14 October 2015

Crime Pays!

Tuesday Poet P. S. Cottier, with whom I co-edited The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, has been having a very good year with poetry competition entries.

Her poem "Route 9" took third place in the Australian Catholic University Prize for Poetry, and now she has won first place in the New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, judged by Les Murray, for her poem Criminals who are no longer criminals. To which I say: many congratulations!

One of the things I like most about Penelope's writing is the original and unusual slants and angles her poems take, and "Criminals who are no longer criminals" is a very good example of that. There's also a very interesting interview with Penelope about her poem which has excellent insights into the way she thinks about poetry.

And if all that has whetted your appetite for The Stars Like Sand, check it out at the publisher's site and on Amazon.

06 October 2015

Capricious Issue 1 Is Here

I am really happy to see the launch of Capricious, a new, New Zealand-based science fiction magazine. I've just subscribed for two years and am looking forward to reading Issue 1. Find out why you should subscribe below!

Issue 1 of Capricious, a new speculative fiction magazine edited by SpecFicNZ member A.C. Buchanan is now available for free download. The issue includes fiction by A.J. Fitzwater and Sean Monaghan, who are both New Zealand based, alongside work by Sabrina Amaya Hoke and Bogi Takács.

This issue takes you through fairy tales and to other worlds in none of the ways you’d expect. The authors challenge and interrogate genre boundaries, exploring themes of consent, communication, and obligation. Their work is filled with the senses of exploration, danger, and ultimate success that characterise so much of the best speculative fiction.

If you like what you see, and want to support a local publication, please consider subscribing. Subscriptions start at just US$8 for a year (4 issues). If you’re unable to subscribe, don’t worry – all stories and articles from future issues will be archived and freely available on the website from three months after publication.

Reviewing stories, recommending Capricious to friends, and submitting your work are other ways of supporting the publication which are much appreciated.

25 September 2015

I'm Reading Poetry At Wellington Public Library on Wednesday 30 September, 6pm

IP, who have published my recent poetry collection Men Briefly Explained and the two poetry anthologies I've co-edited, Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand (with Mark Pirie) and The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry (with P. S. Cottier), are touring Jeremy Robert's new poetry collection Cards on the Table around New Zealand.

There are three stops on the tour, and I'll be reading at the Wellington stop - next Wednesday, 6pm, at Wellington Central Library.

In Christchurch, Dr David Reiter of IP and Jeremy Roberts will be joined by Sugu Pillay and Karen Zelas, while in Auckland, the reading will take place at Poetry Live.

In Wellington, David and Jeremy will be joined by Wellington poets published by IP: Mark Pirie, Keith Westwater and myself.

The schedule is:

28 September: Poetry Live, Auckland, Thirsty Dog Café, 469 Karangahape Rd, 8:30pm. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1497595977226709/

30 September: Wellington Library, 65 Victoria Street, 6pm. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1633555860235889/

1 October: Lyttleton, Freemans Dining Room, 47 London Street, 7pm, with Sugu Pillay and Karen Zelas. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1495745650745935/

22 September 2015

Tuesday Poem: When You're Not Here, by Janis Freegard

When you're not here, I paint my nails and my lips black and
wear clothes you've never seen me in. I walk to the bar on the 
corner in high-heeled black boots and a fake leopard-skin coat
and drink tequila sunrises until it rains.

When you're not here, I go to bed in the middle of the afternoon
and read books about love. I listen to music I'm too old for,
smoke cigars and dye my hair Scandinavian blonde. I talk to
strange cats in strange streets.

When you're not here, I stay out all night playing pool with
women I don't know. I wear earrings that glow in the dark and
take taxis everywhere.  I climb to the top of a hill just to pretend
I'm somewhere else.

When you're not here, I watch old Bela Lugosi movies on video. 
I don't do the dishes for days.

When you're not here, I go to parties in a silver lurex miniskirt.
I carry a bottle of schnapps in my coat pocket and talk to men
whose boyfriends don't understand them. I play pinball for
hours at a stretch.

When you're not here, I sit in coffee shops reading Marie Claire
magazines and drinking mochaccinos. I tie a bright red scarf

around my wrist just because it feels good. I buy cooked chicken
from the supermarket and share it with the cat.

I move the furniture and paint the cupboards purple.
I plant lobelias outside my window.
I sing along to the Sex Pistols at 2 o'clock in the morning,
     bugger the neighbours.
I dance with queens and take speed with car converters.
I wait for you to come home.

