HOOPLA Series – 2018
HOOPLA aims to entice people to buy and read poetry books through the quality of its poets, the attraction of a series with three books launching at once, vibrant design and the accessibility of a clear narrative or theme. We like strong work that steps onto the tightrope without hesitation and gives the performance of its life.
It’s no accident the word hoopla has connotations of commotion, extravagance and play about it. HOOPLA books are published every April in sets of three. A new poet joins a mid-career and a late-career poet. Mākaro publisher Mary McCallum is HOOPLA founder and editor.
This Thin Now by Jo Thorpe
Her Limitless Her by Reihana Robinson
Over There a Mountain by Elizabeth Welsh
Series ISBN 978-0-9951110-1-1
This Thin Now
This Thin Now tells the story of a love lost and of the places the poet finds it still – from inside the space two hands make to the numinous blue of sea and sky. These are poems of dazzle and quiet that give the reader a rare gift.
Her Limitless Her
The bounty of women, how far they’ll go, how far they can stretch – to love, to encompass, to bear. Find them here: bosom-packed, dreamy, dragging their offspring, twinsets askew, peeling, darning, preening. In Her Limitless Her Reihana Robinson has created a beguiling space for her to stretch on the page, and for joy to dance and grief to spin.
Over There a Mountain
It’s hard to know how to be with a mother who is a mountain. It’s hard to feel how to be with a father who is a mountain. It’s hard to explain that luminous bond and the bewilderingly stretched distance. Anxious, the mountain-daughter holds what is bright to hold and takes without asking what is bright to the eye, tries to stave off becoming a mountain herself, while finding out what it is that makes her human. Over There a Mountain is an incandescent first collection.
NZD $25 each
Dylan Junkie by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Family History by Johanna Emeney
Wolf by Elizabeth Morton
Series ISBN 978-0-9941378-3-8
From the moment in mid-1965 when the urgent, cheeky, street smart rap of ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ burst out of the family radio, Bob Dylan’s voice has been embedded in the soundtrack of Jeffrey Paparoa Holman’s life.
Through thick and thin, elation and desolation, he has followed the American Shakespeare/Jewish minstrel as far as Dylan’s old Iron Range home, a thousand-mile pilgrimage from Iowa City to Hibbing, Minnesota. The poems of Dylan Junkie grasp at the Robert Zimmerman that changed us, enraged us, blessed and mystified us right until the moment when was awarded, and grudgingly accepted, the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016.
A collection that growls with a familiar voice while singing with its own.
A family’s history turns on its head when a mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Beyond the shock of discovering the disease, there are questions raised about genetics – all the more difficult when the mother’s an adoptee. Johanna Emeney’s rural family are also quickly overwhelmed by the city-based clinical world they find themselves in and the way it depersonalises the central figure in their lives.
In her second collection, Johanna brings her family history to the page – in all its uniqueness and ordinariness – and challenges the medical approach that can forget the person inside the patient.
Wolf is the critter of humanity. The one who has known loneliness and love and yet is still alone. An exile. An outlaw. And the noise in Wolf’s head is not somebody he recognises.
In her first collection of poetry, Elizabeth Morton writes of what it is to be on humanity’s outer rim writing the noise in her head. She writes as Wolf: barking consonants, mouthing a rubbish bag, in love; and is lupine in her everyday life too, running away under the broken yolk of moon, burying bones (her own).
On the rim of things Elizabeth writes with disturbing clarity of a renewed world where a matador weeps in the bullring and blackberries burst like bloodclots. These are poems that crawl into your lap and howl.
About the poets
Brought up on naval bases and in West Coast mining towns, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman has worked as a sheep shearer, postman, psychiatric social worker and bookseller. He is now a senior adjunct fellow at the University of Canterbury and works there as a lifelong learning co-ordinator. Jeffrey has published non-fiction and six collections of poetry, with As Big as a Father long-listed for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. The title poem won the 1997 Whitireia Prize and was selected for Essential New Zealand Poems.
Johanna Emeney lives with her husband, David, their many cats and a couple
of goats on Auckland’s North Shore. She works as a tutor at Massey University
and as co-facilitator of the Michael King Young Writers Programme. Her poems
have been commended and placed third in the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine,
and shortlisted for the International Montreal Poetry Prize.
Elizabeth Morton has been telling tales ever since she learned to talk. Growing up in the suburbs, she had superpowers, invisible sidekicks, and alligators in the yard. Published widely in New Zealand journals and online, she is included in The Best Small Fictions 2016, and came second, twice, in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story competition. Elizabeth also won the New Voices, Emerging Poets competition in 2013, and was highly commended in the Kathleen Grattan Award. She likes to write about broken things and things with teeth.
