Some Good News to start the year!

I got some very lovely news – tumble has been longlisted for the 2022 New Zealand Book Awards!

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

It’s a terrifyingly competitive great looking set of books – Serie Barford’s Sleeping with Stones, Sam Duckor-Jones’s Party Legend, Alison Glenny’s Bird Collector, my stable-mate, Siobhan Harvey’s Ghosts, Dinah Hawken’s Sea-light, Anne Kennedy’s The Sea Walks Into a Wall, Ruby Solly’s Tōku Pāpā, Tayi Tibble’s Rangikura, and Nicole Titihuia Hawkins’ Whai. I already own quite a few of them, and will be getting my hands on the rest asap.

A couple of things leap out at me. First, the list is strongly dominated by women. Which makes sense – we’re the majority of the population; we buy the most books; and most of all, we write some stonkingly good poetry. Hooray!

There’s a nice mix of publishers too – four from Te Herenga Waka University Press (formally Victoria University Press), two from Otago University Press (yay!), one from Auckland University Press, one from Anahera Press, one from Compound Press, and one from We Are Babies Press. I love seeing things like this – proof that you don’t have to go with one of the juggernauts to have your book do well. (OUP is, of course, the best of them.)

Geographically speaking, it’s heavily North Island- biased. By which I mean that I am one of only two representatives from the South. Even Paekakariki has two representatives! (Is there something in the water?!) [edited 2.2.22 to correct – Sam is also a SI poet. So that makes two of us! Yay!]

One more thing that the eagle-eyed among you may have picked up on – three of us are past winners of the Kathleen Grattan Award. (She said, smiling happily and planning KGA-based world domination …)

So. To celebrate tumble being longlisted, I’m holding a competition.

Competition Time!

I’m looking for the best e whetu using a line taken from a tumble poem (a selection provided below, but feel free to go looking at library copies!) The prize is a signed copy of tumble. Or if you have the exquisite good taste to already have a copy of tumble, I’ll send you a signed copy of The Summer King.

The rules of e whetu are

  • Seven lines long, in any meter.
  • A borrowed line forms the title.
  • The borrowed line is broken into three parts (phrases, words, or whatever takes your fancy).
  • Each of the three parts must appear each of the first six pairs of lines – one in each couplet – in any reverse order. [Edited 15.2.22, after I was reminded that it’s supposed to be in reverse order, not anything-goes. Oops.]
  • There is a cross-rhyme requirement, with the end of each line rhyming into the middle of each subsequent line.

Some possible lines for you to use (but feel free to use others):

with the stone of absence filling your belly

It fitted into my palm, and filled my hand

across the surface, a gleaming arc

who flock to my shepherds, who pray

wet tar became a song, and the cab

you sent me long ago, of prayer flags, a glass-blue sky

Sure as ripe fruit begets wasps. As longing

You have until midnight on February 13th to submit your entry as a comment, and I’ll announce the winner on Valentine’s Day.

Have fun!

7 Replies to “Some Good News to start the year!”

  1. you sent me long ago, of prayer flags, a glass-blue sky

    endless days are mirrored in a glass blue sky
    reflecting no ‘why’, no final destination

    on the map you sent me long ago
    sky above, earth below, the path between marked only by

    faded butterfly wings of prayer flags
    guiding my way past crags and meadows, a murmured mantra

    and distant drum echoing things long lost and yet to come

  2. barbed wire, or tarnished spoons. She whispered

    Mother-in-law’s face was tarnished spoons –
    old wounds travelled across it like poison-tipped
    barbed wire. Tight-lipped, she read the daily, armed with rights
    God-given, her eyes lighted on the name of ‘that village
    where those ‘Mah-ries pillaged the farmers’ crops, and they don’t tell us that.’
    ‘But we stole their land,’ I spat. ‘Stop,’ she whispered, shrill
    and high, ‘this is my hill, and you will not be forgiven.’

  3. two from me! It’s a tricky little form, but fun!

    Belly swollen with four hundred strangers (from “Salmon”)

    There is a hand under the skin
    of my belly, swollen thin as a summer-parched hill
    where this little taniwha lives, willfully absorbing one-
    two-three- four hundred crumbs of me – More!
    she cries, Give me your jaw, your teeth, your hair,
    your nails, your fear. We are strangers
    and I am dangerous because I love you.

  4. It fitted into my palm, and filled my hand

    Heart rain happiness filled my hand, showered
    into petalled flowers as Fawkes sparklers,
    as Hallmarked rosy blooms into my palm and
    in the doing disarmed commercial bland into significant, in to loved.
    The being desired, paired, it fitted this new
    masked take on Valentine’s view of pandemic life
    I know love and safety – for now.

    From ‘Criccieth’

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