Thursday, November 26, 2015

from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

            Later, he’d walked by the open bathroom and heard her talking to herself as she removed her makeup.  “I repent nothing,” he heard her say to her reflection in the mirror.  He’d turned and walked away, but the words stayed with him.  Years later in Toronto, on the plywood second storey of the King Lear set, the words clarified the problem. He found he was a man who repented almost everything, regrets crowding in around him like moths to a light.  This was actually the main difference between twenty-one and fifty-one, he decided, the sheer volume of regret.  He had done some things he wasn’t proud of.  If Miranda was so unhappy in Hollywood, why hadn’t he just taken her away from there?  It wouldn’t have been difficult.  The way he’d dropped Miranda for Elizabeth and Elizabeth for Lydia and let Lydia slip away to someone else.  The way he’d let Tyler be taken to the other side of the world.  The way he’d spent his entire life chasing after something, money or fame or immortality or all of the above.  He didn’t really even know his own brother.  How many friendships had he neglected until they’d faded out?  On the first night of previews, he’d barely made it off the stage. On the second night, he’d arrived on the platform with a strategy. He stared at his crown and ran through a secret list of everything that was good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

New book

Out in 2016
Udon by The Remarkables.
Mākaro Press. 2016

Sunday, November 15, 2015

NZ Poetry Conference 2016

Sweet Mammalian launch

What an incredible, poetry-filled, literature-rich week I have had.  The poetry reading in Christchurch went well and I’ve added a comment to the post about the reading (as much as for my own memory as anything else—as are all posts on Notebook).  I got back to Wellington on Thursday; back to work on Friday and then on Friday night the poetry conference in Wellington started for me around 6PM.

This event was buzzing from the very beginning.  Lonnard, Laurice and the convention group kicked off by a challenging, raw, heart-felt performance by Apirana Taylor followed by slam poets Te Kahu Rolleston—who I will endeavour to bring to our school—and slam champion Mohamed Hassan.  These are young, vital, exciting oral poets—Slam Poetry is the newest form of oral poetry since hip-hop.  I loved it—slam is high energy, theatrical, choreographed in its own way.  Courtney Sina Meredith then hopped out of a taxi, came into the National Library, and just blew us away. Such energy.

And then we had Fleur Adcock.  What an incredible mix.

I can’t recount all of Saturday: the blog would become too boring.  I met so many familiar faces; so many new faces.  At the end of the day I reckon I must have heard about 90 poems.
As I am leaving the Library, some tells a group the horrible news from Paris.  The stupidity of it all. The misery. 

In the morning: Karl Stead, Elizabeth Smither, Cilla McQueen: all totally brilliant. All poets I respect and admire.

To be present at the crowded launch of the NZ Poetry Anthology of poem submitted to a competition which I had been given the honour to judge . . . that was wonderful, hearing all those poems aloud, hearing these young poets from the junior section read their entries. What’s so great about the NZ Poetry Competition Anthology is the way adults and junior poets are all included within the same work.

In the evening, we hit Litcrawl.  I was especially keen to be at the Sweet Mammalian launch because I don’t know these guys but I like the previous issues—this is one of the most interesting developments in NZ poetry. Then the packed reading from the Hoopla series:  Helen Rickerby, Michael Harlow, Stefanie Lash, Bryan Walpert, Jennifer Compton, Carolyn McCurdie.  I got a real buzz when Mary McCallum announced that I would be published in Hoopla next year. In the after party I had a number of good chats and got to meet Doc Drumheller.

Today we had our final readings, and I was on a well-attended panel about judging poetry competition with Tim Jones and Siobhan Harvey and then a cool launch of new books by Heidi North-Bailey and Keith Westwater and then the final reading by Maris O’Rourke, Diana Bridge, Anna Jackson and Marty Smith.  It was quite an incredible saturation of poetry and this feeling of being part of this mad group of poetry fiends (and friends).   The next conference is in two years and I'm going to go . . . thanks Laurice, thanks Lonnard, thanks Jen, thanks Saradha, thanks Tim, thanks Bill Sutton, thanks all the poets and poet laureates . . . I know  this is all a bit rushed but I’m knackered.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

This Changes Everything Screening

This Changes Everything

Promoted by Peoples Climate March

Tuesday, November 17 6:30PM - 8:10PM

at Paramount Cinema 
25 Courtenay Pl, Wellington, N, NZ, 6011 (map) 
$16.00 NZD General

