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Samesame But Different: Te Whanganui-a-Tara edition [AI Text]

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Hello and welcome everyone. Um, I'm just going to start with a karakia. Whakataka te hau ki te uru, Whakataka te hau ki te tonga, Kia mā kina kina ki uta, Kia mā tāra tāra ki tai, E hi ake ana te atakura, He tīho, he huka, he hauhū, Tīhei mauri ora. Thank you so much National Library and Alexander Turnbull Library and Creative New Zealand and all of our regular sponsors. for [00:00:30] 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 and throughout the months. Um, also shout out to Garage Project for beer for making me not read this in order. This session, um, Is [00:01:00] part of the wider Same Same But Different program and we're really grateful to the volunteer board who put so much time, energy and passion into creating platforms that elevate, that elevate and celebrate our wonderful rainbow writers. Because COVID did its COVID thing across February and March, a lot of our program 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 [00:01:30] 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 big intervenes. So we're really, really grateful to you, Tate, who I can't see, there you are, um, 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. are published by We Are Babies. Um, speaking of COVID, we chose this panel because [00:02:00] all of these wonderful writers sitting here today have released a book over the last few few years or weeks. Um, 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 and their works didn't get lost in the haze of time. pandemics and whatnot. So I'm going to hand over now to our wonderful chair Emily Wright who has also just released a new book, [00:02:30] um, Needs Adult Supervision. Just, was it like two weeks ago, three weeks ago? Um, so I'll leave it to you to Carry us forward. Kiara, uh.[00:03:00] Hoki au kina tauhu o te rohi nei, nō reira, tēnā koutou katoa. Um, kia ora, I'm Emily Wright, um, I'm a queer mum of two living in this beautiful city. Um, I'm an author and writer, but I'm so excited and very, very privileged to be here, um, for This same, same, but different Te [00:03:30] Whananui a Tara edition. On the stage, we have the most incredible queer poets and visionaries. I just feel so lucky to be here and you should all feel very lucky too. To be able to see them. So, um, I know that you will know many of them very well, but I'm still going to introduce every one of them to you. Um, I'm going to start by inviting each of our beautiful poets up to share a poem or piece of writing with you. Um, [00:04:00] 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 whare paku and I was like I'll ask the chair and then I realised I am the chair so I'm making that decision. So, um, we will do that after our beautiful readings you will have time to take a slash. So, um, first up, I am so excited to introduce to you Ruby Solly. Ruby is a [00:04:30] Takatāpue writer from Kātāhu Whānui. Ruby released Tokupapa last year, which is an exploration of identity and survival and belonging, and it is amazing. Um, it's not just me saying it's amazing. One review of Tokupapa in 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 [00:05:00] will find yourself in the scene, and the scene will pulsate and be luminous with life. Isn't that amazing? What a good review. Welcome, Ruby. I had this grand idea of writing a poem for my partner every year on our anniversary, but I only ever did one. But it's the thought that [00:05:30] counts. And that poem's done quite well, so I could have done it every year and everyone would have got something out of it. Anyway, this one's called six years and it was published in Columbia Journal. And I don't often write about relationships. I just, I never really have. And there was a poem that I got published in redraft journal when I was a teenager about the same person who I'm still with, Dan, they are real. And, um, and I remember giving them the book. When I thought we were going to break up forever when I went to uni. And I [00:06:00] was like, oh yeah, would you have this book? And we've got that book in our house now with my, my silly little, um, I signed it because I don't know why I thought that would be funny and cool. And it's, it's quite cringy, but it's, it's quite cute. And it's about all the things we did in high school. And then this is the one that came later called, called six years and Jillian Whitehead's actually doing an arrangement of it. Which is really incredible, and Dan's just like, Oh yeah, it's cool, the Jillian's doing my poem, that's really cool. But, yeah, I really like. [00:06:30] Six years. You pin 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 their body melt into rain that never stops breaking. Around here, the clouds just kept opening wider. We are trapped here in back rooms and baths of warm petrichor. It presses hands into our throats. [00:07:00] When we were teenagers, we would go months without touching each other. I would lie on the roof and make you new constellations. I'd see all the stars in a long line with you waiting at the end. The stars are so close now. I see all twelve heavens, and 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 [00:07:30] my chest, only to be shot again. Never crying when I pull my bones out to carve them. An auntie 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 dark in our closet. Your light beckons from the porch, unlocking warmth in every house I've ever lived in. We [00:08:00] 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 bulb, the warm smell of bread rising in the filaments. From the outside they see the sun and moon of this, the duality spiralling downstream, the bodies that span entire planes pressed into each other. What they don't see is me sitting gentle on the floor, you brushing my hair. [00:08:30] Accepting that I will not cut it until I've finished growing. Because of the way you touch me, I will be growing until my soul is too big for my body. Until it drips from my mouth. At home we're very much just two queers from Nongataha and Rotorua as well. It's like, it's not that romantic most of the time. It's usually a fight over who stole the other one's red bands, to be honest. Um, [00:09:00] I'll probably do another one. This one's exciting in a way because, um, I have a new book coming out next year in, what month, April, hopefully April, and called The Artist and it follows a whole bunch of Kaitahu and Waitaha and Katimamui Pūrākau, kind of the history of the South Island, and then kind of following through. Thank you. A semi fictitious family as well, with a lot of kind of matakiti [00:09:30] elements in it, um, looking at our different cave paintings and technologies. And this is a, this is a scene between a character called Ririmai, who has pounamu eyes. And, um, identifies as they, them in the text. It's kind of never really stated, but we kind of know what's going on. And then there's also a character called Hine Pounamu, who's a woman made of pounamu, and whakapapa is back to the pounamu atua. So this is them coming together. It's called [00:10:00] touching. At this point in time, Rere is only a picture of what they have been taught to understand. Stone is sacred, but still stationary, with a time scale far longer than that of man. Us humans with our fast movements, with generations spilling forth like water from an underground spring. But now in these waters of potential, these ahuru mōwai, stone is alive. A pulsing thing that [00:10:30] rises and falls, each breath building over a century of growing within the lungs. A time lapse of one million years plays out in Deddy's 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. Their epicentre of themselves, their centre of the circle. When they touch, something stirs within there, something deep and dark, and when that [00:11:00] feeling fills them completely, they open their eyes. In their pounamu gasping to see the worlds of stone, sheltered inside the bones of the descendants of this land. These pounamu spheres, these worlds that contain nothing but forest and ocean, nothing but seabeds and forest floors on which they may lay. And in that moment, light is flooded into Ririmai. No, not light. For all but the stones is still just a black velvet [00:11:30] wrapped around the consciousness. But within that soft darkness she is centered, a silhouetted brilliance of green. Mokokauwai chiseled by an even stronger stone. Delicate hair strands stronger than steel wrap themselves around daddy's hands as it all slips away and they are there. The cursed child now grown and the woman made of stone. Learning how stone takes on the heat of what it is surrounded by, as Rere Mai's hands and body [00:12:00] moves upon her. As she moves over Rere, searching for heat and the gentle pulsing of earthly blood, safe within the body. Their kete of knowledge falling apart at the seams, unravelling to muka. Ready for a new reality to be woven. Nice. This is my last one. It's a short one, hopefully. Um, I've been spending a lot of time recently for my research down a place called Waihao, which is near, near, um, [00:12:30] where is it? Yeah, it's near Morvin and, um, Waimate as well. If that's in between, like, people are still like, uh, um, in between Amaru and Timaru. And, um, this was a story I got told, passed down. And we have, um, an amazing beach there, and all of the stones are very flat, right, and circular. And, um, one of our elders said that they used to be as big as dinner plates, and the kind of scientists that were working on climate change in the area said that couldn't be true. [00:13:00] And so they just went there with a digger, and they just dug them up, pretty much, and proved that that was the case. And, yeah, so, being down there recently, there's things like we can't drink our water. Um, so it makes things, things difficult, and we can't swim in our awa. But this is about those little things we do and about those changes. It's called tōka, so being southern or stone. Where I'm from we had rocks like dinner plates, skipping stones for demigods, standing in their [00:13:30] puddles that became our lakes, throwing the schists gentle across the water. New islands cracking through the sand, painful blossoms moving grey through the air. Workman's stones to shape your bones on, to carve the bone to china, new combs for new women. Flaking out as pieces of the whole, flakes and pieces, splinters of DNA scattering to kahau e whā. Housing stones, stacked up, earth clad and reeking of havoc and home. And here is where we string our hands together [00:14:00] until we can pull them free to let cloaks emerge from our fibres. Shrinking stones now, washing up for these demi gods turned semi demi, these equals to birds, but not to planets. Palm sized tumutumu tapping terra firma and tinctures brewing from kawakawa that grows now in the northern way, even though the stars shine different. Here, Tutumaeao shining like New Year's Eve. It's disco ball dropping silently apart from that tumutumu tap, tap, [00:14:30] tap. Smaller pebbles now, shaking inside the huerara. 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 in. Those small pebble fences, unclimbable before collapse. We wait for sand, but we are not a desert people anymore. The haeringa from Egypt, widely contested, reported, contrasted, all [00:15:00] while we were coming normal. Growing purako in our bellies, swelling up and sweating out, yelling through mouths that gape in awe at mountains. We are too sore to climb after all of this goddamn growing. They snowglobe us. Frozen plastic downpouring 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 satellites searching for intelligent life below the cusp of water. [00:15:30] And so we dig, sweating the salt back to the shore, aching backs, moving through sand, then pebble, then stone, down and down to the schists. of it. Piles and piles of schist. Rocks to press on your chest to help you drown yourself to save the earth. 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.[00:16:00] That was incredible. You are so incredible, Ruby, that thank you for treating us with that. Um, next we have Cadence Chang, who's, when I was looking at Doing, um, the introduction for Cadence, I was so wildly impressed, as you all will be as well. Her debut collection, Anomalia, um, was released by We Are Babies, and was written in her [00:16:30] final year of high school, which is Beyond incredible. I mean, I was just pissed 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 In Blind Faith at Batts Theatre was a huge success. And she performs in verbs literal with mad heart, sapphos, [00:17:00] fragments, and song. New Zealand Poetry Shelf reviewed Animalia and said, Cadence has probed into the tender flesh of being human with scalpel and penetrating lens and laid the seeping wounds and insights into the clearing that is poem. They're really good at reviews there, aren't they? Like, you do not get reviews like that in the Hawke's Bay today. Um, welcome Cadence. We're so happy to have you here.[00:17:30] Thank you. I always hate doing stuff like this when all the other people are really witty. And I'm like, great, now I have to be funny. But I, like, didn't plan 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 merely in your mouth, [00:18:00] is upheld to rigorous standards, open to the damp yellow of prying eyes. Not a single skin has been left untouched. Every flesh gets culled 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, [00:18:30] in which the gossamer thread of life is just another thing to snap. Like a neck. Like a neck under a boot. Like a piece of fishing wire to get caught up in the bulging wet slick of a fish's mouth. In which all the poets of old were dirty liars because among anomalies, love is nothing but lust and chemicals. or desire, or selfishness, in which we can categorize humans into unuseful or unwanted or abnormal, in which two girls sleeping together should be surgically [00:19:00] 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 are not beautiful, but sticking their bare pussies 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. [00:19:30] No love, no dance, no grove, no sound. These anomalies may be allowed to exist, but God help us from actually seeing them here. In these realms of facts and logic. can 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?[00:20:00] Thank you. I'm realizing I've chosen really dark poems for all of this, but oh well. Establishing myself as like the emo queer poet, you know, I've got a lot of composition, but you know, start early. This next poem is called Warning Note. 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 its [00:20:30] valves to pull out the clots, dark 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 It's rare to see a good woman like you these days. He licks his lips, crusted with white in the corner. He takes a gulp of the reeking beer 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 [00:21:00] you where you're from. Then tells you the best years of his life were spent in China. As he's saying this, his friend spills beer on his jeans 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 all your blood has slipped down into your fingers to make the scalpel go in cleaner, like your whole body is overcompensating being alive because it's not sure how much more it 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 [00:21:30] 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 [00:22:00] response, no refuge. Trying to 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 [00:22:30] DNA replicates in the warm wash of blood. I imagine these cells dancing. I think of myself as greedy. I think of a heart that offends and demands more than it can have. Like the lunar moth that has no mouth, no stomach, no organs, just paper thin wings and a craving for life. A craving for selfish, selfish love. Like the fat cuckoo sitting in a warbler's nest, crying for food from a mother who cannot provide for such a [00:23:00] selfish child. I'll gorge myself on worms slicking down my throat, or chew the crisp white root of grass with the very tips of my teeth. I'll sink to the bottom of the ocean, resurface as a smooth stone, to be kept and treasured in a little girl's bedroom, plucked and admired with pudgy hands. I love you like you were something to keep, Something to admire on a shelf, Something dripping with the Pacific. Because I am selfish, and I won't [00:23:30] deny it, girl. I wanna taste the sun, even if I might fall. Wanna be something you put away on your ramshackle shelf. Forget about Find again, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Thank you so much, . That was, oh, I could listen to you talk all night. Beautiful. Um, Oscar Upton has followed up his incredible debut, [00:24:00] poetry collection, collection new transgender blockbusters with a book that is equally transcendent. The Surgeon's Brain, published by Te Hirana Waka University Press. The book is a not entirely non fictional account of Dr. James Barry, described by Oscar as a pistol toting jeweler, and eris these are some words that I can't even say. Okay, we'll skip it. Grudge holder, [00:24:30] a vegetarian and obsessive cleaning cleaner and a brilliant military surgeon who served throughout the British empire, traveled the world with a small menagerie of animals and advocated for public health reform. Barry was also a transgender man living in the Victorian era when transgender was unknown and Western thought the surgeon's brain was reviewed as marvelous. Startling, heart jolting reading, so very much looking forward to hearing you, from you, Oscar. And I'm sorry they [00:25:00] chose a bogan for a chair who can't say big words. Forgive me. I'm gonna be up here. I quite like having something to just like, um, 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 word. [00:25:30] So just, you know, it's, it's all good. Um, uh, I'm just going to read, um, three poems from this book. Uh, this book has a real narrative to it. A lot of things happen. Um, and so it can be hard to read a part of it. Um, but hopefully I've. I've chosen some poems that kind of fit together as a, as a little, little bit of a story. Um, 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 [00:26:00] the book, which is a little bit embarrassing for me, but, um, it's a really nice cover. Uh, the, this, so this is the first poem of the book. It's called Coming into the World. We are never closer. We will not be close again. This is old to you. You have birthed my brother and seen babies born many times. For me, it is all new. Space around my arms and legs is new, cold is new and painful, [00:26:30] breathing in this way is new, and 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 this bed, it is like I am dead already. The sun does not even reach the paint of my window, and no one calls. My lungs are weary with [00:27:00] too much breathing, and I have too much space between my chest and the ceiling above. Between my hand and my cup. I know too much. I've seen in my long career, baby's hands clenched around umbilical cords, dead babies, dead cords, live babies, live cords, dead men, dead women, live men, live women. In the room where I'm being born, [00:27:30] you start to bleed, and your aunt, 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 a distance But I took the long way around The long way around, and now I will tell [00:28:00] 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 watched my hand. I think she thought me illiterate. Small pleasure in [00:28:30] proving her incorrect. My codename is a real name that anagrams to itself. Each letter denotes a number, which denotes a house in my hometown. The landlady asks if I'll need meals, and I say I will. The landlady asks if I'll give her trouble and I say I will not. My window looks across the street into another window where a woman teaches people to dance. Some early [00:29:00] evenings I see graceful backs and necks turning in 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, tender mother, [00:29:30] three mothers, 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 gate and track the progression of her rheumatism. I open the front door. Tough mother. And then the door to the stairs, Spider Mother. And then the door to my room, Tender Mother. [00:30:00] And 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 in honesty, part stolen? Will I 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 lying still? This is a 60 [00:30:30] year jump, so a few things have happened. Am I a liar? Well, I've written things down, and in doing so changed 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 [00:31:00] times, many times. I told her the moon was a boat and I had sailed in it. Thank you. Thank you, Oscar. That was definitely podium worthy. Loved it. Um, so, finally, His Royal Highness Sir Christopher James Teese, our new Poet Laureate of Aotearoa, give us a twirl. [00:31:30] He almost needs no introduction. His third poetry collection, Supermodel Minority, is heartbreaking, heartwarming, uplifting, life affirming, and full of life and love. Don't give me that look, we all know it's true. Chris is a treasure and amazing, and is making space in the most gorgeous and generous And that's why he's our Poet Laureate. Welcome, Chris.