Poetry at The Savoy

Five poets take to the mic at The Savoy to read some of their latest work: Tayi Tibble (Poūkahangatus), David Eggleton (Edgeland and other poems), Liz Breslin (Alzheimer’s and a Spoon), Michael Harlow (The Moon in a Bowl of Water) and Majella Cullinane (Whisper of a Crow’s Wing). MC Victor Billot promises to keep them all in line.
9–10pm, Thursday 9 May 2019 at the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival.

New Zealand Poetry Yearbook 2019

I’m happy to have – for the first time – a poem printed in the New Zealand Poetry Yearbook. The 2019 edition is out now from Massey University Press. It’s a beautifully designed and produced volume featuring a diverse range of contributions selected by editor Jack Ross. It also includes reviews. The feature poet is Stephanie Christie.


Very happy to be included in this Reykjavík City of Literature project. A real buzz.

The text exhibition Read the World at the Reykjavík City Hall honours Iceland‘s centenary as a sovereign nation. The texts are chosen by nineteen UNESCO Cities of Literature around the world, one text from each city, representing an author from or with connections to the city. 


A chance encounter

Spanish train

I entered the Given Words competition again this year, and although not placed, the organizers are kind enough to publish the entries anyway. Here is my effort, which fits the Spanish–New Zealand connection of this unique event.

A chance encounter

In 1983 I stood on a platform in Spain,

where trains are late or early.

The dust was full of summer and the plenitude of life.

There were shiny green leaves, and snow–white buildings,

and I was ten, nested in a bubble of family

without feeling lost amongst the difference.

With my pencil I churned out technical drawings

of Spanish trains: blue curvaceous TERs,

and TALGOs, silver-sleek with crimson trim.

That afternoon, a wine-soaked English voice

rang from the window of a departing carriage:

God bless all you mad Kiwi bastards!

Standing next to us at this decrepit junction

was the mad Kiwi bastard in question,

a seedy character with a five day beard,

sunburned and heavy jawed, who talked

with the candour of someone far from home,

cast into the company of his own kind.

I recognized his marginal quality.

There was something about a marriage.

My mother said later, he was running away.

Poetry competition entry 2018: School Day

Tararua District Library (NZ) : Te Whare Pukapuka o Tararua

School Day

The clang of the bell, an antique gong

ringing amongst standards and apps,

casts doors open with clamour and rush.

Mothers, and fathers, pat and hug,

shy pride disguised in bluff greeting.

Kids silly with giggles, others pensive,

fill the fields with contest for a ball,

dextrous lemurs swarming jungle gyms.

Clouds dissolve to the north,

heat flows from an unmasked sun

in a pledge of nascent summer.

The weekend awaits, but for a short interlude

the streets babble rich with voices,

as denizens trundle homewards,

keen to loosen straps and laces,

to snack, loaf, inhabit the back section.

© Victor Billot

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Alternative titles for an imaginary airport bookstore

A new poem published in Takahe 92 and available online

How to read your future doom in cloud tops
Curdle it: Culinary delights of the Sahel Goat Keepers
99 ways to expand your intestines
Mike Irwin: a life of ineffable normality
Pond scum at heart: how our biological origins as primitive algae gets in the way of loving relationships
The Void
Climb: use pointless bureaucratic junkets to secure your place in the economic food chain
Rich wankers posing on third world mountainsides
Depression: how it defeated me
Light ‘n’ peppy
Light ‘n’ peppy 2,3 and 4
Mike Irwin: the ordinary years
You must be joking: ecological tips for frequent flyers about to release another tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
Mild Disapproval: the modern liberal’s guide to polite concern
An illustrated compendium of celebrity urinals
Great Plane Disasters
The internet: my late night search for the meaning of life with Google
Authentic insincerity
The Screaming Toddler: the shocking truth of how your parenting skills and inadequate birthday presents are ruining the next generation
Stranger on the shore: the annotated lyrics of Acker Bilk
Mike Irwin: the next long decade
Dull walls colouring book for adults
My stinking great pile of loot: life lessons from a toad like CEO
Home crafts for the next bubonic pandemic
How to scrape toast
Three jobs and a pot of instant noodles: magic methods to save a home deposit in 20 years!
The inner potato
The Dummies Guide to Colonic Irrigation
New Zealand’s top dishwashing anecdotes
Bare my soul, the three word love poems of Baletcka Moparovia
My lone battle against Daylight Saving
Paperclip Ninja
Oinked: love and life on an industrial pig farm
Transgender marsupials of history
Watching paint dry: the wisdom of Mike Irwin
Technobutt: the astonishing future of AI toilets

The Plastific Ocean

The Plastific Ocean made it over the line for third prize in the Seaweek / World Oceans Day Poetry Competition 2018, organized by the National Aquarium in Napier.

The Plastific Ocean

News item: When researchers travelled to tiny, uninhabited Henderson Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, they were astonished to find an estimated 38 million pieces of trash washed up on the beaches

38 million floating clumps washed up from the deep
from plastigomerate that drifts in ocean going fleets.
Polyflotsam decorates the reef on Polynesian atolls
and polyjetsam floats in the blue between the melting poles.

A hermit crab is helmeted by a Pepsi cap,
and Robinson Crusoe is sealed up in bubblewrap.
A ghost net traps a turtle swimming in microdebris soup,
as anoxic toxic brine curdles in the North Pacific loop.

Gruesome anglerfish cower amongst the sinking trash,
plastic rings for seabirds are a deadly strangling sash.
There are balls and bags and tangled tesseracts of sellotape,
while in the roaring forties shoals of biros round the Cape.

If one evening you beachcomb on the littered shore,
do not hold a shell to your ear to listen to the waves dull roar.
Hear instead the whisper from a polystyrene coffee cup:
get your act together, because time is nearly up.

Joint exhibition to celebrate ‘Landfall’

Landfall’s position as New Zealand’s pre-eminent literary and art journal is being celebrated in a unique way by the Otago Arts Society.


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