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Samesame But Different: Te Whanganui-a-Tara edition

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[00:00:01] Hello and welcome everyone. I'm just gonna start with a cup of Kia if I could get to how continue to fuck attacker to hokey to Tonga Caremark unit Kana, cuter chiamata Tata Tata Ki Tae Hee Akiyama here at a cooler is he who hookah who tea Hey Modi order. Thank you so much National Library and Alexander Turnbull Library and creative New Zealand, and all of our regular sponsors for allowing us to be here as a part of the same same but different event. I think this is the last event of the official 2022 Festival, which has stretched itself and spread its little queer limbs everywhere throughout the country throughout the months. Also shout out to Garrett's project for beer for making me not read this in order. This session is part of the wider same thing but different programme. And we're really grateful to the volunteer board who put so much time energy and passion into creating platforms that celebrate that elevate and celebrate our wonderful rainbow writers. Because COVID danitz, COVID, Sr, cos, February and March, a lot of our programme had to pivot online and be rescheduled. And we're really, really grateful for the work of both our board and the Festival Coordinator, Tate who has been managing these rescheduled events, it's really hard to put on one festival. But it's really hard. It's even harder to pick up the pieces and reshape things when something intervenes. So we're really, really grateful to you, Tate, who I can't see the for doing that, and being so gracious and generous with your time. And all the while also releasing a new book, which you can check out short films and published by way our babies. Speaking of COVID, we chose this panel because all of these wonderful writers sitting here today have released the book over the last few weeks, few years or weeks. And releasing a work is a really vulnerable and thrilling experience and having to navigate through that with all of the things that are happening in our world is really hard. So we wanted to make sure that these incredible writers in the works feel and get lost in the pace of pandemics and whatnot. So I'm going to hand over now to our wonderful chair. Emily writes who has also just released a new book meets adult supervision. Wisdom just was it like two weeks ago three weeks ago. So I leave it to you to carry us forward. [00:02:41] CHIARA Tina Coto colour Hui Hui, my name is Emma here and I Kena Manaphy Noah equal. Emily Toccoa in North Carolina, okie to Santa Ana Maria Tada called Tina a Taku. Me Mahi kina Tonga Tofino out or Tito hunay Kim Mahi Mahi kukio kina tow who arted or he may need a no data Tina Koto Catahoula Kilda I'm Emily writes, I'm a queer mom of tau living in this beautiful city. I'm an author and writer but I'm so excited in very very privileged to be here for this same same but different tea familiar Tada edition. On the stage, we have the most incredible queer poets in visionaries. I just feel so lucky to be here in you should all feel very lucky to to be able to see them. So I know that you will know many of them very well, but I'm still going to introduce every one of them to you. I'm going to start by inviting each of our beautiful poets up to share a poem or piece of writing with you. We will have a toilet break, I reckon. I was thinking lots of people have asked me if we're going to have a break for 40 Parker and I was like, I'll ask the chair and then I realised I am the chair so I'm making that decision. So we will do that after our beautiful ratings you will have time to take a slash. So first start I am so excited to introduce to you Ruby solely. Ruby is the ticker Tapui writer from Carter who finally Ruby released Toku Papa last year which is an exploration of identity and survival and belonging and it is amazing. It's not just me saying it's amazing. One review of Taku Papa and the New Zealand poetry shelf said the words flow like a solo instrument with the poet as bow and breath. There is stillness and movement and there is always heart. You We'll find yourself in the scene in the scene will pulsate and be luminous with life. Isn't that amazing? What a good review welcome Roby. [00:05:20] I hit this grand idea of writing a poem with my partner every year on our anniversary, but I only ever did one thought that counts and that poems done quite well. So I could have done it every year. And if you're able to get something out of it, you know, this one's called six years and it was published in Columbia journal. And I don't often write about relationships I just never really have and there was a poem that I got published and redraft journal when I was a teenager, about the same person who I'm still within real, they are real. And and I remember giving them the book when I thought we were gonna break up forever. When I went to uni. I was like, why would you do this book? And we've got that book in our house now with my my silly little assigned it. So I don't know why I thought that would be funny and cool. And it's it's quite cringy. But it's quite cute. And it's about all the things we did in high school. And then this is one that came later called called six years and Julian whiteheads actually doing an arrangement of it, which is really incredible. And Dan's just like, oh, he has called the Julian's doing my poem. Yeah, I really like six years. You paint a picture of my mountain above our bed. I cry a river into the sheets. You walk out into the night and wring them out over our garden. Now everyone who eats its fruit will feel the body melt into rain that never stops breaking. Around here the clouds just kept opening wider. We are trapped here and back rooms and baths of warm Petrichor. It presses hands into our throats. When we were teenagers, we would go months without touching each other. I would lie on the roof and make your new constellations. I'd see all the stars and a long line with you waiting at the end. The stars are so close now. I see all 12 Heavens, in you are in every one you are the house the home and the hostess you are the fireside and the glowing, never flinching when I come home from the dark, pulling arrows from my chest only to be shot again, never crying when I pulled my bones out to carve them. And it said to me that a mountain looks different depending on where you stand. You bird like you soaring around me watching me through a prism of all the selves we have shed. We keep them as coats hung back in our closet. Your light beacons from the porch unlocking warmth and every house I've ever lived in. We know those past lights aren't real. But as the moths are shedding dust again. Let's say they were see the care heat gently within the bowl. The warm smell of bread rising in the filaments from the outside they see the sun and moon have this the duality spiralling downstream the bodies that span entire plains pressed into each other. What they don't see is me sitting gentle on the floor. You brushing my here, accepting that I will not cut it until I finished growing because of the way you touched me. I will be growing until my soul is too big for my body until it drips from my mouth [00:08:47] at home with very much just to quiz from Narita and it's not that romantic most of the time. Usually if I ever host all the other ones read bands to be honest. I probably do. Another one. This one's exciting in a way because I have a new book coming out next year in what month April hopefully APR and called the ASIST. And it's follows a whole bunch of quota who and Waitaha and catamaran Waiapu Darko and kind of the history of the South Island, and then kind of following a semi fictitious family as well. There's a lot of kind of masochism elements in it, looking at our different cave paintings and technologies. And this is a this is a scene between a character called Biddy mine who has poner mu eyes and identifies as they them in the text that's kind of never really stated, but we kind of know what's going on. And then there's also a character called Honey Ponemah has a woman made a phone number and Funko pops back to the phone number to her. So this is them coming together. It's called touching at this point in time did it is only a picture of what they've been taught to understand. Stone is sacred but still stationary with a timescale far longer than that of men, as humans with our fast movements with generations spilling forth like water for an underground spring, but now in these waters of potential, these are who do more way stone is alive, a pulsing thing that rises and falls, each breath building over a century of growing within the lungs. A time lapse of 1 million years plays out and various calloused hands as they touch the stone shape of a woman, her green moving against their earthly skin, as if they are the river where they found each other, the epicentre of themselves, the centre of the circle. When they touch something stirs within Diddy, something deep, and dark. And when that feeling fills them completely, they open their eyes and their Ponemah gasping to see the worlds of stone sheltered inside the bones of the descendants of this land, these ponemos spheres, these worlds that contain nothing but forest and ocean, nothing but see bits and forest floors on which they may lay. And then that moment light is flooded into the My know, not light for all but the stones is still just a black velvet, wrapped around the consciousness. But within that soft darkness she is centred, a silhouetted brilliance of green macoco wide chiselled by an even stronger stone, delicate hair strands stronger than steel wrap themselves around it his hands as it all slips away, and they are their curse child now growing, and the woman made of stone, learning how stone takes on the heat of what it is surrounded by, as dilemmas hands and body moves upon her. As she moves over the searching for heat, and the gentle pulsing of earthly blood safe within the body. The kidney of knowledge falling apart at the same unravelling to mocker. Ready for a new reality to be woven. This is my last one. It's a short one, hopefully. I've been spending a lot of time recently for my research journal place called Why Hall which is near near where it's near see more than and why multi as well. It's so in between, in fact, people are still between Cameroon timber. And this was a story I got told passed down. And we have an amazing beach there. And all of the stones are very flat but and circular. And one of our elders said that they used to be as big as dinner plates and the kind of scientists are working in climate change area. So that couldn't be true. And so they just went near with a digger and they just pretty much improved it. That was the case. And yeah, so thing down there recently, there's things like we can't drink our water. So it makes things things difficult. And we can't swim an hour. But this is about those little things we do and about those changes. It's called taka, serving southern or stone. Where I'm from we had rocks like dinner plates skipping stones for demigods standing in their puddles that became our lakes during the schist gentle across the water. New islands cracking through the sand, painful blossoms moving grey through the ear. Workman stones to shape your bones on to carve the bone to China new combs for new women flaking out as pieces of the hole flakes and pieces splinters of DNA scattering to Cuyahoga housing stones stacked up Earth clad and wreaking of havoc and home and here is where we string our hands together until we can pull them free to let folks emerge from our fibres. Shrinking stones now washing up for these demigods turn semi Demi these equals two birds but not two planets, size two mu two mu tapping terra firma and tinctures brewing from Kawakawa