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Night Music

New poem starting tonight on Facebook: Night Music. Finally, all 88 pieces

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Poetry Reading in Christchurch 11 November

Harvey Molloy | Hagley Writers

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
November 11 . 6.30 PM

The readings are at CPIT in Madras Street, begin at 6.30 and start with an open mike. After that we have a break, then readings from the students of the Hagley Writers Institute. Then I’ll be on reading some new poems from my upcoming Udon at the Remarkables and a couple from Moonshot.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

two new poems out soon

Two new poems out soon: Grand Theft Aotearoa | At the Armageddon Expo

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Fonterra: No New Coal

Coal cooks the climate. It is the most carbon-intensive fuel. If we are to keep climate change to less than 2 degrees of warming, a goal most nations have agreed to, most of the coal that exists must stay in the ground. All coal users need to start phasing out their coal use and replacing with renewable energy.
In New Zealand, Fonterra uses more than half a million tonnes a year of coal. Worse, Fonterra is aggressively growing its coal use. Since 2008 its coal use has grown by about 38% and is planning another big plant with 4 new boilers.
I just signed a petition calling for Fonterra to use wood waste instead of coal in all its new boilers at its milk factories.

Will you sign too?

You can get in touch with Coal Action Network Aotearoa directly by following these links here:

·  Join their mailing list so you can find out how to get involved in our current campaigns. Use this link: or email
·  Donate to CANA:
·  Follow their blog:
·  Like them on Facebook:
·  Follow them on Twitter:


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Twenty-Five Books

A monster calls
recently read

1.      Strong motion. Jonathan Franzen
2.      Native bird. Bryan Walpert
3.      The night we ate the baby. Tim Upperton
4.      The world’s fastest flower. Charlotte Simmonds
5.      Death is not the end. Ian Rankin
6.      The embassy of Cambodia. Zadie Smith
7.      Farenheit 451. Graphic novel. Bradbury & Hamilton 
8.      The Daylight Gate. Jeannette Winterson
9.      Bones in the Octagon. Carolyn McCurdie
10. Clampdown. Rhian E Jones.
11. Nanotech.  Denis Wright
12. Metric Conversions.  Michael Howard
13. The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  Brian Selznick
14. Low. Hugo Wilken.
15. Derrida. Benoît Peeters
16. Black and Blue. Ian. Rankin
17. Phoenix without Ashes. Harlan Ellison
18.  Mr. Clean and the Junkie.  Jennifer Compton
19. The Islamist Phoenix.  Loretta Napoleoni
20. Aurora. Kim Stanley Robinson
21. Trotsky. Graphic biography. Geary & Helfer
22. The Mountains of Madness. Graphic novel. Lovecraft & Culbard
23. Sandman vol 1: Preludes &nocturnes. Neil Gaiman et al
24. Surface tension. Joy Greene

25. A monster calls. Patrick Ness

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday Poem: hypocrisy by Joy Green

Today's poem is hypocrisy? by Manawatu poet Joy Green who died unexpectedly this week.  I met Joy at the Wellington launch of 'Surface Tension' and I just finished her book. I am so glad that had the chance to meet and chat with Joy and I'm saddened at her sudden passing. I hope her family and friends accept my condolences. Thanks Joy for your poetry. 

More poems at Tuesday Poem.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Taran before the Ball

My son Taran before his year 13 high school leavers’ ball. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Stevens on 'the way of all mind'

I suppose that the way of all mind is from romanticism to realism, to fatalism and then to indifferentism, unless the cycle re-commences and the thing goes from indifferentism back to romanticism all over again .  .  .  At the moment, the world in general is passing from the fatalism stage to an indifferent stage:  a stage in which the primary sense is a sense of helplessness.  But, as the world is a good deal more vigorous than most of the individuals in it, what the world looks forward to is a new romanticism, a new belief.

Wallace Stevens

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday Poem: The World Is Too Much With Us by Wordsworth

The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Spine Poetry

Poem by Danica Fontein

I don’t usually blog about school. It’s best to keep professional and personal lives separate.  Today’s an exception. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve run a competition at school, suggested by our school librarian, where students make spine poems.  A spine poem is a found poem composed solely from book titles. The poet arranges these titles, takes a photo,  then emails the shot to the competition address.  You can have up to ten books in a stack and up to five entries per entrant.  Students loved it—we were flooded with 70 or so entries.  It was so much fun. In the middle of a stack of marking and paperwork I once again felt very lucky to have to job where I can encourage this sort of creativity. (Without sounding greasy, thanks also to my school’s management who supported the competition with a book token prize. I bought some small runner-up prizes.) 

