New Zealand poetics

Ka Mate Ka Mate Ka Ora Ka Ora

Ka Mate Ka Ora - NZEPC and critical writing #2

Haka
Ka Mate Ka Ora

Following on from the last post, what then is  Ka Mate Ka Ora  and 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).

Local crime

Forensic iterations

Detail from The Crime LINKS in the Smoke by Campbell Walker
Detail from The Crime LINKS in the Smoke, by Campbell Walker

My final post takes a very local turn. Like Prigov’s Little Coffins, New Zealand artist Campbell Walker’s 2012 work The Crime LINKS in the Smoke is an undead work that plays on the print book as both fetishized object and repeatable copy. The Crime comprises cut-up pages from detective novels that were burnt in the fire that destroyed Raven Books, a secondhand bookshop on Princes St in Dunedin, New Zealand. Walker’s book is a memorial both to a particular shop and to the town where it was located. Dunedin, the small city near the southern end of New Zealand where I live, is known for its penguins and sea lions but also for its crumbling Victorian grandeur. Now mainly a university town, Dunedin was once New Zealand’s largest and most prosperous city, and the energetic local cultural scene today springs partly from the spaces opened up by the slow urban decay of a city that never grew. Walker’s work links the fate of Raven Books and Dunedin to the fate of the print codex at a time when bookstores everywhere are closing their doors and e-book sales are increasing exponentially.

Arkadii Dragomoshchenko

Remembering a great writer and friend

Arkadii Dragomoshchenko

I had already started writing my first commentary for Jacket2. But then I had to begin again.

Earlier today I learnt of the passing of a great poet and a friend: Arkadii Dragomoshchenko.

I discovered on the weekend that Arkadii was seriously unwell. As a result, I dedicated the launch party for my book A Common Strangeness that we held in Dunedin, New Zealand, on Monday to him. As part of the launch, the New Zealand poet Cilla McQueen read the first part of his long poem “A Nasturtium as Reality” alongside her own poem “Photon.” It was just the latest in a long line of cross-cultural encounters generated by Arkadii’s work.

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