24 November 2015

I'm Taking Part In The People's Climate March On Saturday

It's no longer possible to march in Paris, but it is in Aotearoa this weekend. I'll be taking part in the Wellington edition of the People's Climate March, which starts from 1pm in Civic Square on Saturday 28 November. I encourage you to check out the closest event to you (note there are four pages of events) and take part.

09 November 2015

I'm Looking Forward To The NZ Poetry Conference This Weekend

I'm looking forward to the New Zealand Poetry Conference this coming weekend (13-15 November). After a successful conference in Hawkes Bay in 2013, this one is being held in Wellington.

I know I'm going to be involved in a couple of events: one is a reading session which I believe I'll be chairing, the other a panel of former judges of the NZ Poetry Society International Poetry Competition talking about how they approached the judging process - I'm looking forward to this both as a former judge and as a potential future entrant!

Check out the conference programme.

There will also be book launches at the Conference - one I'm particularly pleased about is Mākaro Press's launch of new poetry collections by Heidi North-Bailey - Possibility of flight - and Keith Westwater - Felt Intensity, to be launched by Dinah Hawken. You can join the Facebook event for this launch.

Heidi, Keith and I were all members of Dinah Hawken's 2003 "Writing the Landscape" course, which was by far the best and most enjoyable writing course I have taken part in, so I am looking forward both to catching up with them and to the launch itself.

27 October 2015

Tell Fonterra: No New Coal

Many people know that Fonterra, and the expansion of the New Zealand dairy industry, have led to massive environmental problems, not least the degradation of water quality and a big increase in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

But what's less well known is that Fonterra burns coal to dry milk powder. Their use of coal has expanded 38% since 2008 and they are planning a further major expansion.

So, in partnership with Action Station, Coal Action Network Aotearoa has launched a campaign calling on Fonterra to commit to building no new coal boilers, and then to progressively phase out existing coal boilers. Please add your voice to the campaign by signing this open letter.

I support this campaign. The hypocrisy of Fonterra trading on New Zealand's "clean and green" image, while using the world's dirtiest fuel to power their operations, leaves a bad taste in my mouth - and it's really bad news for the climate. Next time you drink some Fonterra milk, mentally add the taste of coal dust.

14 October 2015

Crime Pays!

Tuesday Poet P. S. Cottier, with whom I co-edited The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, has been having a very good year with poetry competition entries.

Her poem "Route 9" took third place in the Australian Catholic University Prize for Poetry, and now she has won first place in the New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, judged by Les Murray, for her poem Criminals who are no longer criminals. To which I say: many congratulations!

One of the things I like most about Penelope's writing is the original and unusual slants and angles her poems take, and "Criminals who are no longer criminals" is a very good example of that. There's also a very interesting interview with Penelope about her poem which has excellent insights into the way she thinks about poetry.

And if all that has whetted your appetite for The Stars Like Sand, check it out at the publisher's site and on Amazon.

06 October 2015

Capricious Issue 1 Is Here

I am really happy to see the launch of Capricious, a new, New Zealand-based science fiction magazine. I've just subscribed for two years and am looking forward to reading Issue 1. Find out why you should subscribe below!

Issue 1 of Capricious, a new speculative fiction magazine edited by SpecFicNZ member A.C. Buchanan is now available for free download. The issue includes fiction by A.J. Fitzwater and Sean Monaghan, who are both New Zealand based, alongside work by Sabrina Amaya Hoke and Bogi Takács.

This issue takes you through fairy tales and to other worlds in none of the ways you’d expect. The authors challenge and interrogate genre boundaries, exploring themes of consent, communication, and obligation. Their work is filled with the senses of exploration, danger, and ultimate success that characterise so much of the best speculative fiction.

If you like what you see, and want to support a local publication, please consider subscribing. Subscriptions start at just US$8 for a year (4 issues). If you’re unable to subscribe, don’t worry – all stories and articles from future issues will be archived and freely available on the website from three months after publication.

Reviewing stories, recommending Capricious to friends, and submitting your work are other ways of supporting the publication which are much appreciated.

25 September 2015

I'm Reading Poetry At Wellington Public Library on Wednesday 30 September, 6pm

IP, who have published my recent poetry collection Men Briefly Explained and the two poetry anthologies I've co-edited, Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand (with Mark Pirie) and The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry (with P. S. Cottier), are touring Jeremy Robert's new poetry collection Cards on the Table around New Zealand.

There are three stops on the tour, and I'll be reading at the Wellington stop - next Wednesday, 6pm, at Wellington Central Library.

In Christchurch, Dr David Reiter of IP and Jeremy Roberts will be joined by Sugu Pillay and Karen Zelas, while in Auckland, the reading will take place at Poetry Live.

In Wellington, David and Jeremy will be joined by Wellington poets published by IP: Mark Pirie, Keith Westwater and myself.

The schedule is:

28 September: Poetry Live, Auckland, Thirsty Dog Café, 469 Karangahape Rd, 8:30pm. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1497595977226709/

30 September: Wellington Library, 65 Victoria Street, 6pm. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1633555860235889/

1 October: Lyttleton, Freemans Dining Room, 47 London Street, 7pm, with Sugu Pillay and Karen Zelas. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1495745650745935/