Credit note: "When You're Not Here" is published in Janis Freegard's new poetry collection The Glass Rooster and is reproduced by permission of the author and of the publisher, Auckland University Press.

About Janis Freegard: Janis lives in Wellington, with an historian and a cat, and works in the public service. Her first full-length poetry collection, Kingdom Animalia: The Escapades of Linnaeus, was published by Auckland University Press in 2011. She is also the author of a chapbook, The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider (Anomalous Press, 2013), and co-author of AUP New Poets 3 (AUP, 2008).

Janis's poetry has appeared in a wide range of journals and anthologies in New Zealand and overseas, including Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page (Random House, 2014), Best NZ Poems 2012 and Landfall. In 2014 she held the inaugural Ema Saikō Poetry Fellowship at New Pacific Studio in the Wairarapa.

She also writes fiction, is a past winner of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award, and has just published her first novel, The Year of Falling (Mākaro Press, 2015). She blogs at http://janisfreegard.com.

More on The Year of Falling: As well as its print publication through Mākaro Press, The Year of Falling has just been published as an ebook by Rosa Mira Books, and you can read Rosa Mira Books' Q&A with Janis.

Tim says: I recently finished reading The Glass Rooster - and very much enjoyed it. "When You're Not Here", with its lovely mix of yearning and bristling independence, is one of my favourite poems in this excellent collection.

The Tuesday Poem: This week's Tuesday Poem is A Letter To Jim Harrison, by Lindsay Pope.

18 September 2015

Two New Plays By Renee Liang To Open In Wellington

Playwright and Tuesday Poet Renee Liang has two new plays opening in Wellington. I've been to several of Renee's plays and enjoyed them very much - I encourage you to go along to one or both!

The Quiet Room (24 September to 3 October, World Premiere!!, http://www.thequietroomplay.com/) is a drama exploring what happens when a teenager with cancer is given the power to determine her own fate. It's my first 'medical play' and is drawn from my real life interactions with patients. We have partnered with Canteen with their members involved in advising on authenticity, and tickets raise money for Canteen. You may be interested in the Gala night which is a dress-up night at the theatre with extras (wine, QnA etc) with most of the night's proceeds going to Canteen. Also Mary/Mākaro Press is launching a book on Sat 26th at BATS, 5.30: Cancer and all that other shit, by Lauren Wepa - come to the launch, then come to the play!! yay!!

Bubblelands (13-17 October, bubblelands.net) is completely different - a madhouse odd couple tragicomedy with two actors in crazy fish costumes. It explores what happens when a blue cod and a crayfish meet in the fish tank of a Chinese restaurant.

14 September 2015

IP Spring Poetry Season 2015: Wellington, 30 September, 6pm, Wellington Central Library

Presenting an evening of poetry readings hosted by Dr David Reiter of Interactive Publications (Brisbane) with Auckland poet Jeremy Roberts and featuring Wellington poets published by IP: Mark Pirie, Keith Westwater and Tim Jones.

You can join the Facebook event here: 

Watch out for events in other centres too - full schedule is:

28 September: Poetry Live, Auckland, Thirsty Dog Café, 469 Karangahape Rd, 8:30pm
30 September: Wellington Library, 65 Victoria Street, 6pm
1 October: Lyttleton, Freemans Dining Room, 47 London Street, 7pm, with Sugu Pillay and Karen Zelas.

11 September 2015

Preorder "Shortcuts: Track 1" And Win

This fantastic cover, by Christchurch artist K C Bailey, will appear on the paperback anthology Shortcuts: Track 1, from Paper Road Press, which collects the six novellas published this year in their Shortcuts series - including my novella Landfall.

If you pre-order this anthology, you're in with a chance to win - in fact, there are two chances, one for New Zealand entrants, and one for overseas entrants. And here's where to do it:


I think this is great news - both personally, as a number of people have asked me whether or when a print copy of "Landfall" will be available, and for New Zealand publishing as a whole - print isn't dead yet, folks! And I'm really looking forward to reading all the other novellas:

Mika Lee Murray and Piper Mejia
The Last Grant Stone
Bree’s Dinosaur AC Buchanan
Pocket Wife IK Paterson-Harkness
Landfall Tim Jones
The Ghost of Matter Octavia Cade

If you're just too dang-fired impatient to wait for this book, you can still purchase "Landfall" and the other novellas individually via the links above. You can currently buy it for $2.99 on the Kindle and $3.50 on the Kobo.