NZD $25 each
Withstanding by Helen Jacobs
Udon by The Remarkables by Harvey Molloy
Where the fish grow by Ish Doney
Series ISBN 978-0-9941237-2-5
Once Helen Jacobs delighted in walking the hills, but now she can only get as far as the local shops, and the nature she loves is pressed into the tiny garden she tends.
It is here that she ponders the paradox of old age – a time of terrible losses and unexpected joys, and then finds herself moving one last time to a room with a view of the hills she loves.
Helen’s poems reverberate with the sound of feet – walking the slopes of great hills, skipping through leaves and dancing for the love of it. True to form, she ends with one foot stepping off again into the unknown.
A powerful final collection from a much-loved Canterbury poet.
Udon by The Remarkables
Harvey Molloy lives in many worlds – the place he was born, the place he lives now, the lives of the Anglo-Saxons whose work he translates and the jewelled world of his wife’s Indian family. And then there are the other worlds that claim him – the beleagured planet he calls home, and the ones beyond Earth’s boundaries.
Udon by The Remarkables is a collection that moves fluidly from the Lancashire moors of Harvey’s childhood to the eco-politics of New Zealand, questioning everything it meets. A challenging second collection from a poet who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
Where the fish grow
Leaving the country you grew up in is both heart-wrenching and liberating. Ish writes of her move from New Zealand to Scotland, to find that tea leaves in a pot still make a cup of tea, but one that’s somehow different. Then she winds back to other more painful leave-takings that a pot of tea has no answer for.
And Ish finds as she writes that what she misses most in her new life is the salty and reassuring place where fish grow.
An accomplished first collection from a young poet that speaks directly and with great beauty of the stuff of the heart.
About the poets
Helen Jacobs is the pen name of Elaine Jakobsson who has published her poetry in journals and anthologies in New Zealand and elsewhere for 35 years. A member of the Canterbury Poets Collective since arriving in Christchurch from Wellington in 1995, Helen has published three collections under their Sudden Valley Press imprint. Once the mayor of Eastbourne, she has always been a keen environmentalist, bush walker and gardener, but at the age of 87 she has finally given those activities away. Her writing is winding down too, Helen says, and has become largely about talking to herself.
Harvey Molloy is a poet and teacher living in Wellington. Born in Lancashire, England he moved to New Zealand as a teenager. He has also lived in the United States and Singapore where he worked as a university lecturer. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in many New Zealand and international journals and is he a previous winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition.
They called her Ishmaêl, and when Ish Doney was little, children called her Ish-the-male and the children’s parents quoted Moby-Dick. Ish’s mum had wanted to name her daughter after an album she liked called …ish. Ish doesn’t like the album. Her biological father protested on the grounds that ‘…ish’ was not a proper name. Together they found the name Ismail and tried to feminise the spelling. They apologise, saying all they had was the Encyclopaedia Britannica and a baby name book. After completing a design degree in Wellington, Ish has been living in Scotland and now plans to move elsewhere. This is her first book.
Mr Clean & The Junkie by Jennifer Compton
Native bird by Bryan Walpert
Bones in the Octagon by Carolyn McCurdie
Series ISBN 978-0-9941172-4-3
Bones in the Octagon
Carolyn McCurdie hails from the deep south and her poems are made at the hem of a mother’s checked tablecloth, the rim of a rain-starved garden and the edges of a southern landscape where the elements collide with myth. She pulls on her boots to go out into the world and write of it – and her observation of what she finds there combines with a feeling that in places of heat and light where people gather, there is magic. Compassionate and subversive, the poems within speak of a wild world where rules are made to be broken and spiderwebs are made to be kept, and women with foreheads ‘like untidy knitting’ dance with holy exuberance. A long-awaited first collection.
In his third poetry collection, Bryan Walpert – who arrived here from the United States a decade ago – writes of what it’s been like to be an observer or ‘birdwatcher’ in a land whose physical and cultural geographies he is still learning to name. With precision and insight, Bryan weaves meditations on the life and songs of birds into his observations on living as a new settler in wind-charged Manawatū. Working at the shifting borders between homes and hearts, prose and poetry, call and song, this is an arresting collection that speaks to us all.
Mr Clean & The Junkie
A 70s love story which begins at a Sydney casino and ends in a remote river valley in northern New Zealand. An Elvis Costello lookalike and the son of a local crime boss, Jon is weighed down with the burden of his filial responsibilities. But on his way to the casino to launder a briefcase of his father’s cash, he catches sight of the dark beauty of gambling junkie, Justine. With her on his arm, pursued by his father’s hitmen and a relentless 70s soundtrack, Jon finds the strength to fight back at last against a life that’s lost its shine. But it’s not just up to him – somewhere there’s a director with a camera rolling, and then the poet herself steps in as a sceptical narrator with a vested interest in the star-cross’d lovers. A startling and original work from a poet who’s won awards both sides of the Tasman.
