Blog Carnival #3: BI


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BI. Guest edited by Christopher Allen in Munich. In celebration of the bilateral literary relationship between Germany and New Zealand, we feature stories, poems, travel essays, photos, interviews, films, songs and more  from TWO perspectives: bilingual, bisexual, bipartisan, binational, bipolar…

Contributors: Hinemoana Baker, James Nicholas, Marcus Speh, Tim Jones, Elena Bossi, Penelope Todd, Lori Fischer,  Federico Federici, David Nettleingham, Raewyn Alexander, Aiden-Barrett Howard, Helen Lowe, Stella Pierides-Müller, Trish Nicholson, Rae Roadley, Foster Trecost, Walter Bjorkman, Tania Hershman, Christopher Allen, Dorothee Land and Michelle Elvy.

Link: Blog Carnival #3: BI


Highlight: Christopher Kloeble

Being Honest

An essay on writing

Let’s start by being honest: When I first decided to choose the topic “Why I Write The Way I Do” it was because of one reason: I once already had written an essay about that and thought it would mean less work in Iowa and more time to focus on my next novel.

But things have changed. After making friends with writers and non-writers from all over the world (plus Iowa), after running each day along the Iowa River, after visiting so many cultural events in Iowa City and elsewhere, after being challenged to sing the forbidden German anthem, witnessing cowboys fighting off the bad Indians in Fort Madison, shocking Americans by telling them that I walked to Sycamore Mall, got soaked in down-pouring rain because I dared to walk to Sycamore Mall, laughed my head off among Amish people, met a biology teacher who doesn’t believe in evolutionary theory, called four fire trucks in the middle of the night, learned a lot about the relationship between men and women in Egypt and was called daddy by Gabriel, after all that, I felt and feel the desire to honor this most intriguing time I’ve spent here by writing something new for the last IWP panel.

So: Why do I write the way I do?

Honestly: I don’t know.

Isn’t this something writers usually get asked by critics and academics? I even think it‘s dangerous to spend too much time thinking about it because I might not like the conclusion. I’m sure, most of you know what happens if you lie in bed and start thinking about falling asleep: You don’t fall asleep. The same happens to me when I start analyzing my writing: I can’t write anymore.
Therefore, I dare to cross out the last four words of the topic and will pretend the question is: Why do I write?

The short answer to this is simple: Because I want to be loved. That sounds good, doesn’t it. That sounds pretty honest.

But, as far as I can tell, writers aren’t loved that much. There will always be more people around that hate their writing (and them) than supporters. If writers do what they do only because they want to be loved, then someone should tell them that there are hundreds of thousands of better possibilities to achieve this.

There has to be more about writing.

When I was a young boy I once saw my mother making notes while she was talking on the phone. I had witnessed this before. But this time was different. I envied her, I wanted to be able to do that, too: Taking a pen, moving it over paper and drawing something that looked like a picture without actually being one. In the following weeks I filled endless pages scribbling, I painted signs that no one could read. Not even me. But it felt like writing. It felt important.

In elementary school, when I was able to read and write a bit, I found happiness in lists. I wasn’t much into books. I lacked focus for literature, I rarely ever made it to the end of a story. I preferred comics. My parents supported that kind of hobby, hoping I would sooner or later lose interest in it and grab a book by my own free will. Plus, at least I was reading text bubbles.
These comics were the first things I listed, and were the only thing I wrote besides what I had to write in school. I remember this deeply satisfying feeling. The fact that I was writing was important, what I was writing was not. Soon I listed other things as well. Everything was put to paper: “Collection albums”, “Commodore Games”, “stuff” (including “29 mini divers”, “1 water necklace”, “6 mini transportation machines”, “3 Batman cards”). Even the ingredients of canned soups. Everything needed to be listed. Sometimes in capital letters, sometimes in red, sometimes with high lighters, sometimes on sticky notes, sometimes underlined, sometimes copied. Last but not least I drew a map of my room and marked with arrows where everything was, which posters were hanging on the walls, and also: Where I kept the lists that listed all that.

