The Queensland Poetry Festival runs from 21 to 23 August. Graham Nunn has helped me to select three poets to feature on LiteraryMinded in the weeks leading up to the festival. Hinemoana Baker is number two. Revisit number one, A.F. Harrold, if you like. Enjoy!
Arts Queensland Poet in Residence 2009 Hinemoana Baker’s writings have featured in many anthologies, including Best New Zealand Poems and Australian literary journal Going Down Swinging. Her debut poetry collection, matuhi | needle (2004), was co-published in New Zealand by Victoria University Press, and in the United States by Lord of the Rings star and man of letters, Viggo Mortensen. Her new book, bone bone, with poems about grief, fertility, fossils and terrorists, will be published in early 2010. Her poetry, (‘…like my relations’, she says) is a mix of Maori and European influences, coupled with a passion for sound.
Photo by Gregory Crow.
The poem Hinemoana is sharing on LiteraryMinded is called ‘Last Born’, which was published in Turbine, the literary journal of the Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University in Wellington, where she did her MA in Creative Writing. Read it here.
Hinemoana Baker on
the poetic life…
The poetic life is a bit of a myth, I reckon. Writing is like anything else – it takes effort to produce something worthwhile. It’s hard work. And although poems can probably be harvested from shorter blocks of time than a long work of prose, writing poetry is still (as they say) 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. At least for me it is. My ‘poetic life’ could probably be more accurately described as my ‘keep healthy and make some money and don’t get too busy and in the midst of everything try and stay open to the world’ life. True there’s some moments when I need to be gazing into space and letting it all sift down. But not many. My life is very busy and it takes a lot of discipline to do what I do.
Cannot be relied upon. We must be prepared and ready to write no matter what dire circumstances – including creative dry spells – befall us. I was just talking about this today to a poet who came for a consultation, how we have to write ourselves out of boredom or anxiety sometimes, and this can lead you to inspiration, but if you sit around waiting to be inspired before putting pen to paper you may find yourself waiting for a long time. It’s not worth it. Just start writing. A mentor of mine was once asked where he got his ideas from and he said ‘Ideas? I don’t let myself get bullied by ideas.’
the Queensland Poetry Festival…
Is singularly the best poetry festival I have ever been involved with as a performer. Quite apart from the quality of the shows, the hospitality of these folks is second-to-none – and this is vital for an audience as well as a participant. In fact good show business, good events, are all about hospitality I reckon, in every way. And QPF have got it in spades. Please try and come to the opening night show, Fri 21 August. It’s quite a big gig for me and I’ve got some cool things planned with my looping pedal and Maori instruments.
Have a look at the QPF program.
Keep up to date on QPF happenings (and general poetry loveliness) on Graham Nunn’s blog Another Lost Shark.