that grows now and the northern way even though the stars shine different here to my shining like New Year's Eve. It's disco ball dropping silently apart from that tumour to move, tap, tap, tap smaller people's now shaking inside the WHO errata the kids jump from the bushes wilting yelling out rah rah, I got you now. I'm a lion in the wrong place and you think about them, like wilting animals in a zoo caged out instead of and those small people fences unclonable before collapse. We wait for sand. But we are not a desert people anymore. The hiding from Egypt widely contested reporter contrasted or While we would come in normal, growing through Darko and our bellies swelling up and sweating out, yelling through mouths that gaping or at mountains we are too sore to climb after all of this scar damn growing, they snowglobe us frozen plastic down pouring over and over again tell us we have always lived on the sands we should be used to it by now but we say we had dinner plates made of stone prehistoric satellite searching for Intelligent Life below the cusp of water. And so we dig sweating the salt back to the shore, aching backs moving through sand and pebbles in stone down and down to the schist of it. piles and piles of schist rocks to press on your chest to help you drown yourself to save the the most ethical move. proof that this land is safe underneath, waiting waiting for us to unravel one grain of sand through the fingers at a time [00:16:02] that was critical you follow incredible Ruby there thank you for treating us with it. Next we have cadence Chang, who is when I was looking at doing the introduction for cadence I was so wildly impressed is your will be as well. Her debut collection and or Malea was released by were babies and was written in her final year of high school, which is beyond incredible. I mean, I was just passed through my whole last year of high school. It is brand new, it just came out in April. Cadence is a queer Asian student and poet studying classical voice at the New Zealand School of Music. Her musical original and blind faith at bits theatre was a huge success. And she performs and verbs lit crawl with mad heart Sappho is fragments and song. New Zealand poetry shelf reviewed and Amalia and seed cadence has probed into the tender flesh of being human with scalpel and penetrating lens inlaid the seeping wounds and insights into the clearing. That is poem. They really got it reviews the like you do not get reviews like that in the Hawke's Bay today. Welcome cadence. We're so happy to have you here. [00:17:36] I always hate doing stuff like this when all the other people are really witty, and I'm like, great. No, I have to be funny, but I have liked didn't find any jokes. So you're just gonna have to hear the poem. So cool. So this first poem is called abstract. It's the very first poem in the book. This scientific journal, with findings whole and mealy and your mouth is upheld to rigorous standards, open to the damp yellow of prying eyes. Not a single skin has been left untouched. Every flesh gets cold sooner or later. We hold ourselves to firm standards of ethics. We never cut them up until we've convinced them they want it. Our findings have been immense. They barely fit in the warm red wet of a mouth. Nonetheless, we present our abstract. This study in which the gossamer thread of life it's just another thing to snap, like a neck, like a neck under a boots like a piece of fishing wire to get caught up in the bulging, wet slip of a fish's mouth, and which are the poets of old with dirty liars because among anomalies, love is nothing but lust and chemicals or desire or selfishness, in which we can categorise humans into an useful or unwanted or abnormal, in which two girls sleeping together should be surgically separated, in which the great divider of humanity is nothing more than a scalpel, in which every good scientist performs a vivisection. And every bad scientist tries to understand what does not want to be understood, in which all humans bleed red. But some blood is dirtier than others. Some blood is diseased, in which the flowers not beautiful but sticking their bad policies out into the open air in which all these people want to do is fuck. They don't care about morals. They don't care about family values, no love, no dance, no Grove, no sound. These anomalies may be allowed to exist, but God help us from actually seeing them here. And these realms of facts and logic and reason. And after all, humans have always been this way. Always fearing the other tribe of cavemen. Always fearing things that are different. It's for our own good, really. It helps us evolve. It's old science. And after all, we've always been like this, haven't we? [00:20:04] I'm realising I've chosen really dark poems follow bays for establishing myself as like the emo queer poet, you know, I've got a lot of competition but start early. This next poem is called wanting that. Girl that man wants to vivisect you wants to dissect you wants to cut you up and look at your delicate heart. Maybe stick his fingers down it's valves to pull out the clot stock and sticky as molasses. Same as the sheep's heart you looked at in science class last week, girl he's asking you about the book. You're reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. He tells you it's rare to see a good woman like you these days. He looks his lips crusted with white in the corner. He takes a gulp of the reeking bear, he spilled all over the floor, and he interrogates you about what you've read. Keats, Wordsworth, Shelley, Milton, and then he asks you where you're from. And then he asks you where you're from, then tells you the best years of his life was spent in China. As you saying this, his friend spills bear on his genes, and he yells about people these days making such a bloody mess of everything kicking up such a fuss and you feel so scared, like, Oh, your blood has slipped down into your fingers to make the scalpel go and cleaner. Like your whole body is overcompensating being alive because it's not sure how much more can take. The man tells you that you're beautiful, and never mind that you're 15 if he was a young lad, he would be in trouble. HE CHUCKLES and you don't know how much more your poor pink sponge of a brain can take all this poking and prodding, or how much the knife can sink in without you starting to wince how much spleen he can rip out and how long you can still laugh about it. Girl you better look out for all these men who want to cut you up girl I'm sorry about all this blood between us. I'm sorry that this will happen to you while the flowers out the window flaunt their dicks out sticky with semen unseeing, wordless no response, no refuge find a happy poem in here. Okay, I've got one. When I was young, my mother would pull me away from the side of the footpath closest to the road, saying she'd rather get hit first. She called it selfish genes. That love was a greedy act, making sure your DNA replicates in the warm wash of blood. I imagine the cells dancing. I think of myself as greedy. I think of a heart that offends and demands more than it can have. Like the Luna moth that has no mouth, no stomach, no organs, just paper thin wings and the craving for life. A craving for selfish, selfish love. Like the fat Cook, who's sitting in a wordless nest crying for food from a mother who cannot provide for such a selfish child. I'll gorge myself on worms looking down my throat or to the crisp white roots of grass with the very tip of my teeth. I'll sink to the bottom of the ocean resurface as a smooth stone to be kept and treasured and a little girl's bedroom plucked and admired with patchy hands. I love you like you have something to keep something to admire on a shelf. Something DriFIT dripping with the Pacific because I am selfish and I won't deny it girl. I want to taste the sun even if I might fall want to be something you put away on your ramshackle shelf forget about to find again, et cetera et cetera et cetera [00:23:49] format to pay down that was all I could listen to the talk all night beautiful. Arthur her Appleton his followed up his incredible Davao poetry collection collection new transgender blockbusters with a book that is equally transcendence the surgeons brain published by T hidden worker University Press. The book is a not entirely non fictional account of Dr. James Berry, described by Oscar is a pistol toting jeweller in aerosol. These are some words that I can't even say okay, we'll skip it grudge holder. A vegetarian and obsessive cleaning Cleaner in a brilliant military surgeon who served throughout the British Empire travelled the world with a small menagerie of animals and advocated for public health reform. There was also a transgender man living in the Victorian era, when transgender was unknown and Western thought. The surgeons brain was reviewed as marvellous startling heart jolting reading. So very much looking forward to hearing from you Oscar and I'm sorry they chose a bogan for a chair who can't say big words, forgive me [00:25:11] I'm gonna be up here, I quite like having something to just like if things get rough thank you for the introduction, my editor actually wrote that and I've managed to avoid saying it out loud, because I also don't know how to say that. So just, you know, it's all good. I'm just gonna read three poems from this book, this book has a real narrative to it, a lot of things happen. And so it can be hard to read a part of it. But hopefully, I've chosen some poems that kind of fit together as a, as a little little bit of a story. I also just like to show the cover. I don't know if you can all see that cover. But I think that's actually the best thing about the book, which is a little bit embarrassing for me, but it's a really nice cover the this so this is the first part of the book that's called coming into the world. We are never closer. We will not be close again. This is old to you. You have birth my brother, and seeing babies born many times. For me, it is all new. space around my arms and legs is new. Cold is new and painful. Breathing in this way is new in the world is so bright, although I have none of these words yet to describe it. I remember none of what happened. This is the transcription of an imagined memory. Why do I do this? Well, I am played out on my way out. I feel it lying in the Spirit. It is like I'm dead already. The sun does not even reach the paint of my window and no one calls. My lungs are weary with too much breathing. And I have too much space between my chest in the ceiling above. Between my hand my cup. I know too much. I've seen in my long career. baby's hands clenched around umbilical cords. dead babies did cords. Live babies live cords? Dead Men, dead woman, live mean life woman. In the room where I'm being born, you start to bleed and your art not knowing what else to do. drags in another sack of sawdust. You're on the edge of delirium when I come into the world. And your aunt says you have a girl now Marianne. You don't have me now Marianne. I think of the line I have traced around the globe that led me from that room to this not so far distance, but I took the long way around the long way around. And now I will tell you of it. Skip forward approximately 16 years, codename a life needs rinsing out once in a while. I live in a river town now. A Scotch town and water runs through my house on April mornings. It isn't really my house but my real name I wrote in the book by the door. The landlady washed my hand. I think she thought me illiterate, small pleasure and proving her incorrect. My codename as a real name that anagrams to itself. Each letter denotes a number which denotes a house in my hometown. The landlady asks if I will need meals and I say I will. The landlady asked if I'll give her trouble, and I say I will not. My window looks across the