You’re in for an intimate evening of poetry readings and conversations about poetry at the beloved Featherston Bowling Club, affectionally dubbed the “Bowler”. It’s down a dark driveway on Fox Street, not far from Messines Bookshop: Military History, and beside J&R Automotive, in the northern, ‘bookend’ of town.
We have a line-up of three fine male poets for you who will wax lyrical about poetry, music, and the Poet’s Life and who will read from their latest poetry books: Sam Duckor-Jones, Simon Sweetman, and Richard Langston. Simon’s and Richard’s latest books are brand-spanking-new having just been launched this month and will be heard in the Wairarapa for the first time at Featherston Booktown.
From a long drop that demands binoculars to Caberfeidh in the Catlins where his father picked plums from the passing train, Richard Langston writes poems that return over and over to the land. Born to a Lebanese immigrant family in Dunedin, and a Country Calendar director by trade, he is constantly refreshing his acquaintance with the country he calls home. Somehow writing it down seals the deal.
‘We make marks in ink,’ he says. ‘We are here.’
Poetry is incantation too, and Richard uses it to call family from the shadows and sing ancestors into being, a tentative offering to the country of his bones and of his heart.
Richard’s book is called “Five O’clock Shadows” and will be available, like Simon’s and Sam’s book, to purchase and have signed at this event.
Simon Sweetman – blogger, reviewer, podcaster, and author of On Song: Stories Behind New Zealand’s Pop Classics – releases his first poetry collection, “The Death of Music Journalism.” Simon’s been writing poems since he was first listening to bands on his Walkman, but then he started sharing them via social media and open mic nights. Word got around and he was a sleeper hit at LitCrawl’s Lit-Sync For Your Life and the 2020 Variety for Fierys.
Marking a pivot from the razor-sharp and sometimes controversial music writing he is best known for; Simon’s collection is as wide-ranging as his career to date. He writes about late-night encounters on the phone with rock stars, hanging out as a student in Wellington flats, the simplicity of time spent with family and the unpredictable life of a freelance music reviewer, and what happens when these things occasionally intersect. A natural storyteller whose poetry is filled with characters both famous and ordinary, this eagerly awaited collection is unpredictable, anarchic, playful, and surprisingly heartfelt.
Sam Duckor-Jones is a sculptor and poet who used to live in Featherston and now lives in Wellington. He won the Biggs Poetry Prize from Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. People from the Pit Stand Up is his first book.
This is the voice of someone who is both at home and not at home in the world. Sam Duckor-Jones’s wonderfully fresh, funny, disheveled poems are alive with art-making and fuelled by a hunger for intimacy. Giant clay men lurk in salons, the lawns of poets overgrow, petrolheads hoon along the beach, birds cry ‘wow-okay, wow-okay, wow-okay’.
‘Gorgeous and contrary.’
They’ll be in conversation with journalist and host of RNZ’s Standing Room Only, Lynn Freeman.