Once I had listed everything I could think of, I looked for a new task. I started taking notes about my classmates. I divided them into two obvious groups: boys and girls. On the far left I wrote down her or his name, next to their grade for “Friendliness”, and after that, the grade for “Evilness” and finally the overall grade, which could go from “Super good” (A) to “Alright” (C) all the way to “Yuck, terrible” (F). Some of the grades I crossed out. This was because sometimes classmates, especially female ones, who weren’t content with their grades, would beg me to give them a better one. Usually I gave in (as long as they begged long enough). Additionally I listed the phone numbers of my classmates and demanded them to sign my list. Only very few were okay with that. To convince them I wrote on the bottom of the page: Everyone who signs correctly will get something sometime and everyone who doesn’t won’t get anything.

And still I was thrilled by writing. It was everything to me. I created my own magazine. The first issue was titled: “the nutty one”. Above that it said: Everything inside is superb! But once again I was only attracted by the act of writing. I stole most of the content. A satirical text from MAD-Magazine and riddles of the Mickey Mouse Magazine, walkthroughs for Zelda from the Nintendo Club Magazine. I copied the self-made pages in my father’s office and sold them at school for an impressive five Deutsch-Marks. Every magazine in the supermarket would have cost half the price. My classmates didn’t mind. Motivated by their interest I produced additional issues. And added a new title: NONTE (Which doesn’t mean anything in German either. I remember only trying to employ a word I had never heard before. I wanted to be original!)

That’s how I continued.
I wrote to write.

I believe there’s an archivist in every writer. When I write, I list ideas and memories and things I observed in my head, choose only a few of them and put them together on paper. Of course, I also want to tell a story and not only fill blank pages. But, honestly, what really keeps me going is the deep desire to put one word after the other. Maybe I think much longer about what word that might be, but in the end I’m still writing lists. And I do it out of a simply urge: Because I need to.


Christopher Kloeble (novelist, playwright, screen writer) born 1982 in Munich/Germany, studied in Dublin, at the German Creative Writing Program Leipzig and at the University for Film and Television in Munich. He has written for Süddeutsche Zeitung, DIE ZEIT and tageszeitung. His plays U-Turn and Memory have been staged in major theatres in Vienna, Munich, Heidelberg and Nuremberg. For his first novel Amongst Loners he won the Juergen Ponto-Stiftung prize for best debut 2008; his second book A Knock at the Door was published 2009. The third, Almost everything very fast, appeared in March 2012. His first movie script, Inclusion, was produced in 2011 and received a lot of attention.

World Book Day: Books, Readers, Reviews…


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WORLD BOOK DAY, April 23. Organized by UNESCO, World Book Day is celebrated in many countries. At Aotearoa Affair, we bring you this special post with links, photos, quotes and notes, all about books and their readers and writers.

Also included: our own readers and writers Mike Crowl, Susan Gibb, Michael Arnold and notes from Bangalore’s Wordsmith and Words Without Borders with blog posts about BOOKS FROM OTHER PLACES. Plus: Poetry from another place – Enjoy!


Old Library, South Germany, with book cupboardS


The Internet and the Books

Every other day, a news article announces the general death of literature and printed books and blames the internet. A survey now pieced together the numbers. The death of literature? It’s an urban myth. Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, put an article on books and our memory of the “golden old book times” together, chart included.

The conclusion: “All this to say: our collective memory of past is astoundingly inaccurate. Not only has the number of people reading not declined precipitously, it’s actually gone up since the perceived golden age of American letters. “

Here’s the full article; it’s worthwile to browse the comments: The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart


Readers Online

Let’s go back to the golden age of books for a moment. Back then, the roles were simple: there were authors, publishers and readers. And mostly, the readers were on the quiet end of the table. The web changed all this: many readers now share their reading experience online and connect with other readers, and even with the authors. There’s an abundance of book blogs out there, with a wide range of themes: from current prize winners to crime and science fiction, and from books in translations to historic books to newcomers.

Here a list of the Top 50 Book Blogs. This list is based on 20 ranking factors and includes Bookslut, Booking Mama, Bookgeeks, and many other book blogs / book websites (scroll for the various ranking lists).

