I would like to feature in this Commentary Post, three South Island (N.Z) gentlemen poets — Jim Norcliffe; David Howard and David Eggleton, all of whom I know and all of whom would without doubt be seen as among Aotearoa — New Zealand's leading mainstream poets. Mainstream, essentially, as they are English language poets all and generally speaking, would not be seen as 'experimental' poets, given David Eggleton's earlier more varied performance ethos and activities, among them as recording artist. All three are professional poets, by which I mean they have had life long careers as published poets and that they take the job of being a poet very seriously, for which I admire them.
Following on from the last post, what then isKa Mate Ka Oraand where did the title of this free electronic resource come from?
The very first issue was December 2005. To quote from the website introduction, 'The journal is part of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) and is based at the University of Auckland. It will publish substantial essays (6,000 – 10,000 words), review articles, historical reappraisals, close readings, shorter notices and mixed genre criticism in the area of poetry and poetics. We intend to provide a site for discourse and debate about New Zealand poetry. We will not consider contributions of poems for publication nor will we publish short reviews of books of poems. All submissions will be sent to referees for assessment and comment. We welcome contributions from poets, academics, essayists, teachers and students from within New Zealand and overseas. ‘New Zealand’ is interpreted broadly in our journal to include expatriate and immigrant writers. New Zealand is seen as a particular locality, community, context or provocation for poetry, but within this site there is a diversity of poetic activities (the poetry discussed need not be explicitly ‘about’ New Zealand).
Kia ora ano (Hello again; literally 'be well again')
In this Commentary I want to outline two very important electronic resources pertaining to Aotearoa-New Zealand poetry and poetics, which are not poetry publishing sites per se, but which are available to freely peruse and to contribute scholarly articles to (most especially to Ka Mate Ka Ora,which I will cover far more fully in #2) and to view recent trends, listen to poets reading their own works and so on. These sites have been established via the University of Auckland — my own institution of tertiary studies waaaaay back last century — and indeed some of the people responsible for these sites had a fair bit to do with my studies then. More of which later. This Commentary is less of a critique and much more of an introduction to these valuable sites — themselves introductions to many aspects of poetry in the skinny nation.
A few years ago I wrote a piece entitled Toward an Aotearoa Poetic: a few suggestions about constructing a specifically Aotearoa poetic as opposed to the — then extant — mono-cultural, monolingual, monocentric monotonous model of what poetry is and means to many Kiwis.
Down the track of time somewhat and now living right back bang in the centre of this skinny country, my essential points still remain valid, given that my many generalizations in that piece remain exactly that: the piece requires modification and further reflection. It was never meant to be an ‘academic’ item either.