street and to another window where a woman teaches people to dance. Some early evenings I see graceful backs and necks turning and practice. I put my head down and write the names of neck bones onto paper. To sketch the bones of the hand requires the use of a hand and to remember the names of the three membranes surrounding the brain requires functioning dura mater, arachnoid mater, pia mater, tough mother, spider mother, Tinder mother, three mother's bones in my hands, a stack of books beside my bed. The tenant across the hall from me does not leave his room, and a bad smell emanates from his door. I sniff trying to diagnose I observe my landlady's gait and track the progression of her rheumatism. I opened the front door, tough mother and then the door to the Sears spider mother. And then the door to my room. Tinder mother and In Sleep, sleep, my name dreams of writing itself over the tidy buildings of the town. What will I do with this life that I have and honestly parts stolen? Will they run through houses like an April flood? Will I keep my membrane cradled brain intact the names of bones stacked like books within it. And finally laying still, this is a 60 year jump. So a few things have happened. Am I Elia? Well, I've written things down and in doing so change them into different things. The biggest lie of all is an anatomical drawing organs laid out just so on a butcher's block. Some would say my life is a lie. But I know what I'm about. I know what I'm about. I lied to my daughter many times many times. I told her the moon was a boat and I had sailed on it thank you [00:31:13] thank you Oscar. That was definitely podium where they loved it. So finally, His Royal Highness Sir Christopher James tastes our new Poet Laureate have to give us a twill he almost needs no introduction. Has the word poetry collection supermodel minority is heartbreaking, heartwarming, uplifting, life affirming and full of life and love. Don't give me that little clue. No, it's sure. Chris is a Trisha and amazing and is making space in the most gorgeous and generous ways. And that's why he's our Poet Laureate. welcome [00:32:02] Emily I've got three panels for you tonight as well. The first one is called Mike and Carl and Duncan and Marcel. Every time a white man writes an opinion column bemoaning the capslock hardships of being a white man. I feel myself dying in a way that hasn't been fashionable for several centuries. Like being torn apart by a velociraptor while I'm busy discovering the meaning of life, or strapped to a torture rag because no one trusts a gauging with a kiwi accent in a creative writing degree. Why be opaque with your Ricans when you can just piss on the graves of beneficiaries, then write about it to start a public debate about the right to piss on the graves of beneficiaries. Maybe one day after their words have repeatedly stabbed me in the eyes enough times, I'll die in a more contemporary manner. A clickbait demise designed for maximum social media engagement. Like being shot in the back while foraging for herbs with my gender fluid friends are a live stream of me starving to death while trying to save for a house. I used to dream a paradise but paradise is too exhausting. Nowhere is safe from the white man hot takes screamed at you on the daily. But not all white men. Type all the white men on the internet in unison when there should be writing Hamlet. My most memorable one nightstands have been white men. So I can attest to the good some of them contribute to the world. I let them think they were in charge as they claimed my mouth and my body for their own histories. I didn't even tell them where I'm really from. But if only they knew the whole time I was thinking about how I would use them for a poem how their dirty words are sudden gold in my ears. I whip my head back and forth, shaking the pardons and contradictions loose, giving myself permission to be aggrieved to march onto the internet with a fist raised hi and look them in the by lines unblinking. [00:34:22] At this next poem was called identikit. When asked to explain the lines that lead to now you describe the shape of your body as it hits water. The shape of cold water shocking muscle, the shape of fishy chambers forced to loosen in Equius the shape of your grandparents and their coffins. The shape of coffins that are too small to contain entire lifetimes. The soft and hard moments we can't forget. No matter how often we turn our backs to the light. You write this poem out of love. But even love can be a blind spot Old. The Shape of You and your parents standing in your grandparents driveway after being kicked out for talking to your aunties, white boyfriend, your hand reaching out to someone you don't recognise in a dream, this silhouette branded upon your brain. You've tried to swallow the night and all its inhabitants, but they weren't designed for consumption. The night standing in for doubt, as you argue with your own memory, waking up to the smell of pee, dance or your job. The shape of a bowl designed to hold love, love that has never spoken off. Because to do so would silence it. The shape of silence when you tell your parents you've fallen in love with a white boy, the shape of that white boy pressed against your body. Birth your hearts shaped like hungry mouths. The shape of your mouth biting into the world's biggest egg. The shape of years spent running before walking your knees shredded and bloody. Even after you grew the thick skin they said you would need in this lifetime. The Years pass like a watched pot. But you imagine steam rising from its wide open body. Flesh backs the shape of air being forced into a lifeless body. Some incisions are made to clean blood, others to fast forward a certain end. When your grandparents spoke of life it was whatever came their way. No one back then had time to hide behind the sky to pull strings to taste control. The shape of control does not fit with the shape of effort. A grounded bird tries to climb an invisible ladder to heaven. To correct the path the world wouldn't let it look upon. In case of traced a little line to close to comfort. We all fear the shape of comfort when it belongs to someone else. Forgetting that we all look the same buried Six Feet Under. Both your grandparents appear before you on the night to learn how to take off your blindfold. When you finally recognise the shape of acceptance, and how it might fit on the ruins of your rejections. It goes like this, the fights because the direct hits, unfolding yourself into a shape the world doesn't know how to contain what doesn't fit. What doesn't hold true. The shape of your name, the shape of a bowl that never empties. All of these things fit together if you turn them the right way up. You run your finger along the lip of the bowl and remember what it means to be laced in time and not know how to use your hands to feed yourself. You count the years you feel their shape flooding your throat, making a noise, making a space for what's to come. And one last poem, this is a poem inspired and a tribute to my dear friend, the poet and artist send Dr. Jones. This is called boy boy boy boy. Boys, though don't do that wasteland thing with my hearts and Oh, in case you're considering it, you can love stone and play with the same kinetic rigour with which you embrace the mountains and the thickened slip that comes to risk between touch and feel. I boys sometimes I weigh myself out like an accelerator and lock down or speed with nowhere to go. Oh Giovanna mo What do you say about lining up in single file to marvel at each other's crushes and exclamation marks and deep voice exaltations and asking a choir to press itself along in orchestra tuning to raise a riot we can wear proudly on a Saturday night at home. Oh pitch like a thick black line or 440 Hertz. A thing harder than clay is the mind that first thought it's a boys. If we could all make husbands with our own hands and learn to love them without looking over our shoulders and the dad. Never ever would the world Christian Unison never ever would sashaying into happiness. Be a mark against our names. They'll find us in a room stacked with fluorescent visors. They'll find us willing dry martinis and laughing about how we used to see dust instead of glitter, or happy celestial bodies or dreams and days of o's and exes. Kiss kiss boys Kiss Kiss. Thank you [00:39:43] may why he's the new poet lower yet. We have this great panel is a really incredible mix of emerging poets and writers. So I wanted to ask Chris Do you accept your new be placed as an elder and that you're no longer emerging [00:40:07] I felt old for the last 10 years. So yeah, I think it's it's all about context though, right? Like I definitely in in Altero I'm definitely not emerging and I exhibit but it was interesting seeing an American website promoting my most recent book and calling me an emerging poet. So, you know, I'm, I might just move countries and be emerging elsewhere. And just just keep hopping around. Yeah. [00:40:34] And cadence I saw you describe Chris is your poetry uncle, which I thought was just the loveliest sweetest thing. And you see, the his Mahi is one of the reasons you started writing poetry. So do you want to talk a little bit about that? Yeah, [00:40:53] yeah, I got introduced to Chris's poetry and yet when? When, yeah, teacher like, showed it to us. And yeah, I was, like, just really floored by it. Honestly, I've written poetry before. I kind of written what I thought the poem should be. So it was very, you know, old fashioned, like rhyming, like, I think I did a few acrostic poems. Actually. That was my primary school, though. But, um, yeah. And so when I first read Chris's poetry, I was just, like, really amazed at what a poem could be, and how much more free it could be. Yeah, I first read how to be dead in a year of snakes. And that just really has stood out to me like all these poems, kind of like a story, but also a moment at the same time. Yeah, and then since then, I've just like kind of harassed Chris as a fan girl at various events and eventually, yeah, like he's published my work in the spin off and stuff like that. And I feel really honoured to know that ended Poet Laureate. No milanesi called my poetry uncle. Anyways, [00:41:57] one of Ken's high school English teachers emailed me out of the blue, and said, I've got the student who's writing poetry and, you know, can I send you some of his stuff? I was like, Yeah, sure. Okay, cool. That's a whole bloody manuscript. As probably like one of just a few manuscripts that cadence has written since [00:42:19] I think it's like six or something at this point. [00:42:23] And cadence you spoke at Chris's launch of super model minority. Is that right? So it's, I would love to know, do you feel like you're really supported by, you know, your queer elder power? Do you feel like community? And do you feel that sense of community and feel supported by that? Queer poets community? Yeah, definitely. [00:42:49] It's been really cool. Honestly, entering this community. Like so young, but not having anyone kind of like belittle me or be like, kind of what are you doing here? Little kid, like, that was kind of old. Like, obviously, I thought that, but no one told me that and I definitely wasn't getting that sense. Yeah, it's just been really cool. Like reading poetry to people that I can, that I can, like, meet in real life and you know, talk to and can, like, help me with my work and stuff like that. It's really incredible. [00:43:19] The community of sort of queer writers is small in New Zealand, but it's a pretty mighty crew. What does being part of that community mean to you, Oscar? Ruby, do you want to? [00:43:36] I wasn't given a microphone, presumably for strategic reasons. But I've got one now. Yeah, I don't know. I think I don't really get out much. So for me, a