In New Zealand, everyone knows Bookman Beattie, who blogs daily about the bookworld, both at home and abroad. Former Managing Director/Publisher of Penguin Books NZ Ltd., and Scholastic NZ Ltd., Beattie keeps Kiwis well informed about the literary scene. And the latest interview with him, at Flash Frontier, is here, where he talks about the state of the book, the book review, art and inspiration.

Meanwhile, Tania Hershman has assembled a round up of the short story collections featured at The Short Review over the last four and a half years. Here you’ll find reviews of anthologies such as Best European Fiction 2012, The Book of Istanbul, Loud Sparrows: Chinese Contemporary Short-shorts, Passport to Crime, Paris Metro Tales and Qissat: Short Stories by Palestinian Women, plus reviews of collections by authors as diverse as German/Swedish author Alex Thormählen, Mexican writer from Jalisco Juan Rulfo, Cuban/Italian enchanter Italo Calvino Hungarian novelist, short story writer and journalist Gyula Krúdy, and Russian national treasure (whose work was suppressed for many years) Ludmilla Petrushevskaya.


Reading books from other places: Mike Crowl on Chinua Achebe (& More)

Mike Crowl lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. He says: “Many of the books I’ve read have been from England or America. So what books from other places have really changed my perceptions? I think one of the strongest was Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. I’d come across a list of books that someone wrote about in a magazine; they were books that had influenced him greatly. Set in Nigeria, here was a world in which humans appeared, and behaved like humans, but everything beyond that was alien.” Here’s Crowl’s blog entry with more notes and titles: Books from other places.


book table, frankfurt book fair: “PICTURING Change”


The World in 7 Books

This isn’t news: the world population is now in the range of 7 billion persons. The continent with the largest population is Asia. What might come as a surprise, though, is the proportions of the population in relation to continents. If you put Asia in one hand, and all the other continents in the other hand, Asia still would be largest:

Looking at the world from this angle, if you want to read around the world in 7 books, you actually would have to go and look for 4 books from Asia and 1 book from Africa – and then for 2 anthologies that cover the rest of the world in their pages.


Chinese PubliCation (Frankfurt Bookfair)


Reading books from other places: Susan Gibb on Italo Calvino

Susan Gibb is a lifelong resident of New England and likely to be buried there someday as she is inextricably woven into the changing settings of the seasons. A book she recommends is Italo Calvino’s stories within story, If on a winter’s night a traveler, “because that book really wowwed me – it is a writer’s book, a book for writers. I’ve posted several entries while reading it, the final entry sort of sums it up: LITERATURE: If on a winter’s night a traveler – Finale.” You can find all of Susan’s reading notes (the most recent including Murakami and Lahiri) at Spinning/Literature (note: and when you click the image, you arrive at a second reader’s book review).


Global Reading Challenge

To read around the world: that’s the idea of the global reading challenge, to read books from each continent of the world, and blog about each. There are different levels, beginning with the Easy Challenge: “Read one novel from each continent in the course of 2012”. Links to the blog entry are shared in a Global Reading Challenge 2012 post. The host for this year is Kerrie, a crime reader who reads around the world in thrillers.

Each reader blog is a world journey in itself:

Canadian Bookworm – Canada (librarian)

life as a journey – Germany (editor)

Personallitararybookfrenzy – Minneapolis, USA

Lizzy’s Literary Life – 21st century bookworm (UK)

Petrona – intelligent international crime fiction

an extra-links: Lizzy recently co-hosted a German Literary Month

more Reading Challenges: Ebook Challenge, European Challenge...


Poetry from other places: Jenny Powell in Viet Nam

In her poetry collection Viet Nam: a poem journal, Jenny Powell forms a cultural and literary bridge between Viet Nam and New Zealand as the result of a visit from a Vietnamese music teacher, Hao, who lived with Jenny during his New Zealand stay. Three poems from the collection are online in an extra Aotearoa Affair highlight: “Indigo Lady”, “With Hao Overlooking Bac Ha” and “Marble Mountains”: “Here you will find / your answers — How did he know / I had questions?” Find them here: With Jenny Powell in Viet Nam


Books Published Around the World

It’s difficult to find global book statistics online, but Worldmapper has a diagram that looks at the world from the angle of books published. According to their data, the sum of all new book titles published worldwide in 1999 was 1 million. The map shows the distribution of the new books worldwide.

