A busy winter … (and spring … and …)

As the title of this post suggests, I’ve been a busy woman lately. Which isn’t unusual for me at this time of year – historically my best and most productive periods of writing have tended to be in winter. But this year has been … different. Turns out that winning awards makes stuff happen!

First, an update on Poetry Class workshops. We had two Reading for Writing sessions looking at tumble back in June, led by Shirley Eng. They were a heap of fun for me, although it did feel very weird to not be able to nudge people in one direction or another as they analysed the poems. But there were a lot of things they picked up that I hadn’t realised I’d put in there. Or possibly I had meant to at the time of writing, but forgot about it afterwards. They’re really good poems! Who knew?

I’m about to run one more tumble R4W session, but let participants be the ones to select the poems. I also still want to run a couple of single-session exercise workshops, based on the exercises that generated individual tumble poems. Given the current Covid surge, these will be online only – sorry to those who hate Zoom, but it would be lunacy to risk everyone’s health by trying to gather in person in the middle of winter.

I’m also going to run two of our standard five-session R4W workshops later in the year – one looking at Dead Poets, one at Irish poets. I have funding for these ones already, but trying to work out when and where (and how) to run them is turning into a bit of a logistical issue. And why is that? Because …

… I’m going to be appearing at lots of places, between now and November. I’ve just finished recording a thing for the wonderful people at Red Room Poetry, for Australian Poetry month. (Loads of fun, but oh lord I hate looking at myself on a screen. Do I ever stop twitching and moving?!!) Then I have a visit to Canterbury University for a reading/talk/workshop in a couple of weeks’ time (dates tbc, but looking likely to be August 18th or thereabouts). Then I fly north, and start with a visit to Auckland University on August 25th for a reading/talk/workshop. Then the Auckland Writers’ Festival, where I’m appearing with violinist Joella Pinto on the 26th (National Poetry Day) as part of the Streetside event – our part is called SOAP: Songs of a Poem. (Each of the four Ockham poets are matched with a different musician.) Oh, and around that time I’m also judging a Poetry Day poetry competition for Good Books, and the poetry section of the Heritage Book Awards. That takes me to the end of August.

When I get home, it’s time for Word Christchurch, where I’m doing two things – getting set loose in the Canterbury Museum after dark on the Thursday night with Frances Samuel, Robert Sullivan, Rebecca Hawkes, and Erik Kennedy in The Museum of Unruly Desires, and then on the Sunday I’m running a workshop – Poetry for the Nervous: reading it, writing it, getting it in Spark Place at Tūranga. (Those of you who haven’t quite taken the leap into trying one of my classes because you’re worried you’ll be out of your depth, this one is very definitely for you.) It’s my first time ever as a guest presenter at Word, so I’m really looking forward to it. Loads and loads of fun.

The week after that, I’m doing a reading/talk/workshop for Hagley Writers’ Institute. Then the following week is the start of the 2022 CPC Readings. Then the first Ekphrastic Poetry workshop for the Art Gallery. More CPC. Another Ekphrastic workshop. Then I’m back to Auckland for the Ladies’ Litera-Tea event, hosted by the Women’s Bookshop (I know it says cancelled on their website, but unless this is a very elaborate prank, they’re in the process of rescheduling for October 30th).

Anyway, the upshot is that I’m going to be busily darting hither and thither and quite possibly zither for much of the next five months. Finding two blocks of five Saturdays or Sundays wherein I can run my usual classes is going to be a challenge. Oh, and there’s still a pandemic on.

Having said that, if you have something that you’d like to have me read/speak/workshop at, get in touch – I’m saying yes to pretty much everything at the moment. Being in demand is wonderful, but also slightly terrifying. And I know will pretty much cease when the longlist for next year’s Ockhams comes out in January, and I stop being at all interesting.

Most absurd thing? tumble still hasn’t been officially launched …

3 Replies to “A busy winter … (and spring … and …)”

  1. Joanna,

    Sounds like you are having a lot of well deserved fun. I read Tumble and loved it. Bravo.


    Dennis Gallagher Christchurch


  2. Lee Thomson here. I saw with interest your classes on dead poets, such a lot, and Irish poets. I’m a dedicated follower of Seamus Heaney, so would be interested in that. Can you send me details and costs of your classes. Cheers. Lee.

    1. Hi Lee, I’m afraid the Irish poets one will be people other than Heaney and Yeats – I too love Seamus, but this one is intended to remind people that there are a heap of other brilliant poets in Ireland – Eavan Boland, for example, and Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Sinead Morissey, maybe Medbh McGuckian or Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin if I’m feeling brave. They are hardly known in New Zealand, so I’d like to try and widen people’s awareness a bit. But keep an eye on the blog, because I won’t long be able to resist spending time with Seamus again.

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