lot of the community is just like reading by myself, but I don't know. I just think it's so nice to like, I think something I read recently was just about like, there's not like one way to be a queer or trans writer anymore. And not that there ever was but there was I feel like a sense of like, this is what a Transformers are. This is what a queer polymers. And now it's like, all you need to do is pick up almost any collection. And you see, like 50 different ways to write in a recognisably queer or trans way. And so I think for me as a little bit of a hermit, that's, that's my sense of community. And I just take enormous strength from that. Because as a writer, you just have to find your place and you've got a map now, which is, which is really cool. [00:44:39] Yeah. Ruby, [00:44:43] do you feel that sense of community how much of that is a part of your money? [00:44:47] I don't know why I thought you're gonna ask me a different question. [00:44:51] I have more questions. [00:44:53] I can ask that question. Um, yeah, I I kind of I'm part of a lot of different and communities I think is a really interesting space when you're kind of in the middle of all of them and this kind of weird code switching thing that is always going on. But I've, I'm really lucky to have kind of almost grown up with poets and writers like it's a made aneuploidy in Michelada hula hoop in Sinead Overby and people like that, who were also young in taka, Tapui and rioters. So I feel like we kind of had this beautiful little kind of powerhouse going of sharing with each other and understanding what each other was going through in terms of dealing with those things, even in terms of being, you know, like living in the city, that being Maori and being from from other places, and how you deal with all those things. Yeah, so that part of the community was a big deal for me. And I think I've had lots of experiences where, as soon as people have found out that I'm, that I'm queer, not that I'm hiding exceptionally well. But as people got to find out, ah, and then you're in the fold more. And always, I've always found those experiences interesting. And looking back as well, and seeing experiences where I was held that way. Before I realised I was queer, what those experiences look like from writers and, and people who engage with writing. Yeah, yeah. [00:46:20] Yeah. Because it kind of speaks to their idea of what as a queer poet as like just a queer person who writes poetry, or does the poem have to be inherently queer? So when you? Do you consider that when you're writing? Would you say I'm a queer poet first? Or what does that even mean to be a queer pirate? [00:46:41] These questions are really hard. Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I think like, just to speak for myself, I just write like, I'm just like, oh, just write a poem about a bird. And then it's like, oh, there's my deepest fear, like on the page, like it just, it'll just come out, like, and so I think my writing is just completely dictated by what's going on. And a lot of what's going on might be about gender, or sexuality. And so that's going to be there. But then I'm, like, really interested, come like, what if there's a time when it's not anymore, because you kind of move through phases, I think sometimes as a queer person, where it's a real focus for you. And then maybe sometimes you move into a bit of a lull where you're kind of feeling a little more comfortable. And then it's like, I wonder, like, what will be the, what will be coming coming out then? And is that still curating? Well, I think, yes. Because part of being a queer person has been someone who doesn't even think about it anymore, because you just bought it the whole thing. But it's a different kind of writing. And it's, I find it interesting how people like, react to it, because I think people have certain expectations, which can be like really positive as well, because they want like really good writing, or they want something that they feel reflected in. Which is something I really just try not to think about. Because otherwise it's like, well, it's all just gonna come out in us. But yeah, it's kind of interesting, all those different conversations that are happening about like expectations, and yeah, things like [00:48:16] that. We have this conversation, a loss and kind of a Maori context in terms of like, if it's a Maori powers and mighty power them, and it's an that's in use it is, and it's kind of like, you can look at it in the same way here. And it was a factor PAPR. Like, if it refers back to a queer person in my head, then it's a queer poem, it's pretty hard to sit down and write, and shut off part of who you are. But to shut off any of those. Those parts. Like for me, it's I don't know, what are some other things that I occupy? It's going to be a short person part. But no, you know what I mean, it's going to be all those experiences are always going to come in there, even if it's deep, deep, deep down in the subtext. So yeah, and that's, that's a beautiful thing. I think that you can write as far away from it as you want. And it's still tied to it. [00:49:05] I think when I started writing, and like I've talked about this a bit about, you know, being very conscious about, I don't want to write about being Chinese, I don't want to have Chinese things and Chinese images in my work. And then when it sort of came to starting to write about being queer, I don't want to like, be explicitly queer, obviously queer, for various reasons. And I think, for me a lot of my development as a writer, and it has been about learning to let go of that, that constraint that I've put on myself, because no matter what I'm going to write, it's going to have that sort of agentless or that queerness in any way, regardless of how explicit there might be. And that has actually been the most freeing thing for me as a writer to be able to just do it, and don't worry too much about it and be self conscious about it. [00:49:53] Yeah, I thought it was interesting how Oscars said like, often writing a poem you write about what you didn't even No, you were thinking about almost like it kind of that was talking to one of my poet friends about this, like, yeah, it's almost a way of kind of understanding yourself. And I think, especially as a queer person, you know, there's so many facets to queerness. Especially, or, you know, like your various identities, you know, there's like, kind of no way to fully pin down something. And I think you're always kind of figuring out something about yourself at any given point in your life. And I think, yeah, a poem is often, like secretly a way of kind of figuring out things for yourself or like, your brain kind of mulling things over. Like, I know, for me, I don't consciously write a poem, I just kind of movie out and about, and then it'll just kind of like, pop up in my head. And I feel like, you know, I used to think that was like, well, crazy, quirky thing, but I think now it's just like, I realised it's, you know, I've just been thinking about it the whole time. And it's only turned itself into a poem then. But the thoughts have always been there. [00:51:00] Do you have an idea then of audience? So when you're writing? Are you thinking a lot about what type of audience is reading? Are you writing for the audience? Or is it just this process of getting what's in your head out? [00:51:15] Very much for me, I don't write for an audience. Like, that's kind of like a cool added bonus. I'm like, wow, people read this cool, you know? Yeah, like, I guess to some extent, when you're writing stuff, like sometimes you'll write it and be like, Oh, this would be good for, you know, this magazine or stuff like that. But at the end of the day, I am kind of just writing for myself. And I think it's a really cool added bonus that people like it. [00:51:42] Hopefully, this has made me think I don't realise I don't think about being queer at all. Just never think about it. And I realised that several months ago, was booked best. I was like, I'll be able to do that. And then I was like, wait, what I never think about this. But in terms of when I do writing, and think about audience I listened to I think it was listening or reading, I think back with kahikatea, about, she writes for a 14 year old Maori girl growing up, we sugar up and on the lens of motoboy. And she's like a deputy as well. And yeah, so I kind of think that I'm, and then I thought about who I write to, and I think I write to that person too. But my version of it, you know, someone growing up on a 14 year old, queer Maori girl growing up and over the toilet ends, but being from somewhere else, so I'm kind of running for that person. And I think that, yeah, that's definitely someone I'm writing to. But I'm also always thinking about who could read what I'm writing, and what needs to be coded and what needs to be protected, which is something that I think that, you know, minorities in general, have to think about far more than my brain, when to say normal people, everybody else. And, you know, it's something like, I want somebody to love to read a poem through and not feel alienated if there's too much of things I don't understand. But I also want there to be things that they don't understand that they might not be able to Google that they have to go to someone to ask for. But if they read through it, and they don't understand that, but it's still going to be okay. And I think often with kind of the queer parts of of Texas as well. That's often how I would do it, too, is kind of thinking about what do people need to know, what can people get by digging a little bit further? And what information needs to be protected? So that it's just for people that it's intended for, if that makes sense? [00:53:36] Yeah, I think from for me that I've started to embrace not doing the overexplaining thing, because the audience for me is someone with my experience, someone that comes from a similar cultural background and doesn't need to have everything explained and start out for them. And I think that as a writer, that that gives you so much more power and control over over what you produce. And it but there is still this sort of like nuance and balance to it. And I still find myself flawed when people come up to me and tell me about how, you know, what sort of harm has meant something to them? When I thought it was just me being stupid about Taylor Swift. But it's, you know, it's something about it has resonated and sometimes I do write quite selfishly in like, I'm gonna write a sequence based on these PJ Harvey songs because when I was a teenager that's what I that's what I would have wanted to read. So there's there's sort of like, I guess, different modes to how I approach it that yet sometimes there's this sort of like really fun frivolous silly stuff to me. But then there's the stuff like right this is this is me putting out this particular point of view on this topic or issue and and hoping that it sort of resonates with someone [00:54:56] I think as well and makes us really think about kind of audience size And we Yeah, I think we're really lucky in a way because we can write for whatever audience size we want. I'd be thinking about this a lot recently with music and with Tom a pivotal, which is what I do every single day because it's my PhD and it never goes away. But, and I love it, it's awesome. But, but you know, we have instruments that were meant to be played to, you'd play to your lover, you'd play to one person. And I think the most meaningful moments I've had with poetry is when I've written something for one person, when they needed a poem, or one piece or a family when they needed something and thinking about how we use poetry in those ways. And I've definitely same as I kind of grew up in the queer community where I had an uncle who used to, on and off, raise