Poetry in Dunedin

Because the PoARTry@Olveston exhibition is going to keep me busy for ten days over August and then the following six weeks I’ll be busy preparing for the Poems in the Waiting Room exhibition, A Palette of Poetry, I decided to bring Spring forward this year. It’s wonderful being able to pick and choose the timing of the seasons!  Today I collected 6000 spring Poems in the Waiting Room cards. Not, that you’ll get to see them before spring. Sorry! Having them here now allows me to address and envelope at my leisure rather than having a mad rush when there will be so many exhibition things on my mind.

I also collected the proof of my booklet, PoARTry@Olveston today. Jenny Longstaff, who designed it for me, has magic in her fingertips. She took photos of the artworks, gathered up my poems and married them together creating a little gem. This weekend I’m  going to proof the proof and then return it to the printer who tells me he’ll have it ready in time for the exhibition opening, no sweat. I believe him. He prints our poetry cards every season with no fuss, no hassles and produces a perfect card every time.

Spring 2014resized

Our Spring card

And just to end a perfect poetic day we went to the Dunedin launch of Essential New Zealand Poems tonight. James Norcliffe, one of the selectors, was the Master of Ceremonies and it was a fantastic ceremony. One and a half hours of readings by Dunedin poets, and friends/relations of deceased Dunedin poets, who all had poems included in the book.   Dunedin was well represented in the book. We certainly deserve the title, UNESCO City of Literature. We’ll know in December – here’s hoping.

Posted in Art, Books, Poetry | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The two worlds of Charlie F and Pink Mist

Owen Sheers interviewed recently wounded service personnel and their families for the stage project, The Two Worlds of Charlie F. The cast was largely made up of wounded and injured service personnel. The Two Worlds of Charlie F won the 2012 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s currently touring the UK.  Wouldn’t it be terrific if they decided to travel this play to New Zealand!  Read more about it here.

After he finished this project Owen realised he still had a large number of  untold stories, from his interviews, which he wanted to share so he wrote Pink Mist. Last week this verse – drama won Wales Book of the Year. Pink Mist is about three young soldiers from Bristol who are deployed to Afghanistan.  The poem looks at the effect of war on the men and those closest to them when they return from service.

Finally if you were awestruck by a poem called Swallows in our autumn poetry card you may or may not have remembered Owen Sheers was the poet.

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment


Ducks in a rowThis morning we parked in Port Chalmers and went for a stroll around the Back Beach circuit. It was an amazing winter’s morning – warm, sunny and calm. It’s rare to experience all three conditions at the same time in Dunedin.

Shadow BoatsThe reflections were amazing. My first thought was, Sheryl McCammon, an artist friend who lives in our street, would love to be around here today. She has an amazing talent when it comes to painting reflections. She’s even managed to incorporate some in her ‘Olveston’ artwork which is an indoor scene.

Pleased to meet youThe geese are usually quite vocal but they were too busy drinking or perhaps making friends with their reflections.

I’ve just added the haiku to the spring poetry card and passed everything over to Barry for proofing. Once he’s given me the ‘ok’ I’ll be off to the printer to pick a colour for this spring card – something bright and cheerful, and that’s before the poems are added.  I’m earlier than usual with this card because I’m hoping to do all the addressing and enveloping while I’m Gallery sitting at my Olveston exhibition from August 8 -18.  And if you’re not familiar with my Olveston happenings then hop over here.

Posted in Art, Poetry | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Carved from light

Last Wednesday night we drove out to Blueskin Bay library collecting Sophia Frentz on the way. We hadn’t visited the library before so we were interested to have a look around before Tasmanian poet and artist, Ron Moss,  started his multimedia presentation Carved from Light -the way of art and haiku.

The gathering was small but very friendly with Louise and Kay offering mulled wine, juice and nibbles. Sophia and Ron had met before at a haiku conference in the USA so they were pleased to catch up again.

The presentation was stunning. With haunting music in the background Ron read his haiku as each image appeared on the screen – haiku with hand painted or photographed backgrounds. Ron’s haiku have been inspired by careful observation of his surroundings and nature. His callouts as a volunteer fire-fighter have also made an impression on his work.

