Published on August 12th, 2013 | by PRESENCE0
Minarets Journal & National Poetry Day
Over the past year-and-a-bit, Minarets Journal has been trying to do something different with contemporary poetry in New Zealand. By producing a small and close-knit quarterly publication that doesn’t intimidate by size or impenetrability, Minarets has enjoyed successful sales through independent retail outlets such as Time Out Bookstore in Auckland.
Editors Chris Holdaway and Lauren Strain have also been engaged with numerous international poets, bringing in exciting foreign work that otherwise wouldn’t reach these shores, and resulting in distributing the work of New Zealand poets overseas. Alluring design by Chris Corson-Scott, one of New Zealand’s premier art photographers, has also been a significant part of success.
As well as the print journal, Minarets endeavours to host vibrant reading events that get away from the traditional (and even sterile) kind of sit-down-shut-up affair much of the public associate with poetry readings. The latest venture comes for New Zealand National Poetry Day this year (Friday 16th August), housed in the substantial artist-run warehouse space known affectionately as the Union Street Event Centre (47 Union St, Auckland CBD). With a number of New Zealand’s best poets even flying in on tour, this is certain to be one of the highlights of the festival:
Additional features will include a number of large-format (A1) poster poems installed for absent friends, and a special presentation of two series of macro poetry by hard-hitting US artists Michael Hessel-Mial (Atlanta, GA) and James Ganas (Seattle, WA).
The event is free, and some drinks will be provided, but otherwise there is BYO permission to keep celebrations going as long as people should choose to.
Doors at 7pm — readings when we reach critical mass — visual installations all night.
Below are some samples of work that has been featured in Minarets Journal.
An excerpted version of Ross Brighton’s long poem Birds appeared in Issue Three / Summer 2013. Editor Chris Holdaway also made this recording of ross reading the piece in its musical entirety:
The following poem by Gregory Kan was published in Issue One / Winter 2012. Gregory will be flying up from Wellington to read at the National Poetry Day event:
some a drawn to kill all their enemies
I am tired. I am standing in my room. I am
going to clean the toilet with seawater. I have
been working all day. I work so that I can
gain enough power to trap myself in revolving
doors. Now I have finished work. The fog will
gather around me in disgrace. I wait before
taking my shoes off. I have eyelids as thick as
banquets. I hate taking my shoes off. I want to
walk under a roof for miles. I believe that stones
should be gathered at the back of rooms. I hate
looking at my feet.
Sarah Natalie Webster has recently returned from living and working in San Francisco, where she was notably featured in the Quiet Lightning reading series and publication. This poem was included in Issue Three / Summer 2013 of Minarets:
all vision, our vision
everything that’s envisioned
all tunneled through
the narrow shaft
I, I, I,
pierced like carousel horses
our thoughts ride
around its pole
I, I, I,
the moon skates silver
on train tracks beside us
and the sun skims the water
to land at our feet
we are Narcissus
seeing only ourselves
in all surface,
we are Pokemon
pronouncing only our name
in all conversations,
the human figure is also an i,
straight shank and nodding dot of grey
and does it
I will become a W and an E,
or would you wrestle me?
and bend me
The Romans numeralized I
and decorated clocks with it
with I’s for hands
clocks tick like a heart
I, I, I,
I want my I’s to clatter
like a house of cards
I want my I’s to scatter
like a pile of pick-up-sticks
I want my I’s to ruin,
I think therefore,
I IV I & I IV..