me, because everybody had a turn, and an auntie who on and off raised me and both of them were queer. And I grew up going to the kind of heterosexuals and afraid of gays, Matt, and my parents and stuff like that. So and the queer community would do that to someone would write something. And it would be for the specific person's Memorial or be for the specific person to like, have strength to do something. And that's something that I think is something real powerful that minorities do and that queer people do. Within that. [00:56:11] That resonates with me so much. I think it's so beautiful. I think, when I think about my writing, it comes out of a space of need, that I see in my community. And I've been thinking a little bit around, whether for me being queer, as inherently political as as being a mother. And I just wonder about whether you think your poetry is a kind of activism in and of itself, and particularly austere? I'm interested in the surgeons brain feels like it's kind of setting the record, straight around misgendering of Dr. Barry, and do you have thoughts on that around whether that was a clear aim, or where activism sits with your writing? And how important that is or isn't? [00:57:05] Yeah, I mean, it's kind of like complicated, because basically, Dr. James barrier is someone who for a very long time has been seen as a woman who took on a male persona, either to chase a lover down who no one's ever been, has been able to identify, or because they just really wanted to be a surgeon. And it's kind of tricky, because I don't actually know like how Dr. Berry identified. And I think what I wanted to do with the book was kind of complicate the story rather than necessarily have an answer. But then you have to have a blurb and like, the essay that I have on James Berry's gender didn't fit. And so we went with transgender man. But I think I'm okay with that. Because I think once you've read the biographies, and the articles, and everything that is just written from such an ignorant perspective, and not necessarily a malicious one, but just a really, really an educated one, I did feel quite comfortable being like, Oh, well, you're all very confident. So I'll be confident as well about my feeling when I read about his life. But it didn't feel like political to me. I mean, I think is like it just inherently is. But I guess I don't just don't think that it felt like quite personal. And it felt like a sort of a little bit of a reclamation of history, because there's just such a, like, just this void behind us as a trans community when it comes to history. And so much gets taken. And so it was just trying to fill that in a little bit. And really just like purely for myself, rather than from a political perspective. But then, of course, as soon as you get into the stuff, it's, it's really political. So yeah, sorry, it's a very rambling answer, and not really to your question. I did want to I really liked something Ruby said earlier in sorry, getting this is like not answering your question, but about protecting things. Because that was another thing. I think when you're like, writing about a real person, and maybe even when you're writing about yourself, and I'm kind of thinking of everyone's work here, but just that thing of like, oh, this is like a real a real person. And like with someone like James Perry, a person who is the way they're being talked about as this very traumatic way in this way that really focuses on the body. And then how do you approach that when you're interested in them from that perspective, but you don't want to be voyeuristic about it and you don't want to like, like re traumatise. And I hadn't thought about it in terms of protection and in terms of different audiences. But I think like subconsciously, that's what's been going on. So thank you for those thoughts. I found them very helpful. [00:59:56] Yeah, I could probably talk about the political thing. Um, yeah, as soon as I do anything, it's political. And I never mean for it to happen. And I think as well, I think I could honestly write a poem and be like, the cat walked across the road from my house to his house, and people be like, it's about the Queen's about colonialism. It's about the cat represents the British Empire. And it's, like, every time I write anything, there's always this weird, like, comment that it must be about that even even if it's about absolutely nothing to do with it. And I've tested it Oh, many times, just to be a little shit. And every time it works out this way, and it's always been like there was since I was like, 14, and I'm old now. But I think it's cause it's impossible in some bodies to not be political every time you exist. And I think that, you know, that is this burden to that. But there's also, there's also like a power. And that's the power that people sense is what why they think it's political. And I think it's also really powerful to argue that it's not political. And it's just what it's like to exist in those spaces. Because I don't think I sometimes I do, like, I brought up her poem about Elizabeth data. And it was pretty, I was pretty upset that day. But I mean, most of the time, I'm not seeking to write something political. I'm writing my experience. And people perceive that as being threatening or being political, because it's showing up those things. And it can be hard to see that. But But yeah, I think yeah, it's inherently political will we will go to do it. No matter what we do. [01:01:35] I was interested in the idea that you described Toku. Papa is a map of survival for Maori growing up outside of their public acre. If it is political, just by who you are, do you feel like you also have this pressure that it has to contribute to social change in some way? Or that you feel pigeon holed to be putting across that? Or where does that come from? For you? [01:02:04] Yeah, I do feel a certain. It's not actually a sense of pigeon holing. In a way, it's more like I've made myself a nest, and now I have to make things. But I think that's actually that's, that's really nice, because I think we all want to produce things that are going to be helpful to people like us, even, you know, and there's lots of ways to be helpful in showing people beauty that's helpful is showing people people like them, that's helpful. There's showing people that it's okay to be angry, and waste and outlets for that anger. And that's helpful. Humour is helpful. And I think that all those things kind of can be can be ways that can be helpful. And the maps are being thing I think you said that as well, Oscar about kind of showing people, you know, because when you read those books that become those maps, they really stick with you and they really powerful. And like I remember reading books by honey mana Baker as well, like, and that was a really big kind of, oh, okay, maybe I could actually base do something with my life a little bit more. Maybe, maybe working at the server up the road isn't the biggest option for you. Maybe there might be something out. And yeah, I think that those books are really precious. And we want to add to that and keep creating those things in a way. But what do you [01:03:25] hear that sounds about right? [01:03:28] Nice. [01:03:31] Kressel cadence. [01:03:35] A lot of weird supermodel Subramanyam when it came out of was being asked by audiences at festivals, how do you solve racism? Well, we live in a world without racism. I'm like, I don't fucking know. So there's this expectation that people of colour that queer people can somehow provide the answer, because they've experienced X? How do we stop x from happening? That was what wore me down quite a bit. And that's where supermodel minority came out of. And I don't have the answers, the book is very clear that I can't provide the answers. Because who knows? And what is what is, what is the thing that is actually going to cause that reset or that sort of starting again? So for me, you know that that's, that's as far as I could get, I guess, with the politics of it that I can't resolve it myself. And I have to just throw it out into the world for other people to contribute to I've, when I first started writing, I never considered myself a political writer. And then you sort of have that moment was like, Oh, I am. And I've always been quite reluctant to lean in So that, that part of myself and that part of my writing, and it's been a bit of a journey to claim that and to own that a bit, and I'm still sort of wrestling with it quite a lot. And I think, you know, one of the next things I want to do is to put beauty into the world. And I want to write about queer joy and POC joy. And I know that that in itself is going to be quite a political thing, because it's going to be subverting and challenging these quote unquote, traditional narratives that have been put out there about queer and POC people. So that for me is how I'm the next step of how I'm going to question and challenge it. [01:05:41] Yeah, I think it's really interesting how you say, when you started out, you didn't think of yourself as a political writer? Because like, yeah, I was like that, but like, to the extreme. I was, like, I'm not writing about anything real. Like, you know, we're just gonna write about nice things. And yeah, it was like a very delusional yet him like, I remember going and seeing like a play about like feminism, it was really good. And then afterwards, I was like, who needs that real stuff when your fantasy ego? So pretentious. But yeah, like, as I started writing more and more stuff that actually meant something to me, and actually, like, spoke to me or kind of came out of a place of kind of more genuine feeling, rather than just like, again, what I thought a poem should be, it just kind of becomes political. And in a way that kind of sucks that, you know, being a queer Asian person means that you are political like, existence. But yeah, like you said, there is a real power in it. And like, yeah, there's often you know, kind of like the dark moments. I know, my book has a lot of stuff about like being dissected and things like that. Just because I feel like you're under a lot of scrutiny constantly, to kind of be this representative for your people where it's like, I don't represent anyone, I'm just out here existing. Yeah, and so there's definitely that sort of thing of like, trying to, you know, be part of the community and be like the figurehead of it. But at the same time, you do just kind of want to write what speaks to you. And that, in itself, I think, is kind of political in a different way, like not writing for people to kind of, I guess, like, show them that you're like, good and normal, but to just write for yourself and to write about your own feelings and kind of process them. Thank you. [01:07:37] I do appreciate these are hard questions. So I do really appreciate this. I want to talk about pretty shitty things. So COVID the thing no one wants to talk about. I know that many of you, you know, we were writing during the pandemic releasing books during the pandemic, I really want to hear from you what what that was like and how it impacted your writing or shaped your writing, whether it had any impact at all. And just kind of what it was, like for you doing that movie, in isolation or during the pandemic. [01:08:22] Yeah, I'm the human equivalent of a housecat that's like a little bit wild and kind of just wants to be left on its own most of the time. But like, occasionally, I need a bit of a scratch and like a bottle of water and a treat. So I was it was in a ideal environment for me, because I've got a sheet and I just kind of as a machine doing work, and occasionally someone would check on me. And that was just perfect. I was working on lots of different things. So I really liked it. But also it was the kind of thing where I felt like I was sitting in one of