laureates, locals and out of town poets in Hawkes Bay

posted by Michele

Drums are beating, email is running hot and phonecalls are criss-crossing the land as the folk at the National Library coordinate the first Laureate event for 2008 in Hawkes Bay. NatLib, Te Mata Estate Wines, Matahiwi Marae, Scott Design, Creative Hastings and the Hawkes Bay Opera House are all working towards Saturday 23 February when the new matua tokotoko (carved speaking stick) will be presented at Matahiwi Marae in a ceremony that will also honour the achievements of Hone Tuwhare. Laureate Elizabeth Smither will be there, as will a host of readers and speakers with words, stories and songs for Hone. This is Poetry at the Pa, Matahiwi-style, 10 am to 2 pm.

In the evening the focus shifts to the Opera House in Hastings for I Say Te Mata: Poets at the Assembly Room. Keith Thorsen and I will co-host, starting at 8 pm with a glass of Te Mata and processing through the line-up of poets in town for the event. Some young Hawkes Bay talent should give laureates and others a taste of the poetic future and we’re expecting to have a very good time indeed. Anyone left standing will be directed to Dancing on the Green, running till midnight at nearby Kohupatiki Marae.

So we’re fine-tuning our offerings and packing toothbrushes and sleeping bags here in Auckland in anticipation of the Great Poetic Hikoi to the Bay. Some are flying, others driving; but we’ll all be there as the action gets underway. Look, isn’t that the National Library bus pulling in from Wellington with a bunch of poetry-loving librarians hanging out the windows?

Remembering Hone Tuwhare

posted by Michele
Tributes, thoughts and memories of Hone Tuwhare are in the links and posts below. I will be adding more links and posts to this post as I receive them.

Brian Poitiki

posted by Michele

i can feel you making holes in the silence, rain
i can feel you making holes in my brain, hone
in my brain
hemi & ani are gone -
jean, harry & ron -
but i won't wait until you're gone to say
you're my old man, hone
you're my old man

(brian potiki, written 1980)

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

posted by Michele
Universal Hone

Well fuck it man
that’s the bucket well and truly
kicked (I was a lonely pisshead
on the rebound from Oz in the year
of 1970 I think it was when I bought
a copy of Come Rain Hail from
Peter Hooper that great West Coast
intellectual in his Albert Street Greymouth
shrine to Thoreau, Walden Books)! O

yes: you are the universal Hone
and you really are to blame
my kupu came from far away
no more

they came from here and there
Kaikohe, Karl Marx, old fishguts
Shakespeare and the Friday Flash, from
rhythms in your soul they flared
those karakia soused in jazz. Tekoteko
totem man, you handed me my tongue
and said ‘Let’s sing! Let’s put this hoha
country back in tune!’ My ticker thumps

to think of yours all done. Go have a feed
of mussels, man – you won. You won
the biggest raffle ever run: the Universal Hone.

16 January 2008
First published in the Press (Christchurch)

Jeffrey writes:
The day he died I found myself singing at the clothesline, ‘He's the Universal Hone and he really is to blame, my kupu come from far away no more...’ to the tune of Donovan's most-likely forgotten 60s ballad, ‘The Universal Soldier.’ What a brain.

That got me going – I'd been thinking how with Hone, a universe had just disappeared, the same thought I had when my mother died in 2005. The rest, the kick-off, was just me swearing my way into the house of death, I guess.

The reference, ‘my ticker thumps’ is from his poem to Baxter – ‘no more thump in the old ticker,’ which I quoted to Roger Steele on the day Mum died, when I rang to cancel a dinner in the Green Parrot.

I now have the dubious reputation as being the first person to get the word ‘fuck’ into the Press, and on the Obituary page at that. Hone would laugh at this distinction, I reckon. But as you will intuit, it's a splash of condensed emotion, not an attempt at obscenity – I knew kicking the bucket would follow right on.

Penny Somervaille

posted by Michele
Letter to a Dead Poet

Kia Ora Hone,

Do you remember the night we met?
In Grey Lynn? At Jan’s house in Cooper St?
You said to me that there was no point me keeping my poems in a box under the bed.
You come back here tomorrow, you said,
you bring your poems with you,
and you read them to me.

No-one disobeyed an order like that from you, Hone.

I brought my poems the next night, even though I wasn’t invited,
and I did read them to you.
You listened, you really listened, and
you said, read them again,
and you said, send them off to so-and-so, tell them I told you to,
tell them I said they must publish them.

Well, I didn’t do that, didn’t have that much courage.
But, Hone, you know, you started something for me,
it’s because of you that I’m doing all those papers at Uni,
it’s all your fault that I stand up and read places,
meet so many people I love.

For a few months I saw you around,
drove you down from Shirley’s place at Pakiri once,
discovered for myself the warmth and charm that drew us to you, made us laugh.
Made me feel I was more than I thought I could be.
Two or three years later,
after you moved to Kaka Pt,
I saw you again,
you didn’t remember me,
I will always remember you,
you are like the rain
I can feel you in the air.

Farewell Hone, Arohanui, Penny