12 October 2009

An Open Mike, An Open Heart

An Open Mike

Just a couple of days now till the Voyagers Book Tour of New Zealand begins, and we have decided to include an Open Mike for science fiction/speculative poetry at the tour events for which we don't have a full slate of Voyagers poets reading. Note the highlighted events on the tour:

14 Oct: Dunedin Library, 5:30 pm
15 Oct: Circadian Rhythm Café (72 St Andrew St, Dunedin), 7 pm
16 Oct: Madras Café Books (165 Madras St, Christchurch), 5 pm

19 Oct: Wellington Central Library, 5:30 pm
20 Oct: Paraparaumu Library, 179 Rimu Rd, 5:30 pm
22 Oct: Auckland Central Library, 5:30 pm
24 Oct: Depot Artspace (28 Clarence St, Devonport), 6:30 pm

At these bold events, not only will Voyagers poets will read their own and (in some cases) others' work from the anthology, but there will also be an opportunity for other poets to bring along their own science fiction/speculative poetry (we won't be too strict about definitions) and read it at these Voyagers events. I already know at least one poet who, inspired, is setting out to write a poem or poems specially for the event they plan to attend. You can choose to do likewise, or simply to come along, sit back, and listen!

An Open Heart

I have been known to criticise Creative New Zealand on occasions, notably when they slashed the funding of the New Zealand Poetry Society in 2008. But it's only fair that I should also acknowledge the good things they do: a number of books in which I have had stories published would not have been possible, or would have had a smaller print run, without Creative New Zealand funding.

Last year, I was the guest editor of Issue 26 of JAAM Magazine. I was happy to take on the task because JAAM published some of my earliest fiction and poetry and has continued to be a hospitable home for my work over the years: so it was a good chance to do something for JAAM and for writing in general in return. I didn't expect to be paid, and I wasn't.

But, a couple of weeks ago, I received a very nice surprise with my subscribers' copy of JAAM 27: an ex gratia payment for editing Issue 26. A note from publishers Helen Rickerby and Clare Needham said that the payment to editors had been made possible by an increase in this year's Creative New Zealand grant for the publication of JAAM, which also allowed an increase in this year's payment to contributors.

So, thank you Creative New Zealand!

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