Welcome to Turbine 2008
This issue of Turbine is a result of the diverse forces converging in the New Zealand writing world. It is an amalgamation of different perspectives, all in some way influenced by the country itself, or a reflection on having left it. The writing, as ever, is a process of mapping an understanding, which might negotiate or traverse these two viewpoints.
Many local writers delve into our surroundings, from Tina Makereti’s re-imagining of Maori mythology to Kelly Joseph’s recollection of ‘80s video game culture, Pip Adam’s surreal take on family dynamics in ‘Dairyland’ and Hinemoana Baker’s poem inspired by the New Zealand’s Got Talent internet message boards.
Other writers direct our view outwards, with different levels of immersion into the landscapes of Palestine, France, the Camino Trail, Coney Island, Fukuoka and the Himalayas. Rachel Bush takes a unique leap, awarding herself the Menton fellowship, travelling to one of our most treasured literary landmarks.
Australian poet Geoff Page and American poet and Wallace Stevens Award recipient, Michael Palmer both paid a visit to New Zealand this year. Geoff appeared as part of the IIML Writers on Mondays programme and Michael gave a Masterclass seminar to IIML students and a public reading. They each reflect on their time in the country in their poems ‘Long White Cloud’ and ‘Transit’.
Graduates from the 2008 IIML MA programme also present new works produced this year, including work by Lynn Jenner, winner of this year’s Adam Prize in Creative Writing. Many students contributed extracts from their reading journals kept as a part of the course, which in many instances help illuminate their individual discoveries, and the impact these had in their own work. Past graduates also feature, with many, including Michele Amas, Airini Beautrais and Mary McCallum, at work on future publications.
We were unaware when selecting their work that both Manon Revuelta and Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle were in their final year of high school – however, both have already placed and been included in several competitions and anthologies, including Manon’s win in the New Zealand Post National Schools Poetry Awards this year. These awards, and the accompanying National Schools Writing Festival, are two of many recent New Zealand literary initiatives established to recognise and foster the talent of emerging young writers. The work from these two poets is evidence of the programmes’ success.
These writers sit alongside many established and distinctive New Zealand voices. James Brown, Bernadette Hall, and Elizabeth Smither return, while we are pleased to welcome Geoff Cochrane to Turbine’s pages. Geoff is also one of the writers who contributed an audio recording of their work for this year’s issue, marking his online audio debut. David Geary provides insight on his year as 2008 Victoria Writer in Residence in an interview that ranges from Melody Rules to Mark Twain, concluding with his poem springing from Janet Frame’s Landfall desk, which is housed in the IIML foyer.
Diana Wilson and Lucas Bernhardt, graduates of the Iowa MFA Workshop, will be teaching at the IIML this summer. Their contributions shone from the pile, and we look forward to exciting work emerging from their classes in the coming months.
Turbine results from the work of many hands, most obviously the talents of the writers you see here, as well as the numerous contributions we did not have the space to include. Thanks are due to the staff at the NZ Electronic Text Centre, in particular Jason Darwin, Jamie Norrish, and Edmund King, for their technical direction in the production of Turbine. This issue would not have been possible were it not for the generous assistance of Katie Hardwick-Smith and Clare Moleta at the IIML office. Chris Price was an invaluable support from the first round of submissions through to the final production.
We hope that the new writing showcased in these pages gives rise to fresh creative processes over the summer months.
Francis Cooke and Louise Wallace