Spring

Tomorrow is the start of spring in my part of the world. I would like to share two poems that herald the arrival of my favourite season. One is my own, and one is by the English poet Philip Larkin. Both hold sadness and hope in equal measure. Nothing is either this, or that. Even […]

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Want the Change

And I know I am solid and sound; To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow; All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means. -Walt Whitman Change is hard. It’s one of the things we struggle with the most, along with zipping up our jeans after a night […]

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The End

I am thinking today of endings and beginnings, and how we often think we are not ready for either. We are. In the words of A.A. Milne: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”   The End The end comes gently, on tiny […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part Four

In Crossmaglen the fire burns true The patriotic flame will never die And when you hear the battle cry It will be the fighting men of Crossmaglen. -“The Fighting Men of Crossmaglen”, IRA ballad, 1970s Armagh and Crossmaglen After a wildly comfortable night in a country B & B just outside Armagh (I had it […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part One

Born in this island, maimed by history and creed-infected, by my father taught the stubborn habit of unfettered thought I dreamed, like him, all people should be free. -John Hewitt, “The Dilemma” There was a surreal, joyful melancholy to this homecoming. As we punched through the haze above a sweltering London and soared left, easing to […]

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Before You

Once upon a time (actually, ten years ago today) I screamed and swore my way through 24 hours of excruciating labour before a disturbingly cheerful surgeon sliced open my stomach at 3am and pulled out a tiny wailing creature who would prevent me from sleeping/weeing on my own/having any peace/existing as an autonomous adult for […]

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A Writers Festival Field Guide

The 2016 Auckland Writers Festival kicked off in earnest today, so I thought I’d dust off this Festival-Goer Field Guide (posted a few years ago) and re-publish it. It still holds true. I’ve made just one addition: Number Three. This is because I encountered approximately a zillion of them this afternoon as I queued for AN HOUR to […]

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Ten tips to beat writer’s block

This is an extension of my last post (Writing tips: come and get ’em). It repeats some of the tips, but I’ve added five more, and some other new stuff. Keep reading. “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – […]

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A trio of poems

In honour of World Poetry Day (which was actually yesterday), I thought I would re-publish three of my own poems – poems that are dear to me in very different ways. The first I wrote for my daughter, the most precious thing in my life. It tries to capture those moments in the wee small hours […]

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Love After Love

This poem has always meant a great deal to me. Everyone will have their own interpretation, but for me it speaks of false self and real self; relinquishing the former and finally, joyfully, discovering the latter. Its author, Derek Walcott, was born in Saint Lucia in the West Indies in 1930. He won the Nobel Prize in […]

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