Wellington Notes #1

I’ve moved to Wellington for three months to study poetry at the Institute of Modern Letters, with Hinemoana Baker. Eep!

In our first workshop we had to read a poem we’d chosen – not necessarily a favourite poem, just one we particularly liked.

I enjoyed most of what the other students brought, but I particularly liked this, by Mark Roberts.


Camera man

As he filmed,
He walked backwards.
He fell on his arse,
Stomach upwards.

from ‘Buwarrala Akarriya’ (Journey East)
Annie Karrakayn & Dinah Norman Marrangawi

the cameraman walked
with his back to history
filming the women

the stone was placed here
in the dreaming
to stop those

who look to the future
without understanding
the past

the cameraman’s feet
danced for an instant
kicking up sand

on film the women
laugh for an moment
then there’s nothing

but sky


Today I went to Writers On Mondays at Te Papa. Cliff Fell introduced Morgan Bach, David Beach, and John Dennison.

In the discussion session, Cliff asked the poets how long their books had taken to come to fruition. Morgan said Some Of Us Eat The Seeds was the culmination of ten years of life. And John said twelve years. This was both horrifying and reassuring. I made a note to myself to aim for no more than five years. 2020 seems like a good year to publish a book. (I may look back on this and laugh).

I can’t quite recall the question Cliff asked, but I liked this final answer from David Beach. “Just one poem at a time.”

I really had better get started on my homework.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *