It is important, I believe, to feature the myriad of ‘smaller’ poetry publishers and publications per se in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Why? Because these are at the forefront of pushing and placing poetry in front of the people; all-too-often without any Creative New Zealand funding, sometimes without selling enough copies/issues to recoup finances deployed. If there is a poetic spine running the looooong length of New Zealand, it is these presses and periodicals that provide resonance, flexibility, alternative therapy.
Michele Leggott’s poem “shore space, ” from her 2009 book Mirabile Dictu, imagines 1930s New Zealand writer Robin Hyde taking a bus trip through Auckland’s North Shore, and running into various groups of local writers as she does so:
she would be pleased this spring afternoon above the bays where gorse and mangroves present a united front and choko vines run wild she would be pleased to see Jack Ross and friends rolling in with a box of books and a sausage sizzle to do a fundraiser for a poet who has run out of cornflakes on the other side of the world Robin Hyde is living on baked beans and disprins soon she will leave the places we can see and walk the seaward road that glistens with disappearances
It’s a pleasant pastoral vision of friends and collaborators falling over each other to help out, be supportive, advance the art of poetry in an atmosphere of mutual good will.