The countries in the map are re-sized according to the amount of new books published there. Western Europe dominates this map due to the high number of new books published there. The most new titles were produced in the United Kingdom (pink), China (green), and Germany (darker pink). On the other end of the scale is Africa – the map tells its own red story of how the stories of almost a whole continent are lost.

A number that is included in their page: “The world rate of new titles is 167 books being published per million people per year.” That would make it 1.6 books per 1000 persons. It will be interesting to see how the map changes in time. (Note: If Worldmapper is all new to you, here’s the diagram explanation in a nutshell: Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. There are now nearly 700 maps. To learn a little more about this and other map projections read this: Worldmapper and map projections.)

Average Readers + % of Non-Readers

How many books does the average person read per year? The answer to that question is a bit easier to find, at least as long as you stay on a national level. There have been two large reading surveys, one in the USA, one in Germany. The surveys come with a surprise parallel: in both countries, the average number of books read is around 9. Also, in both counries, the group of people who didn’t read a book in the past year is 25%.

A number that is painful, yet also similar in both regions: the percentage of functional illiterates: 14%.

Here’s more on this: books published, books read, and 25% non-readers


Reading books from other places: A Wordsmith on David Almond

Bangalore is home to 3 readers who run a joined international bookblog named “Wordsmith”: This blog is an attempt to compile some of the words floating here in this vast sphere of life. Literature, some call it. This blog though, will call such inspiration the Life Wordsmith.” One of the books recently reviewed there is David Almond’s “My Name is Mina“. The Wordsmith notes: “There should be a genre for that, surely. There should be a dictionary for words like destrangification, limplessness, claminosity, and the sheer strattikipiness of it all…” – For more strattikipiness, stop by at the Life Wordsmith.


POD, E-Books + How To Do This Yourself

The digital revolution changed the way books are produced, and also the way they are read. Print on Demand (POD) makes it possible to create single copies of books, which allows to publish books for smaller and special audiences. Parallel, e-readers make it possible to read e-books in a new, paper-free way. The physical creation of a book: it doesn’t take a publisher anymore, not even a printer. Which doesn’t mean that things have become easier: writers who take the POD-way need to learn a good deal about formats, files, marketing and photo editing first — topics that can make you feel like entering another world without map. Some helpful links:

A quick guide to book publishing services (POD + E-books)

Book Marketing Guide for authors

How to create an own book cover


Reading and Surviving in other places: Michael Arnold in Shenyang

West Aucklander Michael Arnold spent his first winter teaching English and immersing himself in the culture and nightlife of Shenyang. His essay about it was first published in the New Zealand publication brief. In his blog ‘Reading the Maps’ brief’s editor re-publishes Michael Arnold’s essay with an introduction that points out that Arnold’s darkly descriptive piece was one of the most memorable pieces in brief‘s pages. Here you can read the essay in full, and be transported into a decidedly un-romantic Chinese winter landscape.



“Bücher” (“Books”) – Bookshop in Essen, Germany


Reading books from other places: Rosamund Hunter on Friedrich Christian Delius

Words without Borders is an online magazine that translates, publishes, and promotes contemporary international literature, and to serve as online location for a global literary conversation. The magazine features an ongoing series of international book reviews. Recently, Brookyln-based author Rosamund Hunter wrote about a German book: “Portrait of the Mother as Young Woman“, a book that challenges the readers and offers no easy answers.


A New Diversity

There we are, with a growing range of publishing formats and publishing services, and with a growing number of small presses and individual authors. With so many new books that it is impossible to keep track of them. And with different suggestions as to how to deal with it: from university journal editorials that plea to “rescue public discourse from the blogosphere” (Virgina Quarterly: The Death of Fiction) to blogging and online book publishing enthusiasts. No matter how you look at it, a new age of diversity and of fresh voices has arrived, and this is Just Plain Good, as pointed out by Jessica Powers in New Pages: You have this whole crop of writers from incredibly diverse backgrounds. The possibility of finding something there, something raw, something that isn’t out of a polished school of literature or thinking, is a really wonderful thing.”


Official World Book Day Website

World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on 23 April, organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. The Day was first celebrated in 1995.

