Letters and postboxes

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A beautiful letterbox, crafted with care, spied while out walking one morning.

I received a letter in today’s mail, addressed to Poems in the Waiting Room, from a prisoner. The letter reads…….. I was reading your pamphlet of poems and I think it’s an awesome thing you do. This is all I can donate, do with it as you please.  A poem was included which was very much appreciated.

I love the fact that our poetry cards are very rarely turned away. Hospices, medical centres, rest homes and prisons all welcome the cards into their ‘lives.’  I post 6000 cards out every season and all it takes is one letter (commenting on the card, telling me about a favourite poem, or even telling me my selection is ‘off’) to fire my enthusiasm for the next edition.  My father was a minister and I’m sure he would have found a parable in amongst these writings! I’m just pleased that the cards reach people and are able to make a small difference to lives, even if it’s just for a moment.

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Someone somewhere

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Someone somewhere has made an anonymous donation to Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) through the Telecom Foundation’s fundraising tool, Givealittle.  Please accept this as my personal (but very public) thank you.

Givealittle is a great way to donate to any charity. The Telecom Foundation take zero administration fees so every dollar you donate goes to the charity of your choice.

All donations to Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) go directly towards printing and postage costs. I receive no payment for time spent sourcing the poems from poets and publishers,  editing, and organising the printing and distribution of the cards. Feedback from readers is payment in full!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Reflections

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 
 
 
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