Looking Forward To The Ballroom Cafe With Madeleine Slavick This Sunday

I’m looking forward to spending two hours at the Ballroom Cafe in Newtown on Sunday from 4-6pm (cnr Riddiford St and Adelaide Rd). Madeleine Slavick is the guest poet, and she’ll be performing a series of portraits of New Zealand poets. There will also be open mike poets – the open mike is of a high standard at the Ballroom – and musician Fraser Ross.

I’m looking forward to these two hours because I like Madeleine, like her poetry, and think this will be an intriguing session. I’m also looking forward to it because it will be two hours away from what has been an incredibly busy life of late: lots of travel, lots of interesting experiences, lots of preparation for important things coming up later in the year, lots and lots of answering emails, but alas, far too little writing, or even submitting what I have written.

I’m hoping things will settle down for the next month or so. I’m planning to get more writing done, and once that’s underway, I hope I’ll get back into the swing of commenting on blogs etc. I even have some new author interviews for this blog lined up – when I find time to write the questions!

So, if I seem a little absent, in either the mental of the physical sense, that’s why. For two hours on Sunday, I plan to be present.

Tuesday Poem: Echolalia, by Saradha Koirala


This morning’s northerly
throws death out in my path
a tiny carcass blown from a rubbish bag
a broken bird
at the bottom of a plate glass window.

A paper bag twists itself into the gutter
a butterfly has its wings torn off.

An old man walks into a bar
moving like shaking out a rug
he smells of wood-smoke and rain.
like wet logs burning.

I think of houses I’ve visited
with apple cores browning under beds

a cat licking the ends of breakfast
off a bowl in the sink
and the use of words I wasn’t allowed
words I wouldn’t dare use
and words I’d never heard before.

(First published in Moments in the Whirlwind, New Zealand Poetry Society, 2009)

Tim says: I posted this poem for three reasons: first, I love the word “Echolalia”; second, I love the poem that follows it as much as the word; and third, Saradha Koirala is the guest poet at November’s “Poetry at the Ballroom Cafe” session, which will run from 4-6pm at the Ballroom Cafe, cnr Riddiford St & Adelaide Rd, Newtown, on Sunday 21 November. The session will start with an open mike, followed by musicians Josie & Mary Campbell, followed by Saradha’s guest slot.

I understand that Saradha will read a mix of poems from her debut collection Wit of the Staircase and uncollected poems. I’m really looking forward to it.

You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog.

Tuesday Poem: N.E.V.


So few ways out of the narrow valley
so many footprints along North Road

Sliding down Blacks Road on the black ice
off to work through the hoarfrost of morning

Walking the dog at Chingford Park
parking the car at Bethune’s Gully

There’s a photo I still look at:
twenty years ago now, four of us under the pines

ready to climb Mt Cargill
on a still afternoon in summer

Twenty years on, and we’re scattered
two of us walking the hilltops of Wales

me in Wellington, wondering
when it will truly feel like home

and the dog in the soil
of a house in North-East Valley

pushing up the daisies, and the frost,
and the life that flickers on the hillside’s bones.

Tim says: This poem is from my first collection, Boat People. It was on my list to read at the Ballroom Café this past Sunday, but I trimmed the list by a few poems, and this was one that I omitted.

In any case, it may mean more to Dunedin people than to Wellingtonians. I lived in Dunedin for seventeen years, the last 12 of them spent at 20 Gillespie St, North East Valley – the “N.E.V.” of the title.

I enjoyed the Ballroom Café reading a lot. I was my usual nervous, distracted self before the session started, and the awful weather didn’t help, but lots of people came along despite the weather, there was an excellent Open Mike section, the musical interlude from the Gracious Deviants was very enjoyable, and by the time I came to read, I was relaxed and ready to go.

My son Gareth came along, and did an excellent job running the book sales table. And, since Lewis Scott couldn’t be there, Neil Furby came down from Auckland to MC, which was definitely above and beyond.

Now I’m looking forward to November’s session, when another Tuesday Poet, Saradha Koirala, will be the featured poet.

You can check out all the Tuesday Poems at the Tuesday Poem blog.

Tuesday Poem: Stones


Here, standing on the beach, is Dad.
Beach? It’s Riverton, rocks and gravel
from the tarmac to the grey sea’s edge.

Black and white. He holds an oblate stone
scoured out from the distant Alps
milled and rolled by frigid water.

He holds it poised for skimming. Out
it will arc, skip, skip, to fall
and sink for half a fathom.

I snapped him with my old Box Brownie. His eyes
look far beyond the frame I gave him.
Shadowed from the sun, impassive,
they are skipping over the years,
walking the waves to England.

Tim says:

“Stones” was published in my first poetry collection, Boat People (HeadworX, 2002).

It’s one of the poems I’m planning to read at the Ballroom Cafe, Newtown, Wellington, on this coming Sunday, the 17th – the session runs from 4-6pm. I’m going to read a mixture of oldies and newies. If you’re in the appropriate hemisphere, I hope you’ll be able to make it along!

Check out all the details here, and check out all the Tuesday Poems at the Tuesday Poem blog.

I’m The Guest Poet At The Ballroom Cafe On Sunday 17 October

I’m very pleased to announce that I will be the guest poet at the Ballroom Cafe in Newtown in October.

The details are:

Date and time: Sunday 17 October 2010, 4pm–6pm

Venue: The Ballroom Café, Newtown
(corner of Riddiford Street & Adelaide Road – see map)

Contacts: Neil Furby, ballroompoetrycafe (at) gmail.com
L. E. Scott, (04) 801-7773 (daytime)

Running Order:

About The Performers

Gracious Deviants Pete Edge and Darrel Greaney are an acoustic duo. Their sound is heavy with harmony and steeped in the traditions of the NZ singer/songwriter.

Tim Jones is a Wellington poet and author of both literary fiction and science fiction. His work has been published in NZ, USA, UK, Australia, Canada and Vietnam. He has just completed the manuscript for his third poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained.

Tim says:

The Ballroom Cafe poetry readings in Newtown, Wellington on the third Sunday of each month have rapidly become a staple of the Wellington poetry scene. That has a lot to do with the excellent hospitality of the venue, and even more to do with the great job Lewis Scott and Neil Furby have done in organising the events and bringing in an excellent, multicultural mix of poets, performers and audience members.

I am really pleased to have been invited to be the guest poet at October’s session. If you’re in the neighbourhood, I hope you’ll be able to come along, listen, and take part.