Takahē and L’esprit de l’escalier

Takahe icon blackWell it is now well and truly out in the open – yes, I am the new Poetry Editor at Takahē magazine. The official outing was an interview I did with the way-too-easy-to-talk-to Wallace Chapman, on his Sunday Morning show on Radio New Zealand National. (Those of you who feel curious about it can listen to a podcast of the whole thing here.)

We actually recorded it a few days earlier, and as is fairly typical with me, I spent the entire drive back home kicking myself for all the things I should have said (but didn’t), as well as for many of the things that I did say (and probably shouldn’t have). In some ways it’s a bit like the whole ‘getting tipsy at the office Christmas Party and dancing on tables with a lampshade on your head’ thing – you have a huge amount of fun at the time, but later on start getting little disconcerting flashbacks (oh god, did I really …?! But where did I even find an inflatable hyena?!).

‘Burning Mic Session’ by RAWKU5 a

The French even have a word for this sort of thing (not the lampshade and hyena bit) – L’esprit de l’escalier, or ‘wit of the staircase’, meaning the way you so often think of an incredibly clever and withering retort to something someone said, but too late for it to be of any use (such as halfway down the staircase on your way out; just before the host retrieves his lampshade; or exiting the Gerald Street/ Springs Road roundabout).

Then there’s the gorgeous Monty Python sketch about this sort of thing:

Deary deary me.

Anyhow, because I’m sure there will be some people who click through here wanting to send me poems for the magazine, I’ve created a page with submission guidelines (and some explanations for why they are what they are) for you to go look at.

So there you have it. Issue 82 (which I co-edited with Siobhan Harvey) should be hitting the stands any minute now, and looks pretty darn fine.

Now excuse me while I go dive in to the latest batch of submissions …

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