The official theme for World Book Day 2012 is: “Books and Translation”

Wikipage: World Book Day
UN-page: World Book Day

Highlight: Jenny Powell

Indigo Lady

Her story is written on

life lined in black on

hands full of secrets in

skin of indigo stains set

Indigo leaves leave their mark
powder to paste, lye, lime, rice
wine and the urine of young

Baths simmering blue black
in copper cauldrons, hands
dipping hemp twice a day
each day.

After the lunar month
every fibre is full
of colour.
Ears droop and drag
silver hoops looped
in double rings
letting her lobes loose
into the hills.

Her face is a folk song,
every line has been sung
in Sa Pa for centuries.

Her chorus breathes in
the blue cloth of night
and moon mist draped

over these high hills
where love hides.


With Hao Overlooking Bac Ha

Fans of rice paddies
shyly reveal
the heart of Viet Nam
through a hundred shades
of green.

Mists of finest silk
shyly reveal
the heart of Viet Nam
through a hundred sequins
of rain.

Hands so long apart
shyly reveal
the heart of Viet Nam
through a hundred brush strokes
of one touch.


Marble Mountains

Here you will find
your answers

How did he know
I had questions?

Here is
the universe
Thuy Son
Moc Son
Hoa Son
Kim So
Tho Son

of marble and marvel

The Sanctuary

A blaze of yellow
in prayer
for the yellow

The air holds
its breath


The Caves

Sacred with the scars
of bullets
a new holiness
into stone
Mandarins guard
the prayers

Huyen Khong Cave

Cathedral door
to choirs of shrines
incense heavy
with time

light falling
from the sky
from every heaven
spirits sing

Hai Dai Tower

The ocean view
the breeze
‘I wave my hands
over an unlimited
I don’t know who
will be
beside me.’


Poetry from other places – from Jenny Powell’s collection Viet Nam: a poem journey (HeadworX 2010)

Jenny Powell is a Dunedin poet and secondary school literacy coordinator. She has written five individual collections of poetry, Sweet Banana Wax Peppers, Hats, Four French Horns, Viet Nam: a poem journey and Ticket Home. She has worked with other poets to produce two collaborative collections, Double Jointed and Locating the Madonna. She is part of the CD and book New New Zealand Poets and can be found on the 12 Taonga of Aotearoa site. She has been a finalist in the UK 2008 and 2009 Aesthetica Creative Arts Competition, short listed for the 2009 UK Plough Poetry Prize, runner up in the 2010 UK Mslexia Poetry Competition and a finalist in the 2011 Wales Poetry Competition.

Highlight: Diana Menefy

For this week’s highlight, we are pleased to offer an excerpt from award-winning children’s writer Diana Menefy. This is the opening chapter of Shadow of the Boyd, HarperCollins 2010

January 10th 1810, on the City of Edinburgh – anchored in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

They are all dead. All the crew are dead except for me.

And I’d probably be dead too if it wasn’t for Mr Berry rescuing us – Mrs Morley, baby Mary, little Betsy and me. We’re safe now on the City of Edinburgh and soon we’ll sail for home.

The City of Edinburgh is a barque and smaller than the Boyd – a lot older too and not in such good condition – before the fire that was. There are already two apprentices on board: Mr Berry says I’m to share their duties, but he also said that whenever things are quiet he expected me to report to the great cabin and write my account of what happened.

I don’t like writing, but he wants my story for Mr Brown, the owner the Boyd. Mr Berry writes every day and he reckons if I do it like that, a bit at a time, it will be easier. I wrote those two sentences – and then I couldn’t think what to say next. I was still staring at the blank page an hour later when Mr Berry came back.

‘Start at the beginning with your name,’ he said. ‘Tell me about the voyage – just the important bits until you get to when the trouble started.’

So that’s what I’m doing.

My name is Thomas Davidson. I come from Romford, London. I went to sea as an apprentiss on the brigantine Boyd early in the summer of 1809. Da paid my indenture to the Boyd’s owner, Mr George Brown, and I promised to faithfully serve him while being taught the business of a seaman. I was proud to belong to the Boyd. She was a fine ship, a three-decker with two masts, Thames built and top rated.