About the poets
Jennifer Compton is a poet, playwright and fiction writer who was brought up in Wellington, emigrated to Australia in the 1970s and lives now in Melbourne with her husband. Jennifer has published poetry in both countries, winning Australia’s Newcastle and Robert Harris poetry prizes, and New Zealand’s Kathleen Grattan (poetry) and Katherine Mansfield awards (short fiction). She has also been awarded international writer residencies in Italy and New Zealand. Kathleen Grattan judge, Vincent O’Sullivan says Jennifer’s collection This City ‘sustains a questing, warmly sceptical mind’s engagement with wherever it is, whatever it takes in, and carries the constant drive to say it right’.
Bryan Walpert’s poetry and short fiction have been published internationally, including in New Zealand, Australia and his native United States. He’s won the James Wright Poetry Award from the Mid-AmericanReview and first prize in the NZ Poetry Society International Competition, as well as being shortlisted for key North American awards including the Montreal Poetry Prize. Bryan lives with his family in the Manawatū, and teaches creative writing at Massey University.
Carolyn McCurdie is a Dunedin writer who has worked as a teacher and librarian. Winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition and the Lilian Ida Smith Award, she is a long-time contributor to New Zealand’s leading poetry journals, and has published an ebook of short stories and a children’s fantasy novel. Carolyn is a member of the Octagon Poets Collective and helps to organise live poetry events in Dunedin. ‘Right there in a place where words so frequently stop, Carolyn’s lines are memorable.’ Paula Green
NZD $25 each
Cinema by Helen Rickerby
Heart absolutely I can by Michael Harlow
Bird murder by Stefanie Lash
About the poets
Helen Rickerby is a poet, editor and publisher who lives in Wellington. She has published 2.5 collections of poetry with the chapbook Heading North (Kilmog 2010) her most recent. She is co-managing editor of JAAM and runs boutique poetry publisher Seraph Press. The poems in Cinema look at the personal through the lens of a camera and the world of cinema through the unfiltered eye. Meet the boy who learns to kiss from action movies, the girl made up of symbols and the director with the aesthetic of a sniper on the roof.
Michael Harlow is a poet, publisher and librettist who lives in Alexandra. Born in the USA with Greek and Ukrainian heritage, he settled in New Zealand in 1968. Michael has published seven collections of poetry including Giotto’s Elephant and The Tram Conductor’s Blue Cap, both finalists in the NZ Book Awards, and has been awarded a number of writer residencies. Five fresh poems and a number from Michael’s past collections form his book on the hoopla of love—a theme long a part of this poet’s fascination with the mysteries of human nature, and his job in finding the language and music to express it. Like the title poem, Michael Harlow bids ‘the music of the heart to sing us alive’.
Stefanie Lash is a poet and archivist who lives in Wellington. Her poems have appeared in journals including Sport, Takahē and Turbine. An albino huia, a stranger in the attic and a pink-haired woman … Bird Murder is a gothic murder mystery narrating the demise of a ruined banker, set in the not-quite-fictional town of Tusk.
“Walpert has a natural narrative voice that works through lovingly observed overlapping images, gently pulling the reader into a shared, spiritually rewarding journey. One could not ask for more of poetry.” — Roald Hoffmann, Nobel-winning chemist and poet.
“In an age of widespread, self-conscious poetic experimentation (including the often deliberate mangling of syntax) Mr Clean & The Junkie is that rare thing, a highly successful poetic experiment.“ — Geoff Page, Sydney Morning Herald.
Read the full review.
“This is poetry that doesn’t take itself too seriously. But it is seriously good poetry. If you’re looking for discrete poems, this is not your book. There is a story here that demands the reader works through the book from beginning to end. But Compton knows how to captivate a reader and take them along for the yarn.” — Elizabeth Morton, NZ National Poetry Day Blog.
Read the full review.
“ … a narrative poem that is part thriller, part whodunit, part crime writing. Then again it is part feminist critique and part postmodern explosion.” — Paula Green, NZ Poetry Shelf.
Read the full review.
“Carolyn McCurdie brings magic to every moment, no matter how everyday. Bones in the Octagon is full of poems that are simple and sweet.” — Emma Shi, NZ Booksellers Blog.
Read the full review.
“From sparky new publisher Mākaro Press come … beautifully produced poetry collections.” — Tim Upperton, NZ Listener
“It seems that with the appropriate language, even instructions on bird watching can become beautiful and poetic pieces in their own right.” — Emma Shi, NZ Booksellers Blog.
Read the full review.