visitor of a hospital patient, rings very true to life.


19 September 2018

Book Review: Keith Westwater, "No One Home"


Keith Westwater, No One Home (Mākaro Press, Wellington, 2018), RRP $25.00
https://makaropress.co.nz/submarine-books-2/no-one-home-a-boyhood-memoir-in-letters-and-poems-by-keith-westwater

Reviewed by Tim Jones



"No One Home" is exactly what it says on the cover: "a boyhood memoir in letters and poems". But though this blurb is correct, the book is so much more. It's both a moving story of a childhood marred by cruelty and neglect and a very interesting and effective formal experiment in how to construct a memoir through a variety of poetic forms.

To me, a word is worth a thousand pictures. When it comes to a new book of poetry, I tend to take a quick look at the cover, think "that looks nice", and head straight for the bio, the intro, and the poems. But this time round, I paid attention to the form of the book first. Between the boyhood photo on the front cover and the title poem reproduced on the back, there are reproductions of hand-written letters between family members, newspaper clippings, hand-drawn maps and diagrams, family photos, official letters, poems, prose poems, haibun, short non-fiction narratives - and more.

The great thing is that it all fits together so well to tell a story of a young boy's upbringing and effective abandonment in the wastelands of mid-20th-century New Zealand. That narrative ends with the young boy's entry into the Army, and is followed by a brief coda of poems looking back. Keith Westwater's two previous collections are as focused outwards as inwards, but do tell a lot of the story that followed his entry into - and in many ways, rescue by - Army life.

Even better, the words live up to the concept. Such a variety of forms could cause the book to spiral out of control, but the author does a well-controlled job of marrying the words to the form, and conveying the pain of separation and loss, the cruelty of neglect, and the despair of hopes abruptly dashed. "Learning to ride", with its crushing final line, is a fine example of how Keith Westwater conveys this:

... When I came a cropper
skinned my arms or knees 
you painted them orange
set me up for another go 
until I was able to wobble solo
up and down life’s street. 
If only that were so.

It's hard to convey the full flavour of this book in an extract: it deserves to be read in full, and I recommend that you do so.

11 September 2018

On Sunday 16 September, hear Tim Jones perform poetry about climate change, his father, himself, and the sea



My father and I disagreed about climate change. But not in the way you might expect...


I'm the guest poet at September's "Poetry at the Fringe" on Sunday September 16, 4-6pm, at the Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Wellington. The event kicks off with an open mike, then Chris Prosser plays, and then I'll be performing.

In my performance, I'm planning to interleave poems from my latest collection New Sea Land, plus other poems both old and new, to tell a story about climate change, my father, myself, and the sea.

I'd love to see you there - and, whether or not you can make it, please share this event with your networks and your Wellington friends.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/287263775421060/

04 September 2018

Rise for Climate on 8 September + Poem of the Month: Standstill


I've been asked to speak and a read a poem at Rise for Climate Wellington this coming Saturday, 8 September. That means the poem needs to be relevant and short! Here's the poem I plan to read:



Standstill

We fight the sea to a standstill, accept the tide’s
offer of negotiations.

Asymmetrical warfare: our fixed positions,
the sea changing its demands twice a day,

but at last we agree: blue lines, green lines,
and in between the contestable beach.

We return to our constituencies
bearing pieces of paper:

ours waving bravely in the airport wind,
the sea’s dissolving even as it speaks.


And what I plan to say is that, on climate change, we're not even at a standstill - we're going backwards. But there is still time to change that, if we act soon, and if we act decisively.

I hope you can make it to the Wellington event, or one in your region.

Rise for Climate, Saturday 8 September

Mark your calendar - on Saturday 8 September find a Rise for Climate event in a city or town near you (or create one!).

Real climate leadership rises from below. It means power in the hands of people not corporations. It means economic opportunity for workers and justice and dignity for frontline communities that are the hardest hit by the impacts of the fossil fuel industry and a warming world.

This September, cities, states, businesses and civil society from around the world are gathering in California for the Global Climate Action Summit.  Local leaders are now leading the fight against greenhouse gases as governments drag their feet. We need to achieve: a fast, fair and just transition to 100% renewable energy; an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects; reforestation for carbon absorption; and an end to unsustainable land and water use.

Before the Summit, 350.org are planning thousands of rallies in cities and towns around the world to demand our local leaders take effective climate action and Rise for Climate!

We are at a crossroads. By acting together, we can end the era of fossil fuels and save the climate we all depend on.

What’s happening in Aotearoa?

You are warmly invited to the 350 events in the main centres.

Not near a major city? Why not set up your own event?!  350 Aotearoa can give you heaps of support & helpful resources
– contact Claudia Palmer claudia@350.org.nz

Check the 350 Aotearoa Facebook page for the most up-to-date info in all centres.  Links go to their Facebook events.
  • Auckland 350 is calling on Auckland Museum not to take dirty money from the coal industry. Rally Sat 8 Sept, 10:30am. Auckland Museum A. The Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland
  • Wellington 350 is calling on the City Council not to hire out council–owned conference facilities to the Petroleum Summit. Rally Sat 8 Sept 2:00pm. Civic Square, 101 Wakefield St, Wellington
  • Nelson 350 is launching a new 350 fossil free action group for Nelson. Rally Sat 8 Sept 12:00pm  Church Steps, 45 Selwyn Place, Nelson
  • Christchurch 350 has 2 events, on Friday and Saturday:
    1) Spotlighting Local Climate Leadership – Transitional Cathedral, Friday 7 Sept, 7pm – schools, churches, unions etc
    2) Trees for Climate – rally at Victoria Square, Sat 8 Sept, 1-3pm – seedlings, speakers, music….
  • Dunedin 350 is getting together to celebrate their successes to date and plan the future. Meet Sat 8 Sept at 1pm at the Octagon, Dunedin.
Enjoy!  The antidote to despair is taking action together and there are many ways to do this.

27 August 2018

Bonsai Wellington Launch, Monday 3 September + Poetry at the Fringe, Sunday 16 September

Two more events for you - I hope you can make it to one or both!

Bonsai Wellington launch - Monday 3 September



Monday 3 September, 6.00pm, The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St, Thorndon, Wellington.

I have a prose poem and an essay in Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa New Zealand, a long-anticipated New Zealand anthology of small fictions (short-short stories) and prose poems - and there are plenty of other Wellington authors represented, too. Come along and hear readings from the book and discussions of the topics raised in the essay.

Wellington launch Facebook event.

Other events in the Bonsai launch tour:

Christchurch, Sunday 2 September - Facebook event page
Auckland, Thursday 6 September - Facebook event page
Whangarei, Wednesday 12 September - Facebook event page


Poetry at the Fringe - Sunday 16 September




I'm the guest poet at September's "Poetry at the Fringe" on Sunday 16 September at the Fringe Bar (26-32 Allen St, Wellington) . The event kicks off with an open mike, then Chris Prosser plays, and then I'll be reading a mix of poems from New Sea Land plus new and previously published poems.

Even if you have heard me read from New Sea Land before, I'm planning to interleave these poems with others to tell a story about my father, myself, climate change, and the sea. It's a format I'm hoping to take on tour in 2019 - this is your chance to help shape it!

I hope to see you there.