the flesher Walker at that time. You know, like I had, I had a house with a spare room, I had all the stuff going on in the and I had lots of people I know who were really struggling during that times. And I was you know, be like they'd be like, right, right the time to write. So yeah, that's kind of how it was for me I've tried to support people from afar and but yeah, I just kind of I just went full only child introvert zone and just like bowed up and my shared of the big list of stuff to do. Just did that the whole time and it was great. [01:09:27] Wow, not even kid sounds awesome. [01:09:31] Some and then I'll just be like, don't do anything now. And I'll just release a backlog of stuff. [01:09:37] So it was a really productive time for you the in that as well as managing that care of unity. [01:09:43] Definitely. I think the one thing I noticed about that time as someone who also like lives with mental illness, is that it was just like way easier to manage all these things that are way harder to manage. When everything when you people are a lot less accommodating and kind and it was kind of like That first one was really good, because people were just really understanding. And that's just great. And it was like all of these other qualities popped up, but some of them just really got got dealt with really quickly and really easily. And yeah, and that kind of part of it made me a bit sad because I was like, Oh, this is the best mental health I've ever had. Because people are being a little bit kinda. There's a whole lot of there's a lot this on, I don't have to worry about money. And yeah, I've really made me think about the UBI. And it made me think about, think about everybody thinking about the UBI, hopefully, mostly in positive ways. Yeah. And it made me kind of realise what support could really do when I wasn't worrying about all those things. I could make things because I wasn't worrying about not having the money to support me making things. And yeah, that was that was great. And it was kind of felt political to even notice it. But that was a big part of the experience for me. [01:10:53] Yeah, such a shame labour factor, when it was like a great way of showing that UBI works, but not to be political at all. But what about you Qaeda during that time? [01:11:06] Yeah, I was in your 11. When? Meeks [01:11:13] 20 years ago, okay. Honestly, NCAA level one would have been really hard for you at that time, because it was been a hard year to do [01:11:20] it. Yeah, I remember, like 845 like Google meets with the history class. And there was like two people. My friend like, I had my birthday in lockdown actually, in the second lockdown my 18th. And yeah, my friend and English class like played like, a like weird solo like of Happy Birthday. But I actually do agree that it was quite a productive time for me, especially because it wasn't, school wasn't as regular like you didn't have to show up to everything. Apart from the one history teacher who of course, was the 45 class. But yeah, so I ended up doing a lot of writing actually, and a lot of poems. I think I did write a manuscript, but I don't remember which one it was. This one, this one? Yeah. And of course, they were like, great publications like stasis, who were, you know, like publishing stuff all throughout the lockdown. Yeah, I feel like I noticed quite a lot of poetry. Actually, during the lockdowns, I think just because now all the poets have trapped inside and just had time finally to write the things they wanted to. So yeah, again, it was like quite a productive time. For me, I also just like hanging out at home. So that's what I do normally. So it wasn't too much of a change. [01:12:41] In my bands, and I were editing out here at the time, and we had this timeline. And then it got completely fucked by COVID and the first lockdown, and we don't, we had enough to go with. So we had a lot of submissions, and we had books that we were going to read. But because of the lockdown, and because we couldn't access Library's delay a lot, because we couldn't access what we wanted to read. So in some way, the lockdown was good, because it forced me to get on with the reading and get on with editing and working with him or on the anthology. But in terms of my own writing, I thought going into it great, I'm going to be at home, I'm going to be able to have all this time to write. But it was, it was just not the best environment for me to write in. In fact, I'd you know, I, I spent most of it just, you know, other than working out here, just going for long walks and just thinking about what I wants to write about and trying to figure out why I couldn't write about it. And then once the first lockdown lifted, that's when the floodgates kind of opened, and then it all happened. So I don't know whether there was something subconsciously sort of like preventing me from writing because it was trying to force me to just think about it, and then do the writing. In the end, it kind of worked out. But I remember at the time just feeling very frustrated about not being able to get what I wanted out onto the page. Yeah. [01:14:08] I hit a really interesting time with the first lockdown because that's when I wrote the book about the surgeons brain about James Berry. And just like for context, so he was mostly sort of active I suppose in the early to mid 1800s. And this was kind of pre germ theory so so people think that diseases spread by like miasma like bad air. And he was also a contemporary of Florence Nightingale and a lot like Florence Nightingale and almost no one else at the time. He thought hand washing was really important. And he would go basically from hospital to hospital, he would be the general inspector of a hospital and he would basically say to everyone, Okay, everyone, just wash your hands like please and he was really like angry all the time. And so people were quite scared of him even though he's like five foot two, and so on. They would wash their hands and the death rates would just plummet in that hospital. And then he would go to the next hospital. And there's a lot like Florence Nightingale, they actually hate, they didn't meet in the Crimea, and they hated each other. But it was so interesting, like, I was reading all this stuff. And like, you know, just grappling with this person who was an absolute kind of neat freak, but he didn't know why, what he was doing worked. And then at the same time, we were being just flooded with all this information. And we were like, putting out I was living with my mom and all my siblings at the time. And we were getting our groceries and we were putting them out in the sun, because we were told that that would keep us safe. You know, and you're just like, wow, we like we haven't changed at all, you know, like, we don't know what's going on and what could happen next. And so it's this really weird thing of like, the art in the end life just converging in this way that probably wasn't very healthy for me, but I think it improved the book. So [01:15:56] is fantastic. And so am I right in thinking out here launched, and you were unable to do the launch. We never had a launch. Yeah. And I feel like the launch is like the best part of writing about [01:16:11] it. And I had like, before we even finalise the manuscript, we had these plans to have this incredible event in Wellington, we were going to tour the country, it wasn't just going to be writers, it was going to be like, musicians and drag performers and dancers, and it was going to be like an awesome party, and then nothing happened. And, like, Yeah, we were, like, really said, We'd spent hundreds of dollars on outfits that we have all worn, but that's, you know, but yeah, it did feel like an anticlimax, because, you know, we've put so much effort into putting the book together. And, you know, we really wanted it to be an opportunity for the writers in the book and people who didn't make it into the book, to be able to get out there and, and read and be part of this sort of thing that we'd created. And, you know, the books done really well, I think, you know, because of what it is, it's it's, it's found its audience and it's in it's continued to, to sell, you know, almost a year since its publication, but we did feel very disappointed that we couldn't do anything. You know, for the longest time, the only event that we had for the book was in Palmerston North, which is fine. But you know, it was like, [01:17:28] okay, so we [01:17:30] favourite New Zealand Poetry [01:17:33] Out of everything that is my favourites, like where did this book Kevin's soul reading. [01:17:40] But we did have like an online event is part of same same earlier this year, which is really great. And him and I both went down to word Christchurch a couple of weeks ago. And that was like our first in person event together. And that was really lovely. And it really reinforced this, that the magic that happens when you can bring people together like this and celebrate a book or celebrate an apology and celebrate the riders in it. Because there's something special about doing it in person and having those connections. I you know, I think after two years of online events, we're all a bit tired of it. And there's just something that isn't quite the same about it. And, you know, something that I've been thinking a lot about, not just in terms of writing, but part of my day job is, is, you know, events, as we knew them are going to have to change even tonight with with having a live stream element. What does that look for? And what does that mean for festivals and things like this? Yeah. [01:18:41] Did any of you have events that then got cancelled due to COVID? Or did you have because I mean, I feel like I lost a third of my income overnight, I had constant cancelled. [01:18:53] Yeah, I had the same thing. I had this great moment where I was at one of my jobs. And I was like, I've lost $500 This morning, and my boss went to get the good coffee. Then she went to get us a coffee. And by the time she'd come back, I'd lost another 1500 It was like it was insane. But also it was cool. Because after a while, you're just like, Okay, well, [01:19:14] so you weren't able to because I really felt like when I was trying to write and just constantly losing income and once that initial payment stopped, it was like, oh, you know paying rent and all those How did you did you feel that you had to keep your spirits up? Or are we just kind of used to being really badly pays. [01:19:35] I did this really crazy thing? I shouldn't say that. But then I think about it am I actually I like kind of when I sold stuff was happening overseas. I was like if it comes here, we're going to be quite fat that way. I'm gonna book a whole bunch of articles that will pay me money because they'll all still keep going. So I did that and I booked like six over like a full week. period. And then I just wrote all of those and got the money from it and it kind of came out. Okay, but I don't know why I did that, or how I don't know why, but just seems very unlike me usually a panic. Can I just do something the last minute, but really? Yeah, that panic worked well, actually. Yeah, [01:20:18] I mean, I definitely had quite a few cancelled poetry events. Luckily for me, you know, since I was a high school student income didn't matter too much yet. Um, but yeah, I think I, you do just kind of miss out on the community. I feel like coming back to this sort of thing. It's kind of like, well, here's all these people that I've seen, like on Zoom, or like on Twitter, who, you know, should have been there in real life. Yeah, so I think it's kind of like, emerging out of a cave, almost like now that we can have live events. Yeah, and just kind of getting used to it again. [01:20:56] One of the defining moments of that first lockdown, so I think everyone was panicking about