Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Excerpt from 'Glaciers' by Sarah Jane Barnett

WORK launch

She notes down the time, opens the aquifer sample
taken from a farm west of Hastings, a saturated and fertile zone
of nested multilevel wells. She pours

it into the debubbler. The team used a direct push
drill, the cleanest way to sample intensive farming regions.
The water shines as it shunts through the tubes.

She builds a model on her computer, maps
the geology of the region, the path rain takes under
the earth, the black areas of nitrate.

It's important work. Last month they'd helped
a farmer build flow barriers, shown him how to read
the deep strata. They'd worked hard,

they'd found a way. Her phone buzzes: a text.
I'm smiling because I'll see you tonight.
She feels his breath sweet on her face.

A second text. David. Can you pick me up
early? We need to go to the pharmacy. I love you. See you soon.
She focuses on the machine,

removes the sample and starts to enter
the numbers: a red line of data works across the map.
She identifies / inhabits. She grasps. Would this

be her life's work? Her son – it was nearly time
to pick him up. She feels the pull. Each day she knows
where he will be, waiting for her

at the seashell window. He jumped out,
his tiny form crumpled forward with excitement. She can't help
but imagine him as a young man: she sees her son

on a street corner. He is eighteen. It's a few months
after he's moved out. He’s talking with a man
and a woman, hands slack in his pockets.

The day is warm. He is easy with himself,
almost languid, like a photograph
of herself in her twenties. He raises one lean arm

and lets it fall around the other young man's
shoulder. He is continuous / fluid. His laughter,
those precious drops. 


Edited by Sarah Jane Barnett

Photo Credit: Matt Bialostocki

'Glaciers' is a long-form poem that is part of my collection, WORK (Hue & Cry Press)The collection was launched into the world on 22 October at Vic Books, and you can find more photos of the launch on my website

The excerpt above is the final section of eight. The main character, a glaciologist, thinks forward to a time when her son has grown into a young man. Hinemoana Baker read part of this excerpt during her launch speech for WORK (you can hear the whole launch including the reading as a Better off Read podcast). I wanted to post it as a Tuesday Poem because 'Glaciers,' in part, is about the effort and sacrifice required by a working mother. While I'm not a glaciologist, this is my experience of being a writer and a mother. In one of the pictures above you can see my son dancing gleefully with me, Therese Lloyd and Matt Bialostocki while we're reading at the launch! 

Two interviews about WORK

On The Lumiere Reader: 'A Slut for Beauty: An Interview with Sarah Jane Barnett' 

On Poetry Shelf: 'Sarah Jane Barnett - writing is an act of contemplation for me'

You can find out more about WORK on the Hue and Cry Press website.


Sarah Jane Barnett is a poet, creative writing tutor, and book reviewer. Her poetry has been published in New Zealand, Australia, and the US, and anthologised in Best New Zealand Poems, Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems (Godwit), and Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page (Random House). Her debut collection A Man Runs into a Woman (Hue & Cry Press, 2012) was a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards. She teaches creative writing at Massey University. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her husband and son.

In addition to today's feature be sure to check out the wonderful poems featured by other Tuesday Poets, using our blog roll to the left of this posting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wild Daisies by Bub Bridger

If you love me
Bring me flowers
Wild daisies
Clutched in your fist
Like a torch
No orchids or roses
Or carnations
No florist's bow
Just daisies
Steal them
Risk your life for them
Up the sharp hills
In the teeth of the wind
If you love me
Bring me daisies
That I will cram
In a bright vase
And marvel at

by Bub Bridger (Ngati Kahungunu), "Up Here on the Hill", Mallinson Rendel, Wellington, 1989

Edited by Annabel Hawkins

Bub Bridger emerged on the poetry scene when she was 60 following a trip to Ireland; “I returned from New Zealand and I couldn’t get it down fast enough and I haven’t stopped”.

There is a stripped back lyricism in Bub’s words which I adore, or perhaps it is the sentiment of them that resonates with me the most. As though you hiked up some hill in the back blocks of Wellington alongside her, your breath heaving, and thought, ‘yes, it’s really as simple as this’.

It is easy to get caught up in the complexity of what we can say, as writers, wordsmiths, poets, people, whoever. I like what Bub has done with flowers, perhaps the simplest form of metaphorical expression, and used them as a vehicle to her heart. It really wants you to cut out any romantic bull**** doesn’t it.

I often wonder if this poem, which I first came across as a framed, hand-written note on my mother’s side table as a child, is what my own romantic endeavours measure against. A wild daisy or two. Don’t we all?
Bub Bridger

Today’s editor, Annabel Hawkins, is a full time media person and part-time writer in Wellington. She launched her debut poetry collection ‘This must be the place’ earlier this year, which was designed by friend and typographer Alice Clifford. She writes in all forms and posts regularly on her blog sparepencilsandscrappaper.blog.com.

