Monday, July 12, 2010

Duets, sparkling

Went to the launch of Duets, a chapbook project that pits (?) a NZ poet against a US one.
Edited by my friend Alice Miller and featuring Sam Sampson, Joan Fleming and James Brown from the NZ side.

All good and all very different obviously. A nice selection I think. A couple of poems James read were particularly great, he started off by deprecatingly proclaiming himself "New Zealand's foremost writer of light verse." His poems were simple and funny, but mainly so tight, like little balls of poetry rolling down a hill, but not a scary hill, a nice gentle undulating one. There was poem that stood out from the rest, he decided to use the same phrase (the green plastic toy) in every sentence. It was amazing, read aloud anyway. Such a crazy constraint and what impressive skill to pull it off in the way he did. I won't give it away. You'll have to read it or better yet buy the chapbook. Anyway, there was some really interesting and varied stuff, Joan and Sam were great and a typically incisive intro by Bill Manhire too.

Obviously the old chapbook budget didn't stretch to flying the American writers over, so when I get my hands on some copies I'll report back on them. I can't even remember exactly who they were, except Dora Malech was one of them (definitely got to get one of those) and an Andew someone? Anyway, stay tuned for those.

What a great way to start the week!

1 comment:

  1. It was a great launch. I like your description of James Brown's work as "little balls of poetry." I've been thinking about constraints recently as I don't really use them but they do produce some really interesting work.


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