Yunno, I've often wondered just how poetry in Aotearoa-New Zealand is viewed from abroad: not from Anglo-American-Australian vistas (for there is too much in common with their (post-)colonialist-imposed poetic striates here anyway) but from other countries. Countries that are steadily replacing the United Kingdom as fount for new arrivals here. Countries where the poetry is not necessarily in English language, is more empathetic to the tropes and styles of indigenous verse; where fancy footwork language manoeuvres are not the 'norm.'
In the tradition of iconoclastic South Island, Aotearoa-New Zealand publishing independence is the innovative and invaluable work of long-term Americano expatriate, Doc Drumheller — through his own poetic experimentalism as personified in his recent book, 10 x (10 + -10) = 0, as well as via his steersmanship and stewardship of the idiosyncratic and instigative Catalyst. I will let him give us a potted (and necessarily selective) history of this significant journal in his own words and also directly from his editorials — 'Catalyst [and here]is a literary arts journal originally published by a collective of artists known as Neoismist Press inside an old volcano in Whakaraupo/Lyttelton, NZ.
Percutio(Latin — to pierce) is an interesting and important New Zealand-International hard-copy poetry magazine. [Photo credit above — Catherine James, Le banquet des justes, 2ème partie; de la série Animalitas. 120cm x153cm, 2004.
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.
Following on from part one, 'experimental' poetry, then, ranges mightily across all manner of media - from strict text juxtapositions right through to poets experimenting on their very own corpus: not as body of work, but on their own body as work. And Aotearoa-New Zealand is no exception, as we shall soon see.