Friday, September 04, 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Poetry Day Reading

Janis Freegard and Sarah Jane Barnett

As a secondary school teacher, this time of year is what I call “The Term three marking bender.”  I mark from dawn to dusk: mock exams, internal assessments, mock exams, internal assessments.  It’s quite crazy, really.  So small breaks when you get back to other aspects of your life are essential.  The reading on Friday for National Poetry Day at St Marks Church in Lower Hutt for Poetry Day was one of those breaks.

Vivienne Ball  who arranged the reading over at the lovely St Marks church put on a nice spread of hot drinks and cakes and it was great to meet up with other fellow poets Janis Freegard, Sarah Jane Barnett, Kerry Popplewell, Adrienne Jansen, Keith Westwater and my old cobber Tim Jones.  It’s a handsome church with fine acoustics. Naturally books were on sale and I picked up  Janis Freegard’s The Glass Rooster—which I’ve been meaning to read—and Kerry Popplewell’s Leaving the Tableland. Kerry’s work had been on my mind as last week I’d read her great poem ‘Seeing the Red Hills again’ in the wonderful anthology The Nature of Things edited by James Brown with photographs by Craig Potton.  As we all chatted there was talk of the upcoming NZ poetry conference which I’m looking forward to and for which I need to register.

I read three poems: ‘Udon by The Remarkables’ and ‘Tekapo Night Sky’ from my new book to published next year by Makaro Press and ‘Singapore Morning’ from Moonshot.  I thought ‘Tekapo Night Sky’ was received well which is good to know as it’s different from my other work and is unpublished.  Now, back to the bender . . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Poem: The City by C.P. Cavafy

I came across this wonderful Cavafy poem ‘The City’ in Kim Stanley Robinson’s incredible novel Aurora; a novel I think is the most powerful SF novel I’ve read since Gibson’s Neuromancer.  So much of the novel can be found in Robinson’s astute and timely reading of this poem.

More poems at Tuesday Poem.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Voice. Digital photograph. 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

2015 International Poetry Competition

This year I judged the Open Section of the New Zealand Poetry Society’s Poetry Competition the winners were announced last week and published on the society’s website along with my judge’s report.  I was honoured to be asked to judge the competition.  Competitions have their place but there's more to poetry than winning.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

TPPA No Way!

Even protests have their funny moments.

Today’s march against the TPPA was a good-natured event.  We met at Midland Park and walked over to Parliament.  I got to say hi to some old friends.

Parliament steps and the forecourt was off limits for us protesters as we gathered behind metal barriers to hear our speakers.

As Brian Bruce began speaking about the demise of democracy a troop of suited young college students walked awkwardly across the forecourt to enter parliament, well aware they were being observed by a crowd of 1000 protestors – a few of which called out to the young people.
“You’re on the wrong side!”  “Come join us!”  “Privilege!”   

But Latika and I knew who these well-heeled youngsters were—not Young Nats but senior college students taking part in a model UN Security Council scenario hosted at Parliament.

There in the line of sheepish, somewhat embarrassed students was our son Taran.   Standing in the front line of the protest we smiled and waved and I even flashed him a peace sign.  I wouldn’t blame him if he saw us and pretended he hadn’t noticed.  Little did the rabble know that Taran is a veteran TPPA protestor!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Poetry Day: Reading at Poems of Place

This Poetry Day I’ll be reading some poems which explore landscape and place at St Marks Complex, Lower Hutt, 58 Woburn Road with fellow poets Anne Powell, Kerry Hines, Keith Westwater, Tim Jones, Keith Johnson, Adrienne Jansen, Kerry Popplewell along with an open mike session.
  The event runs from 7.30PM9.30PM and is free for all.

At school, a small cabal comprised of myself, a fellow English colleague passionate about creative writing and our school librarian are hosting a poetry reading combined with a ‘spine poem’ competition. I hadn’t heard of spine poems before today—you arrange book spines in a pile so that they form a poem.  Theres a national calendar of poetry day events for poetry day and a Facebook page which is quite handy for getting your hands on images to help promote events in your area.

Saturday, July 25, 2015