Recently published

painted snow falling
on painted branches –
a scent of camphor

Sandra Simpson, Presence 52

‘Snow at Zojoji Temple, Shiba’ by Kawase Hasui, 1925.

bamboo cutters
washing in green water –
a scent of tuberose

Sandra Simpson, Wild Plum 1:2

I recently bought some tuberose bulbs so must get out and plant them. A large jar of blooms was just inside the front door of our palatial room in Bali last year, a magnificent scent in the evening. The bamboo cutters were also seen in Bali, washing in a water channel after a day’s work.

prayer circle
the time it takes dust
to settle

Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest 18.3

When I wrote the above haiku I hadn’t consciously appreciated that we are all dust (or waiting to be dust) but it struck me as I read it again now. I was being deep and didn’t even realise it!

mango juice –
a taxi driver updates me
on the cricket

Sandra Simpson, Kokako 23

The cricket haiku was written during a visit to Dubai in March, when the Cricket World Cup was being played in Australia and New Zealand. The Bangladeshi and Pakistani taxi drivers were all glued to games. Great fun talking to them.

Now, the Rugby World Cup is being played in the UK.

That’s the lot for now, although I have had acceptances for another five publications, very exciting!


Zine Craft workshop

My new job as publicist for this year’s Tauranga Arts Festival is going swimmingly and although I don’t intend to use this blog to overly promote that event, I thought I would mention a book-related workshop that may be of interest to people in New Zealand.

Dr Sydney Shep of Victoria University is leading a Zine Craft workshop on Saturday, October 31 from 10am to 3pm. Don’t know what a zine is? Read on …

Take a piece of paper, fold it, write and/or draw on it, photocopy it and, hey presto, you’ve made a zine, one of the world’s most dynamic forms of publishing.

“They started as short magazines, which is where the name comes from,” says Sydney Shep,  the director of Victoria University’s Wai-te-ata Press, “but they’ve become a popular medium that doesn’t require any degree of finesse to produce and have emancipated people in the process.”

Sydney will be leading the Zine Craft workshop at the Tauranga Arts Festival in October and says no prior skill or knowledge of book-making is required to join the class.

“We’re not going to be making a leather-bound book,” she says. “I hope to give participants a few skills so they can conceptualise a number of book forms.”

Although a book is generally “a codex between two boards”, paper can also be used to create concertina, carousel, star and tunnel books that become a part of the story.

A book of haiku made by John Holmes, the 2012 printer-in-residence at Otago University, for the When North Meets South exhibition. Photo: Ruth Arnison

“It’s just paper being folded and bound, but an amazing range of things can be produced. It’s a great opportunity to show the diversity of what a book is and what it means,” Sydney says.

“It’s a chance to make, a chance to think about the making process and a chance to work in forms that people may not know exist.”

Alan Clarke shows his tiny hand-made book of haiku and a proof sheet of pages at Haiku Festival Aotearoa in Christchurch in 2008. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Sydney is also speaking at the festival, joining Harry Ricketts, the long-time editor of the quarterly review New Zealand Books, on November 1 to talk about how books have managed to not only stare down the electronic age, but thrive.

“There are more books being published today than in the 1990s,” she says. “It’s just that publishing is now an industry living in two worlds – there are certain kinds of information we want delivered quickly but we still love books as objects. And I don’t see that changing any time soon.”