By the number of questions asked at the end of the presentation it was obvious everyone had enjoyed the evening.  I was pleased to catch up with Rob and Wai Piggott. Rob created a wonderful piece of art in response to a haiku for the When North meets South exhibition and is involved in both the Olveston and Poems in the Waiting Room exhibitions later in the year. Ron saw some of Rob’s artwork on my blog page and was equally impressed. He’s  catching up with Rob and Wai during his short stay in Dunedin.

I gave Ron a copy of John Holmes’ small hand printed foldout haiku book  – John made a number of these for the When North meets South exhibition. John came along to the evening and discovered that Ron shared his passion – both letterset printing men.

John H's books

After all our emailing back and forth organising the evening, when we met, Ron and I just slipped into conversation as though we’d known each other for years. We’re meeting up after work this week and I’m planning to encourage him to return next year. I know there was interest from the University but this trip coincided with the end of the semester so next time, there will be a next time, we’ll coordinate dates so more Dunedinites can enjoy Ron’s creativity.

ron moss

Posted in Art, Poetry | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Heart

This post is for everyone who wanted to know where they could find a copy of the poem I mentioned in the post,  A Love story about The Heart. Greg O’Connell   has kindly given me permission to publish his poem here.


The Heart

The human heart
has four chambers
and is about the size of a fist.

But anyone who has
been in love knows

that it also has a room
where a soft light glows
and a compartment
where the sea echoes
and a container
which holds a river
and an alcove
where trees climb the hillside
and a recess
filled with a beach
and a pocket
where the mountains live.

And anyone who has
made a vow knows
that the heart is closer
to the size of the sky

and in it
is the sun.

© Greg O’Connell

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Ron Moss – Carved From Light

Ron Moss is a Tasmanian visual artist, poet and lover of haiku. His poetry has won international awards and been translated into several languages. He discovered me via a Poems in the Waiting Room haiku exhibition which I curated a couple of years ago and made contact to let me know he was coming to Dunedin to visit family.

I contacted Dunedin Public Libraries marketing co-ordinator Kay Mercer and she has facilitated Ron’s multimedia presentation at Blueskin Bay Library. All the details are on the flyer below. Ron grew up in Dunedin so is looking forward to coming ‘home.’

If you would like to find out more about Ron or see some of his other presentations check out the links below the poster.

Moss Flyer A4

Haigaonline Collaboration: One Tiny Feather

Haigaonline presentation: Return To Stillness

Haigaonline Presentation: Recurring Dreams

Haigaonline Presentation: Mindfulness in Monochrome

Haigaonline presentation: The Journey Home

Posted in Art, Poetry | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

A love story about The Heart

Yesterday’s mail bought the Listener and a card addressed to Poems in the Waiting Room from Auckland. It read like this

Dear Ruth

I’m writing, to first of all thank you for producing Poems in the Waiting Room which is a lovely idea and secondly because I’m trying to find the words of a poem that was published in the Summer edition. It described the heart having four chambers, and talked about the natural world within each chamber. My sister-in-law Cathy read the poem at my wedding in St Enoch’s Church in Alexandra this year. She’d been searching for a poem for months, and it just happened that our nephew had a sore thumb and they’d visited the medical centre just before the wedding and found the poem. It was perfect. Hope you can help with the words.

Sincerely Lisa

The poem Lisa was looking for was The Heart by NZ poet Greg O’Connell. I’ve used several of Greg’s children’s poems in the poetry cards over the years. The minute I came across The Heart I emailed Greg for his permission to include it in a card. It’s a stunning and moving poem.  I emailed the poem to Lisa last night and this morning her reply…..

Hello Ruth

We’ve been married for five months now, and reading the poem aloud has transported us back to our wedding day when Cath read it during our ceremony. She was visibly moved, and we all felt the emotional power of the words. We honeymooned in Central Otago: we both love the whole province from the inland mountains and old mining towns to the wild eastern coastal regions; and so the images in the poem really resonated with us.
We are happy for you to share our story on your blog. You don’t have to change names. There’s more; Paul and I met in 1985 and fell for each other at first sight. However, he went on his O.E. and, in a nut shell, life happened; we lost track of each other over time. Five years ago I managed to track him down again-thanks to modern technology – we reunited and our marriage ceremony was testimony to the enduring power of love.

Kind regards

Lisa and Paul Streekstra

I enjoy hearing stories about the poetry cards – kind of a reassurance the cards are earning their keep! A friend had his first chemo session last week and afterwards told me how pleased  he was to see that bright blue Poems in the Waiting Room card.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , | 1 Comment