losing events and disproved online and digital and virtual events. So I helped sort of organise an online reading for Pegasus. And we, you know, this was this was before people were really like, used to using zoom on a daily basis. And, and rose Lou, and I got a few people to get in with all right, we're gonna do this with no, these are the readers, this is what we're going to do. And we did this online reading, and like, penises, like just on screen, and all sorts of like, weird porn being shared and, and it was a really like, good learning experience. But also terrifying. I just thought, Oh, my God, what is happening to the world like this is? Is this what we got to deal with now? But we learned a lot from that one. And then the second one, we were much more prepared. And they were no penises. I have the recording if anyone wants to. [01:22:01] Just read on was it like the wood decks everywhere, but Sam was like, in then I saw [01:22:07] it. It's really unlikely that there will be any penises tonight. Oscar, do you have anything to say about that? [01:22:20] Not that precisely. But on the cancellations. I had a great time with the launch of the surgeon's brain because I think it was delayed like three times. And then this was like, I think this was like early, early last year. And then not early this year. Oh, God, I don't know what a time. Anyway, it was in the past. It happened in the past. And yeah, just keep getting delayed. And then we had a date. And I was like, well, obviously, I'll get COVID On that day, or like, you know, everyone else will and I'll just be reading alone and, and they will all these rules as well as like, No food. No drink Marsan all the time, which like, totally support that, but not a fun time. But I was like, okay, you know, just we'll get it done. And it will be it will be it will be nice. And then the day off, I was like, I was at work. And on top of it. Like that process that's happening is like, kind of something's going down. And oh, like, like the slides on fire maybe. And then I got an email from uni bots being like due to security reasons, we have cancelled your book launch. So I can't blame. Well, it's complex, say what caused that? But yeah, so I didn't, I didn't get a lunch with the surgeon's brain. But I mean, just to like, bring it back around to community, which was much earlier. It's actually been really nice, because people like a lot of people in the audience and also on the stage, I think, have like, created so many events since then. And I've like specifically said to me, I know you didn't get a launch. So I thought maybe you could read it this which is like just really lovely that people think of that sort of thing. I actually don't I find that idea of her book launch site quite scary because it's sort of like, you know, spotlight kind of thing. Like those ones. But, you know, it is also like, kind of a it's like a take the birthday party for your book, you know, so like, it does feel like you should mark it. And I just feel like I don't miss the fact that I didn't have one at all because like the community just wrapped around me and a lot of other people and just kind of made events for us, which has been really really cool. Yeah, [01:24:39] I love attention so I hit three but conscious I think as well that what I've seen that's been quite nice is accessibility around the beats now where there is this finally this kaupapa of like giving a shit about disabled people and immune compromised people and having mass wearing and Having people, you know, thinking about others, and how we can make our events more accessible. So I feel like maybe if there's one plus from COVID, it might be that but but I do want to talk about the theme of this year's sign saying is legacy and cadence. you've referenced a lot of writers and your work. And Chris was our poet laureate, which is, of course, Legacy making in itself. And out there, you know, as a queer anthology was, you know, a huge part of this legacy now is that book and how wonderful it is. Talk who Papa is all about legacy from parent to child, and belonging and home and Oscar your book, around revitalising and retelling trends stories. So you should all have lots to say about legacy. I feel like I framed that well, right. Basically, you're all creating works that speak to legacy. So I would like to know what the word means to you, and whether you feel like you're creating a legacy? And if so, what it might be? [01:26:12] Shall I go? Well, people have a little thing do you think? Okay, yeah, mine was real interesting with that legacy concept. Because, obviously, it was a book about my dad, me and my dad are really close. But also like, I feel like we haven't talked them through months. But we're also really close, you know, those kinds of people. And I think for him, he'd had a lot of experiences in his life where his mother wasn't acknowledged. And it was a really amazing opportunity to acknowledge his mother and acknowledge that and acknowledge our family and acknowledge all these things. And I think there's a real special relationship of like, you know, queer daughters, and their dads, I think it's a really special thing. And there's like, all different kinds of relationships that queer people have. And yeah, like, I have really special relationship with my dad, and and with a lot of, of guys who kind of have kind of Uncle figures in my life, and mentors. And, yeah, I think that was something that was really important within that book. And in terms of that legacy, that book really gave him his money back, and everyone kind of acknowledging him and acknowledging the work. And yeah, he really feels like he's the main character now. And it's awesome. Like, he'll go into workflows, and I'll get a blurry photo of my stepmom and it's beautiful. And yeah, the whole process, even from doing the cover, during the cover, he, we the metadata that's on his face is painted on one, he doesn't have one in real life. And after that, he kept it on till we wait. So I didn't say much on my Nana. And then he wanted to keep wearing it. And he worked for the rest of the day where the Bob, you were to his girlfriend's house, he were everywhere. And it was just really cool. To see him doing those things. And having that picture even was like a huge Manna enhancing thing. And I know that you know, generation doubt, I'm from a family with lots of writers. Are you here Latham as my cousin and Jerry to pepper coats who did? And apparently we related to carry home. And every time I go down south and say our last name people carry home, but I don't know how we're related to so I leave it. But yeah, and there's a big thing of bringing those works home and having manuscripts, you know, like people talk about our photo manuscripts that are being a big deal. And yeah, so being able to create those has been a huge thing. I love legacy work and being able to write that down for people. [01:28:45] I think the process of putting out here together, for me personally was the excavation of queer legacy and understanding what has come before who has come before. And we're, you know, a lot of us on stage here fit into that story. So that was quite an eye opening experience. For me. I've always I'd like when I first started writing, I had this really cringy Neff belief that my Rowling was going to be my legacy. Which, you know, as a 20, something year old, you think yeah, this is the thing I'm going to leave behind. And I still I don't I don't know whether that's still how I feel, you know, in terms of my writing. But what is important to me now is that I recognise that Chinese New Zealand narratives, queer Chinese in the mountains have been practically invisible. And this is and everything that I'm doing is just my way of trying to create the legacy and sometimes feels like a really lofty task, or something that I'm not equipped to do. And I just need to talk myself into it and And then I own that part of, of who I am. Because I just want to write poems and, you know, have fun with friends on stage. And, and I don't want to think too much about it in terms of this is my legacy, because I don't know what my legacy is going to be. Because who knows, if in 1020 years time, people aren't going to be reading my books or anything like that, you know, from what I gather my legacy at the moment as part of that, Playing Cards Against Humanity with my mum, not the really great poems. No, I just I just, but yeah, it's this the thing like you, you don't know what your legacy is going to be, because you're not going to be around to see it happen in person. So I'm just gonna just keep doing what I'm doing. And try not to let that way too heavy on me. [01:30:55] I really, like relate to a lot of that, about creating legacy and like not feeling equal to it. Because, yeah, I think like, that's what this latest book I wrote was really trying to do was just feeling like, you know, quite alone in history and not seeing yourself in history. And then it's like, Oh, who's going to write this book? And then it's that sort of thing of like, Ah, I have not necessarily the best person to do that. But like, if I don't like, who was going to do that, I guess, I guess I will. And constantly feeling a little bit overwhelmed by the enormity of that task. But then it's also it's also really cool, because then you kind of have a legacy that you didn't feel you had before. And then hopefully, maybe other people relate to as well. But that's almost out of my hands really, in a way. Yeah, so that's sort of how I think about it anywhere. [01:31:59] Yeah, Chris kind of stole what I was going to say. Yeah, it's definitely that thing of like, you don't know what your legacy will be. And I think a lot in my writing, especially in anomaly, I kind of explore, you know, these like Dead Poets, and like, kind of love letters, and postcards, and all these sort of like, quite mundane things that people left behind. And I often think that those are quite like almost the most important thing about people's legacies, like not the sort of things they showed off to the world, but kind of the little more private parts of them that kind of showed more who they truly were. And it's just like, really interesting, kind of, you know, like, getting an old book and like seeing that it has like an inscription from a lover and stuff like that, is kind of almost like the best little legacy because you kind of leave it behind, and lots of different little places. And yeah, I feel like I really try and I love to, like, uncover that sort of thing in my writing. In terms of my own legacy, I have no idea what I want to leave behind or what I will leave behind. I know I said, an anomaly that I want to be remembered. But, you know, I don't really mind what I'm remembered for. I mean, I say that and then like, I'll probably be remembered when something really embarrassing. But yeah, I mean, as Chris said, you know, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. And I'm not going to try and write to create a legacy or to write try to try and be the greatest or representative of anything, I'm just going to write to what I want to and hopefully, someone might remember it or might not. [01:33:40] Lovely. Okay, we're gonna have some questions from the audience. And I'm going to come to you with a microphone. And, or I'm not going to am I or am I not? I'll be running away. Are we? Are we are we? Oh, we've got microphones. Wonderful. Okay, so if you have a question, put your hand up over here. Wonderful. Thank you. Thank you for being brave, and asking a question. [01:34:12] Hello. I'm looking forward to a post unity book launch. The whole combined group of you. You could you do a post book launch? Yes, shall we? [01:34:30] Oh, you have a question. You're allowed to ask the question go sit over. [01:34:35] When we're all talking about kind of purpose