There were three of us apprentices, John Bowen who was in his second year and Will Green new like me. John took us down to the fo’c’sle to stow our sea-chests. The air was musty, the light dim and I was to share a hammock with John who was on the opposite watch. He must have noticed the dismayed expression on my face because he laughed. Then John showed us around the ship, starting with the empty hold and finishing on the quarterdeck where we were put to work caulking the deck.

We sailed from London on the full tide early on March 3rd 1809. Will and I were on the larboard watch under Mr Strunk the first mate. As the ship moved down the river I stopped work to watch the buildings slip by.

‘Stop slackin’ there.’ Bosun’s voice caught me by surprise. I dropped back down to the deck and carried on pounding the caulking cotton into the seams between the deck and hull with the iron. Will was using the mallet not far from me. As Bosun moved away Will looked up and grinned.

‘Do you think we’ll ever get the tar off our fingers?’

‘Better tar than ink. I’d hate to be cooped up inside all day like Da is.’

‘Yeh. Me too. I want to see the world.’ Will looked up at the sailors on the foot ropes by the yards. ‘I wonder how long it’ll be before we get up there,’ he said.

I caught the words drifting down: ‘Yo! Ho! Away to sea we’ll go…’ and with the wind flicking my hair, the slap of the water against the hull the adventure started.

My good mood lasted until we hit open waters, when the heave of the ocean had me clinging to the side.

Over the next two days I reached until my throat was raw and my ribs ached. Between watches I lay on my hammock longing for the quiet comfort of my own bed. The ship never stopped shouting – creaking timbers, the wind booming in the canvas and the rattle of the blocks from the deck. On top of that the bell rang every half hour, even through the night, starting at the beginning of the watch with one ding and building to eight at the end.  I would doze off, then jerk awake with the ring. At eight bells when the watch changed I’d stagger up on deck while John headed for the hammock. He slapped me on my shoulder as he passed, told me the sickness would go and I’d get my sea legs soon. I didn’t believe him.

By the time we dropped anchor at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight two days later I was ready to abandon ship. Will insisted that I’d feel better once I’d eaten. He was right. We’d stopped at Yarmouth to load a contingent of soldiers with their gear and supplies. Will and I watched as they marched on board – thirty-three of them, their buttons shining, all wearing tall black hats and long grey coats and carrying knap sacks. Will sniggered and the soldier at the back turned to glare at us. He didn’t look much older than me. The officer in front bellowed orders and the soldiers halted on the quarterdeck and stood at ease.

‘Looks like a stove-pipe to me,’ Will said, as some of the men removed their hats.

‘With a feather on top.’ I grinned, happy to be feeling better. We were close to the young soldier and he obviously heard our comments. He swung around to face us.

‘Awa’ an’ bile yer heid, Sassenach!’

‘Just jokin’,’ Will said, taking a step back.

‘Good to see you lads making friends.’ Mr Strunk had come up behind us. “Green, Davidson, you can give a hand to stow some of this gear. Captain Cameron and Lieutenants Pike and Wright will be in the spare cabin below the quarterdeck. You can deliver the trunks there.’

‘Yes, sir.’

It took a day to load and store all the supplies. The rank and file soldiers were bunked ‘tween decks, their equipment stashed in every available space there. I thought it was strange that the hold was left empty until John told me our next stop would be to pick up a load of convicts.

By the time we sailed again my stomach had settled and the weaving of the ship, the noise, even the ship’s bell had dropped into the background. Walking around the capstan singing a shanty as we weighed the anchor I felt like part of the crew for the first time.

‘This is the life,’ I said to Will who was next to me. Will nodded. His face was red with exertion, his black hair blowing to the side in the breeze. That evening while we sat on our sea-chests in the fo’c’sle, eating a boiled mush of beef, potatoes and turnips, we found out that the soldiers were there to act as guards, to keep us sailors safe.



Diana Menefy was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, but has lived in rural Northland for the last forty years. She started writing and was first published in the late 1970s. Since then, Diana has had stories and articles for both children and adults published in magazines and newspapers. Her major work has been seven non-fiction books and two junior novels. The last novel Shadow of the Boyd (HarperCollins, 2010) was a finalist in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in 2011 and won the prestigious LIANZA Esther Glen Medal that year.

