asemic letterpress


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20/08/2018 · 9:36 pm

BNZP17 poetry reading @ Te Papa

This is happening next week: Monday 20th August. If you’re in Wellington, please stop by. I’m only in Welly for the day!

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Another wonderful LOUNGE poetry event.

We dedicated the reading to my late brother James, who died in June of this year.

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Questions for answers asked

for James

I haven’t really been here before
at your house. I just waited outside, usually in the car
for you to get in, or to drop something off for you.

But I’m here now and this is the detritus of your life
and I don’t know what’s important – so everything’s unimportant
until we give it meaning.

Carole comes for Delores the stuffed donkey,
and two childhood clocks
Hannah finds a linen napkin you kept from her wedding
Tarei has the longest drink in town and
Richard has your Tin Tin comics
Andy and Clinton have the heavy black vase
And Dad’s got your records.
When Mum came, her heart shook
but she counted the dinners in the freezer
and kept close the memory of cooking them for you.

I take particular care with the rocks I find in your room
smooth round overlarge pebbles, sharp angles or broken stone discs
and I build a pile, a cairn, in the garden
between the front steps
and the blue skip that we filled twice over.

You had been reading Real Fake White Dirt
by Jess Holly Bates
a bus ticket marks your spot, a cash ticket
from the 30th of May
page 23 is where you’re up to
and I can’t read any further

I take Real Fake White Dirt
and a book of recent paintings by Gretchen Albrecht
you were always well read – why didn’t we talk about poetry together?

Hannah and I sold your car to the scrappers
A teenage boy came with a tow truck
he looked at us like meat. Whose car is this? He says
Are you sad? He says chewing gum and staring at our tits
Please, just take the car
with its overstuffed bear filling the back seat
and a boot we can’t get open.
He took the car and left a sour taste in our mouths.

Later, when I imagine the end, which I don’t do voluntarily
I forget there was car here
and I imagine you on the concrete in front of the house
in your dressing gown.
Andy said your hair was soapy
when he left earlier that morning
and I imagine you here – I forget there was car
I hope you didn’t feel alone

I’m here now and this is the detritus of your life
and I don’t know what’s important – so everything’s unimportant
until we give it meaning.

And much later, when the skips have been emptied
and the cleaners come to remove the last trace of you
I start to think of all the things we threw away
and I give it all meaning
and my heart hurts that I didn’t keep the things that were yours

So I read Jess Holly Bates
and get stuck
“building questions for answers asked”
and I look at the Gretchen Albrecht paintings, which
are not my favourites
and I sit at the table that you had in your kitchen
that me and Hannah sanded down
and I instil these objects
with answers and with questions
though they never match up

and I think of you

sometimes, I can hear your voice
your laugh
your breath
and if I’m lucky, in the depths of the night
I find another memory I’d lost hold of
and I wrap it, thin and delicate as a hair
around these objects
so that I will not lose hold of you again.

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Ears Wide Open

In association with the Deep Surface event at The Open Book, Anna Livesey interviewed me about poetry and letterpress and everything else!

Me: A lot of maps are quite cold, there are maps like the map of the islands of New Zealand or a road map, and I think all of these are held up as the truth, but I think they’re actually quite false or that they don’t quite fit our experience.

Anna: And what would a better version of a map look like, or a richer version of a map?

Me: A richer version of a map would be a poem!

You can listen to it here: Ears Wide Open #17



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Deep Surface: Letterpress & Poetry @ The Open Book

Last month Ya-wen Ho, Jo Giddens and I were involved in an event called ‘Deep Surface: Letterpress and Poetry’. We performed and read poetry together, chatted all things letterpress and had a good ol’ time at The Open Book on Ponsonby Road. The main part of the event was of course a reading at 3pm. But before that, I brought out an adana desk top letterpress printer from MOTAT and a couple of trays of type of people to have a go at printing. One of the cases I brought out was the case layout I designed for typesetting in te reo Māori.

Here are some photos of the event

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bnzp 2017


I am so pleased and so proud to be among these fabulous poets whose poems have been chosen as the best poems published in NZ in 2017!

Click on the picture to go to the bnzp 2017 contents page and enjoy the wonderful poetry!

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waterlines: a letterpress print

Early in April I printed one of my poems – waterlines – at MOTAT. I designed and handset it, and it was printed on a Heidelberg Platen by Ian Barnes. It is a limited edition of 37 copies which I am selling to fundraise for a number of photopolymer plates for some other letterpress poetry projects I have coming up.

I’m selling the prints for $10 (a total bargain for a letterpress art print!) plus postage. Get in touch if you’d like a copy.

Thank you to New Zealand Pacific Studios; this poem began while I was staying at Normandel House as the Ema Saikō fellow in Nov/Dec last year.

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Filed under letterpress, Poetry, Printmaking

Poetry Live! Tuesday 10th April 2018

I’m the guest poet this Tuesday at Poetry Live. 8pm at the Thirsty Dog. RSVP here:

I’ll have some prints, including a new print ‘waterlines’, available in exchange for a donation towards paying for photopolymer plates for a new print project.

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kōrero paki

I’ve made a new blog for writing i te reo Māori. At the moment I’m just posting short kōrero about topics which will always include some kupu hōu.

But later on I’m going to post some lesson plans with examples and exercises. This is to help me learn, and keep focused on my te reo journey throughout the year. But maybe I can help you with your learning too!

When I do start posting lessons, I’ll begin with some pretty basic stuff and work up to the more complicated things I’ve learned. I might try and number the difficulty levels.

If you are a speaker of maori, whether you’re learning or are already quite fluent, please comment on the posts. Perhaps you might want to correct a mistake I’ve made, or respond to a question I have asked. But you may also just want to ask how a sentence worked, or how you might say something else.

Learning te reo Māori is about the journey, not the destination. We will always be learning!


You can reach the blog by clicking on the site logo (the sweet awesome cat with glasses), clicking ‘kōrero paki’ up in the menu at the top of this blog, or by going to

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Wairarapa: day seventeen

Day 17 was a strange day. In knowing I had to clean up my desk by the end of the day I barely did anything at all. It ended up as a bit of a non-day as far as the residency went and it took a lot of effort to be okay about that. We can’t be on form all the time, and taking that last day as a rest day was probably a good idea.

Sian and I made a joint dinner of a hot roast chicken, roasted veges, yorkshire pudding and gravy and watched ridiculous youtube videos from before the days of youtube (saladfingers, strongbad, ‘Kenya, forget Norway,’ ‘Wee! Gonads in strife’)

It was a low key end to the residency. By the time I went to bed, the whole three weeks was packed up into a suitcase. Was I ever here at all?

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