and legacy and stuff. When you're doing those harder pieces of writing, because I feel like we've all service one another's but we've all done those harder pieces of writing and how to projects. What is it that you're picturing what's driving you to keep going? And we're talking about? We're talking about queer joy as well as thinking about those moments of queer joy that does it or is it Thinking about the things that you want to change or a combo of the two winners. [01:35:05] I think for me, this makes me think of this. There's one poem in the book, which addresses the surgeons brain that addresses like the way that Dr. James Berry has been written about by other writers. And I felt that it was necessary to have that in there to provide context to the rest of the book. But I found that the hardest poem to write because you're in it's a found poem, so it's taking taking language from different sources, and in turning it into something else. And yet, I really struggle because the language is often horrible. And you sort of think, well, is it actually necessary to put that in there, you know, like, and going back and forth. I think, for me, I go back to this, like, like, 10 year old me like, before I learned social skills and, and stuff. And I was just realised, like, I'm all about the truth. Like, I was, like, really intense about, like, everything must be accurate and truthful. And like all this kind of like, I don't know where I was getting it from, but kinda like went back to that. And I was kind of like, that little kid, like, whatever was going on there, like, would need that poem, and would need the full picture. And so it wasn't, it wasn't really, it wasn't really a joyful thing. Exactly. But it was just the sort of like, I think for me, and definitely not for everyone, but there's an element of like, needing the nasty in there, too. And I am quite driven by, I don't know, accuracy. It's a weird thing for a poet to be driven by. But yeah. Interesting question from the audience. [01:36:40] I think the hardest poems I've ever had to write the ones where it's like, telling a stranger a secret. So the poems and haisa Mask, which is, which are all about coming out, and talking about where I lost my virginity, and how that they were, the ones were like, Oh, dear God, why am I doing this? And, you know, right before the launch for his mask, I said to me, I was like, What the fuck have I done? This is a big mistake. But I am glad that that's out there. Because it's in the writing of, of his mask. And the running of supermodel minority has been my way of entangling and excavating those moments in my life and figuring out what they mean to me. And, you know, the fact that they are in these books in between two covers must mean something to me. And that's, that's, that's, I think, what drives me to push myself and to write about those hard moments, there are poems that we'll never see the light of day, because they are definitely not for someone else to read. They are they are the things that are for me. And, yeah, I will make sure that I burn those before I die. [01:37:57] Yeah, I'm just completely lost what I was going to say as soon as I turn the mic on, but I'll get to it. Yeah, I think it's, yeah, it's interesting, like talking about, like, queer joy and stuff, because that's kind of initially what I was trying to do with Anomalisa. You know, it's like, kind of high school romance, like summer fling sort of vibes. But yeah, it's kind of, it's sad, but true, that kind of, you can't really have that you can't always have that uninhibited joy. You know, otherwise, we wouldn't, you know, kind of be living in a society in a way. And obviously, you know, things do need to change. But I think there is definitely a power and kind of showing the contrast between the joy and then the things that kind of hold it back. Like for me, you know, a lot of the poems in anomaly are about, you know, these two lovers who are like, you know, surgically divided and it's kind of, you're always under the magnifying glass, you're always being dissected in some way. Kind of, you know, you can't have that joy without being observed and judged by others. And yeah, I think it's, it can be quite powerful to, you know, really contrast that, you know, there is this joy, and then look at all these things that hold it back. We need to kind of try and get rid of them as much as we can. [01:39:20] Beautiful, thank you. Anybody else in the audience? Yeah. [01:39:24] Continuing this, like, discussion on legacy. I'm really interested in how as queer people we very often like look to history and like archival knowledge for kind of case studies of how to like live lives, as queer people and how difficult that is because so often what we find is like so fragmentary and like has been raised. But I feel like as poets that space can like give us So I can potentially leave you slight space for like imaginative work and like, you know, space for you to create. And I just curious how any of you, like work in that kind of space in your own work? [01:40:18] I can give that one a go. Yeah, I mean, it's, it was really the challenge for me for writing. The surgeon's brain, I guess, was that you have these points of knowledge about this person's life, and then you just have these big gaps. Or you have these like ambiguities like one of the central mysteries of James Barry's life is that he was accused of having like a homosexual love affair was essentially the king of the, of the colony at the time of South Africa. And this was this huge scandal, and was resolved with basically that that roller leaving in James berry leaving shortly after, and then it all kind of being swept under the rug. And then you have this big question if you're writing a book about this person. And this is one of the things that, you know, we know the most about, but we actually don't even know if it's true, you kind of have to make that call like. And that's really well, maybe you don't, but I felt like it's very hard to write the book without making that call. And, like, in a way, that is nice, because I could find something tender there and bring something to life that possibly never existed. But if it didn't exist for them, it would have existed for someone else. And that story has been lost. So it felt truthful, in a way to me, but in a way that you know, when you read the more historical biographies, of course, they have to deal with it differently, which is kind of like the power of poetry. Yeah, so I'm glad that I'm writing in a medium that doesn't require footnotes, although I do sometimes use footnotes, but not in the way that you'd think. [01:42:03] Yeah, I've got some reckons on this one. But do you want to go first? America first. Okay. Yeah, for the next. So my book that's coming out next year, I feel bad now, because I've mentioned it twice. And my family be like, ah, that's bragging. But anyway, so that book, the first part of it, is the history of TYT. And I moved from the beginning of the world when the world was saying into being up until the settlement, basically, when that part took me a year to write, and it's only about 11 palms, it's not overly long. And kind of writing that historical stuff and wanting it right and looking at everybody's different perspective, because you've got, you've kind of really got, you've got five different iwi as well, it's not just quite, and you don't want to make, you have all these Auntie's, you know, on a person who went off, and you're just a little girl, and you're just trying to be nice to everyone, you know, it was really challenging to come up with a vision that suited everybody. But it couldn't be done, I think. And the other part was that I've got people like this character, Honeycomb Mo, and we have lots of different artwork of Panama, we've got my Thai key and, and other artwork as well. And she, Annie ponemos, chased across the world by honey Walker, the sandstone woman. And for me, that's kind of a metaphor of, of an abusive relationship as this honey Walker shapes her near Ponemah, how she wants and grinds her down over time. So was kind of looking at it as that kind of relationship and I'm quite scared because it could come out and they could be, they could be people around who are like, not my honey Ponemah. Not that you can't just make an aswa. And again, abusively, because you feel like it. But then if you look at the FACA, Papa, and if you look at the fact that you can pick up a piece of onomah and a piece of sandstone, and if you rub them together, that's what's going to happen. Like it's also physically there. And you can say, this is what I can draw from that. So yeah, I think it's those things of having levels and being able to look at it as physically elemental. And also being able to look at it as a storyline and being able to look at it through everyone's different perspectives, was really helpful for that. And I think poetry is so powerful and the way that you can be as specific or as far away as you want, in kind of thinking about that camera lens and how far you zoom then, but is that right? zoomed in, you can just see, you know, something slicing it's something else. And there's it's so far zoomed out, but you just know that those two things are there and there's right in the middle where it's two people. And yeah, just playing around with it alive. Thank you. Yeah, I [01:44:50] feel like I kind of, in a way insert myself into histories that aren't mine. I'm like a big fan of you know, like all the Dead Poets. and kind of that old aesthetic like this sort of, you know, Victorian splendour, you know, being a Byronic poet weeping over mushrooms, you know, that sort of thing. Yeah, and I think I always just kind of thought that I just liked the aesthetic. And you know, to some degree that is true. But I think at the same time, I often like inserting myself into these histories, because I kind of wouldn't have belonged there, you know, you never see kind of queer people in that era, you know, it was very repressed, there were those like, strict moral laws. And, you know, these poets like they were often like punished for being homosexual, like Oscar Wilde, who I mentioned quite a lot, literally got sent to prison for growth and decency. So I think kind of reinserting yourself back into that aesthetic and kind of, you know, putting yourself next to all these old poets like not in a self centred way, but more in a way of kind of, like kindred ship and kind of being like, yeah, I would have also been kind of oppressed in this era. And now I can kind of take these ideals for my own in this one. [01:46:11] Thank you. And just like that, we are out of time. I know there were other questions, but our poets will be hanging out so you can talk to them. And I just want to again, say SUPPORT THE MAN Hey, go and buy their incredible books. Toku PURPA. And I'm on M and N normally, yeah. Did I get it? Yes. Fuck yeah. Emily. Okay, the surgeons brain and supermodel minority. So please support those incredible books. I think that I'm going to hand over here and thank you so much for being with us. And we're going to have some more thank yous I think. [01:46:55] Thank you so much around of applause for our wonderful also a huge round of applause for our TFS who also has a book out they said it's such a privilege to be able to listen and cry and laugh and you're also wonderful and beautiful and thank you so much. I just want to close with a kind of clear and thank you all for coming out on a Friday night on this long weekend of celebrating morning. I'm not sure what whatever you're doing to acknowledge the long weekend here in May Hear me the key theory tapanui Key Awatea care mama kinako tema T mama T wider et other Takata Kuya normal fucka like, like a curvier archaic raga Kia Tina, who you Tige

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