Back from the launch of Before the Sirocco in Wellington. It was a good night – heaps of people turned up, and included a large junior contingent from Christchurch. (Well done everyone!) Met lots of people who’s names and poems I’ve been familiar with for the last few years, and generally had a ball. Despite being nervous as hell and doped up to the eyeballs on antihistamines (argh) – my apologies for the sub-par conversation. (But it really was lovely to meet you all!)
One thing that struck me was how well some of the poems responded to being read out loud. I think we forget that poetry began as an aural artform, and tend to over-focus on the page. Obviously there are poems who’s point is lost when read out (homophones for example don’t usually come through except in print), but a gratifyingly large number of the Sirocco poems really came to life when given voice. The nicest thing was hearing the collective sighs and murmurs of appreciation from people around me, especially when they were responding to the poems that I’d selected. There’s always the lurking fear that you’ve made bad decisions. I know there will be poems that people think don’t deserve to be in there. So I’ll keep the memory of those murmured “hmmm, yes!”es as a balm for any future wounds.
Saturday was also Election Day here in NZ. I don’t know if it was that, or the odd weather we’ve been having, or the news that there were poets converging on the city, but Wellington seemed virtually deserted! Never mind, all the more room for me in Wellington’s fine bookshops. (Unity Books and Arty Bees are two that I would particularly recommend to fellow bibliophiles.)