Recent publications

The quarterly issues of A Hundred Gourds and The Heron’s Nest are out, with the news that AHG is to cease publication after its June issue which will mark 5 years. Sad news as from its inception A Hundred Gourds has been a benchmark publication, not an easy thing to achieve. But editors have lives too and running a large publication, whether online or in print, demands a time commitment that not everyone is willing to give. In other words, they’ve earned a lie down and a cuppa!

deep in the fjord I no longer

– Sandra Simpson, A Hundred Gourds 5.2

Managing editor Lorin Ford assures readers and contributors that the AHG archives will remain available once publication ends, which is excellent.

half my life gone the violence of mating butterflies 

– Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest 18.1

I don’t think I’m writing more one-liners than usual so the appearance of two at the same time is just a coincidence. But to keep the vibe going …

Leaving the Red Zone is an anthology of poetry written after and about the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and was launched on February 29, a week after the fifth anniversary of the deadly quake that shattered lives and the city of Christchurch. The cover image is of one of the footbridges across the Avon river, buckled by the second quake.

Edited by James Norcliffe and Joanna Preston, the book has been published by Clerestory Press. The book is large format (172mm x 245 mm) softcover, 180 pages, with the work of 87 contributors from across New Zealand, with a few offshore as well. You can read some snippets of poems on Helen Lowe’s blog. Or you can hear the editors talking to Radio NZ’s Wallace Chapman (14:52).

getting in everywhere the dust of everything

– Sandra Simpson, Leaving the Red Zone (2016)

I was so pleased the editors accepted this one, which was first published in a fine line, the magazine of the NZ Poetry Society in March 2012. The late John O’Connor reckoned it was one of the best poems about the earthquakes that he’d read!

In the broadcast linked to above Joanna says that she and James were searching for ‘poetic truth’ and that some quite good poets with poems that were ‘perfectly okay’ had been left out because there was no ‘little electrical spark to make you sit up’.

To purchase a copy, go here to find an order form, bank transfer details and the publisher’s contact details. The book costs $39.95 with free delivery within New Zealand. All profits go to the Mayor’s Earthquake Relief Fund.


Soaping fabulously 2

Here’s part 2 of my Year of Soaping Fabulously … read the earlier review here.

Ginger & Lime Luxury Soap is billed as “naturally European and “savon de luxe” on the cellophane wrapper – made in Portugal with the company based in England (the eccentric-sounding Chew Magna which may, or may not, be near Chew Bacca!). The website listed on the wrapper has been “parked” (ie, it no longer works, but the above link will take you to some information).

I bought this from a Life Pharmacy, attracted by the light but invigorating scent that was apparent through the wrapper and knowing that Haiku Husband loooves ginger so figured it would at least appeal to him (I’m not such a fan of the root spice).

But I fell in love with it as soon as I used it. The soap retained its delightfully zingy scent almost to the end and was a pleasure to use – although as always with larger bars my little hands have problems holding on to start with. The bar was sudsy without feeling like it was leaving a film on my skin and despite having a long list of ingredients, only a few are unpronounceable so maybe the “natural” appellation isn’t too far off. It contains ginger (extract and oil), lime (extract and oil) and extracts of lemon, orange, mandarin, plus poppy seeds, the last being well distributed right through the bar for a bit of gentle exfoliation.
Cost: $12.99 for 230g. Rating: 5 stars.

In the interests of sourcing my soaps far and wide for this survey, the next bar came from The Cargo Shed in Dive Crescent, Tauranga, a weekend arts and crafts market through the winter (more days in summer). I am assuming that the soap is made in the Tauranga area as the market is for locally-produced goods but there is no address on the label, apart from the name “Naturally Native Bath & Body Treats”.

Orange, Petitgrain & Calendula Cold Process Soap is, the label says, hand-made in New Zealand and uses no palm oil or animal products. The scent lasted well and small pieces of peel emerged on a regular basis (although peel isn’t listed on the label, only essential oils). The ridging on the top of the bar gave a kind of pleasant scrubbing effect. Again, it felt soapy without being filmy.

Petitgrain, in case you’re wondering (I was), is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the bitter orange (Citrus aurantium). This plant is also known as the Seville orange, where the marmalade comes from. When I was much younger and in Seville I couldn’t work out why all the oranges were left on the street trees. So I pulled one down and tried a piece. Instantly, there was no saliva in my mouth and my face felt like was turning into a prune! Yep, it was bitter.
Cost: $6 for 110-130g. Rating 4 stars.

my mother’s breasts
we both giggle

– Joanna Preston, from the haibun “Shoulder Reconstruction”, winterSpin, 2000.

Read Joanna’s blog here, and more of her haiku here.