In addition to today's feature be sure to check out the wonderful poems featured by other Tuesday Poets, using our blog roll to the left of this posting.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yawn by Sarah Rice

Funny how a yawn travels through a room
a pied piper gathering all the rats

In that instant we all draw from the same source
a great swallowed gasp shoved into our lungs

like socks stuffed in a bag
and the long outward sigh

That we try to hide it up our sleeves
makes us culprits in common

like playing truant
with a friend

It’s mostly like this
our bodies that bind us together

despite talk of mind’s united
mutual goals – a Weltanschauung

No, more likely it is that we all pee
bare-footed in the night

with toenails that particular pale shade of shell
and a shadow pressed onto each heel

That at a certain point in the evening
we reel our shoulders in on tiny strings

to catch the small warmth of our elbows
and shrink our silhouette

We all lean the same way as the bus turns a corner
grow a wide-legged stance on a train moving

We all rise
on tip-toe

at the edge
of cold water

And sneezing scares us somewhat
those first few seconds when the breath comes in and in with no end

We know the mundane imperative of bowel
and the incredulity of a broken heart

Our bodies loosen in warmth or water
and we all leave hair on the pillow

We share in the first great O
our mouths make for milk at the start

And the milky grey our eyes
all turn at the end.

© Sarah Rice

Posted on The Tuesday Poem with permission.

Editor, Jennifer Compton

I wasn't aware of Sarah Rice or of her considerable mad skillz as a poet (amongst other things) until I went to the event celebrating the inaugural Ron Pretty Poetry Prize – and the minute I walked in the room and spotted her I went kind of wow! (At that stage I wasn't aware her poem Speaking bluntly had won.) But there was something about her aura that took my eye. And her witty bumblebee ensemble of yellow and black – not quite Iris Apfel, but on track – certainly took my eye. And then she read her poem (well she knew it off by heart) and again, quite something.
Ron chose her poem as the winner - "for the sustained brilliance of its imagery, for its unity, and for its imaginative insights into the nature of language." Since then I have read a lot more of her work and I plan to read a lot more before I am done. Her take on things, her eye, her sense of equilibrium,
her insight into the human condition, they are all very more-ish indeed.

Ian Gibbons, Sarah Rice in yellow and black, Ron Pretty, Anne M. Carson, Steve Armstrong.

Sarah Rice is a Canberra-based art-theory lecturer, visual artist and writer, who co-won the 2011 Gwen Harwood poetry prize, and won the 2014 Bruce Dawe poetry prize, amongst other awards. Her limited-edition, art-book of poetry Those Who Travel (Ampersand Duck, 2010), with prints by Patsy Payne, is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including Award Winning Australian Writing and Best Australian Poetry 2012. Yawn was short listed for the Montreal Poetry Prize.

Listen to Sarah read her poem.

This week's editor is Jennifer Compton who lives in Melbourne. She is a poet and playwright who also writes prose. Her most recent book is a verse novella Mr Clean & The Junkie published by Mākaro Press.

In addition to today's feature be sure to check out the wonderful poems featured by the other Tuesday Poets, using our blog roll to the left of this posting. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Before by Janette Pieloor

.......................© J Pieloor
.......................Published by Walleah Press
.......................Reproduced on The Tuesday Poem with permission

.......................Editor: P. S. Cottier
Janette Pieloor had her first collection, Ripples Under the Skin, published earlier this year by Walleah Press, who are producing attractive and compelling books.  The cover, reproduced here, incorporates a photograph of the poet as a child.

I asked Janette if a poem from the book could be featured here, and was delighted when she gave permission, and chose 'Before'.  The deceptively simple piece deals elegantly with the loss of a loved one, and plays with our perceptions of time. Here is the back story to the poem, as provided by Janette:

The inspiration for this poem was when a friend told me that she had been lighting a candle each night, following her separation from her lover… 

'I thought I’d like a candle light in my bedroom. I lit one on a stand on my desk which also had shelves above it with papers, notes, etc. My bed backed onto the desk. I dozed off. I think my cat came in and walked along the desk, as she usually did, and caused the candle to flare. I woke to the sound of crackling; saw the flame had reached the wicker cane basket with papers in it, on the shelf above. On the desk I had one of my grandmother's large decorated bathroom tiles as a stand for my cup of tea or glass of water. I grabbed the tile and dropped it over the wicker basket and smashed the candle, the fire put out. The tile broke in half. The smell of burning lingered and I never lit a candle again.' 

 Janette lives in Canberra and states that she enjoys the city's creative environment.  She is an active member of the poetry scene.  This debut book is marked by an arresting combination of longing and the quietly sardonic; the type of work that demands more than one reading.

It was a pleasure to attend the launch of the collection, where members of the poet's family read.  I hope that Ripples Under the Skin is followed by other books in the near future.  It can be ordered from Walleah Press.

Editor P.S. Cottier lives in Canberra, too far from the sea. 

In addition to today's feature be sure to check out the wonderful poems featured by the other Tuesday Poets, using our blog roll to the left of this posting.