Diana has her master’s degree in education (specialising in children’s literature) and tutors part-time on the online applied writing programme at NorthTec. She is a member of the New Zealand Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme, the Northland delegate on the national council of NZSA(PEN Inc) and the Northland representative of Storylines CLFNZ.

A farmer’s wife, mother and grandmother, Diana enjoys researching history and then bringing it alive for readers. She is currently working on a children’s novel set in the old silver mines at Puhipuhi in the early 1890s.

Highlight: Piet Nieuwland

in the speaking silence

in the speaking silence of a dream
the sky with its raining voice
falls singing into the winds of the sea

into the wind you were born with, huranuku-atea

into the wind that carries your name, tahu-makakanui

into paraweranui, the wind of your ideas

falls singing
into tahu-mawakenui, the wind of your actions

through kakariki silver points of prisms
weaving your meaning into me

through floating blue tapestries
unfolding the qualities of your presence

in a luminous afternoon of candelabra
and your blinding nectars

in the blushing silk of dawn
and an exodus of cloud

the languages of air
and love beyond reason


from this reincarnation

in the wind of light you were born
to ride cascades of starclouds

annointing the flesh of the perfumed sea
with a penumbra of startled smiles

in your eyes
maritime swells in silvery brocades
span from the blond algebra of dawn
to tapestries of shimmer

from the turquoize of cobalt blue wind
and distances to islands

from this reincarnation
to the colours of the next

from your geometry
and the nocturnal arithmetic

from the kiss your eyelids make with morning
riding the ocean of invisible stars

from flowers of blue waves
songs of foam, veils of silk

from cloth woven from threads of rain
the sky is a circus


Piet Nieuwland  is of Dutch, English and Australian extraction. He lives in Whangarei, New Zealand, and is a member of the Take Flight poetry group. In 2010 he was one of the judges for the Northland National Poetry Day competition. He makes occasional appearances at Auckland’s Poetry Live events as well. 

Highlight: Tom Bresemann

now is close

we planted in the wind the fresh,
down the hill, throughout the settlement.
yet one took fruits after ourselves.
and no more of tomorrow.
suddenly life darted
on us. a smile,
that we denied all pain.
that day fortune was a place,
at sunshine, easily
accessable by bike.
closer than we thought.


jetzt ist nah.

wir pflanzten frisches in den wind,
den hügel hinab,
durch die siedlung.
schon trug man uns früchte nach.
und nichts mehr von morgen. plötzlich
stürzte sich leben auf uns. ein lächeln,
dass wir jeden schmerz bestritten.
an jenem tag war das glück ein ort,
bei sonnenschein
bequem mit dem fahrrad erreichbar.
näher als wir dachten.


“jetzt ist nah” was first published in Berliner Fenster (by Berlin Verlag)


Tom Bresemann, born 1978 in Berlin. He published several volumes of poetry, lately “Berliner Fenster” (Berlin Verlag 2011). 2012 he publishes his first story “Kein Gesicht” (SuKulTur Verlag).

“His poems are scalpels, that cut away the unnecessary and leave a picture of the naked city.” – Alejandra del Río

Tranlation into English by Bret Amonsen. Amonsen was born in Montreal, Canada.  Since 2001, he lives with the artist Frida Amonsen in Wuppertal, his translations include Tanya Färg from Swedish.


Past Myths, Present Legends: new blog carnival at Aotearoa Affair Blog Fest. Guest edited by Rachel Fenton: “In Past Myths, Present Legends, writers and artists collude to bring you the visual word from a Northern shore to a Pacific shore, through time and place, all connected in tangential, elliptic, and surprising ways; a round table of ideas. Pull up a seat, feast your eyes and satiate your minds.”

Contributors: Helen Lowe, Chris Slane, Ant Sang, Scott Hamilton, Tim Jones, Andrea Quinlan, Adrian Kinnaird, Himiona Grace, Tommpa, Trish Nicholson, Martin Porter, David Tulloch, Gonzalo Navarro, Raewyn Alexander, Maureen Sudlow, Mike Crowl, Maurice Oliver, Vaughan Gunson, Rae Joyce, Dorothee Lang, and Michelle Elvy.