[00:32:00] Thank you, Emily. Um, I've got three poems for you tonight as well. This first one is called Mike and Carl and Duncan and Martin. Every time a white man writes an opinion column bemoaning the caps locked 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 [00:32:30] discovering the meaning of life. Or strapped to a torture rack because no one trusts a Gaijin with a Kiwi accent and a creative writing degree. Why be opaque with your reckons 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 [00:33:00] social media engagement. Like being shot in the back while foraging for herbs with my gender fluid friends. Or a livestream of me starving to death while trying to save for a house. I used to dream of 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 they should be writing [00:33:30] Hamlet. My most memorable one night stands 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 sodden gold in my ears. I [00:34:00] 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 high and look them in the bylines unblinking. This next poem is called Identikit. When asked to explain the lines that lead to now, [00:34:30] you describe the shape of your body as it hits water, the shape of cold water, shocking muscle, the shape of fleshy chambers forced to loosen and acquiesce, the shape of your grandparents in 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 [00:35:00] blindfold. The shape of you and your parents standing in your grandparents driveway after being kicked out for talking to your auntie's white boyfriend. Your hand reaching out to someone you don't recognize in a dream. Their 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, [00:35:30] waking up to the smell of pi dan so yuk juk, the shape of a bowl designed to hold love. Love that is never spoken of, 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. Both 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, [00:36:00] 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, flashbacks 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. [00:36:30] 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 a path the world wouldn't let it look upon, in case it traced a line too 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. [00:37:00] Both your grandparents appear before you on the night you learn how to take off your blindfold, when you finally recognize the shape of acceptance, and how it might fit among the ruins of your rejections. It goes like this, the fights, the kisses, 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 [00:37:30] 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. Um, and one last poem. This is, uh, a poem inspired [00:38:00] and, um, a tribute to my dear friend, the poet and artist, Sam Ducker Jones. This is called Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy. Oh Boys! Oh, don't do that wasteland thing with my heart, and oh, in case you're considering it, you can love stone and clay with the same kinetic rigor with which you embrace the mountains and the thickened slip that comes to rest between touch and feel. Oh boys, sometimes I wear [00:38:30] myself out like an accelerator in lockdown or speed with nowhere to go. Oh, Geronimo. What do you say about lining up in single file to marvel at each other's crushes and exclamation marks and deep voiced 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, oh 440 hertz, a [00:39:00] thing harder than clay is the mind that first thought it. Oh boys, if we could all make husbands with our own hands and learn to love them without looking over our shoulders in the dark, never ever would the world question our unison, never ever would sashaying into happiness be a mark against our names. They'll find us in a room stacked with fluorescent vases. They'll find us swilling dry martinis and laughing about how we used to see dust instead [00:39:30] of glitter. Oh, happy celestial bodies. Oh, dreamsome days of O's and X's. Kiss, kiss, boys. Kiss, kiss. Thank you. Amazing. That's why he's the new Poet Laureate. We have this great panel, it's a really incredible mix of emerging poets and writers. So I wanted to ask Chris, do you accept your [00:40:00] new place as an elder and that you're no longer emerging? I felt old for the last 10 years. So yeah, um, I think it's, it's, it's all about context though. Right? Like I definitely in, in I'll tell her I'm definitely not emerging and I accept that. Um, but it was interesting seeing an American website, um, promoting my most recent book and calling me an emerging poet. So, you know, I, I'm, I might just move countries and be [00:40:30] emerging elsewhere and just, just keep hopping around. Yeah. Um, Cadence, I saw you describe Chris as your poetry uncle, which I thought was just the loveliest, sweetest thing. Um, you said his mahi is one of the reasons you started writing poetry. Um, so do you want to talk a little bit about that? Yeah, um, yeah, I got introduced to Chris's poetry in year 10. Um, when, yeah, our teacher, like, showed it to [00:41:00] us and, yeah, I was, like, just really floored by it, honestly. Um, I'd written poetry before, but I'd kind of written what I thought a 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 more 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 um, yeah, I [00:41:30] first read how to be dead in a year of snakes and that just really Yeah, stood out to me like all these poems kind of like a story but also a moment at the same time. Um, yeah, and then since then I've just like kind of harassed Chris as a fangirl at various events and eventually, yeah, like he's published my work in the spin off and stuff like that and I, yeah, I feel really honoured to No, the NZ Poet Laureate. No, I'm well enough to call him my poetry uncle anyways. One of Cadence's high school [00:42:00] English teachers emailed me out of the blue and said, oh, I've got this student who's writing poetry and, you know, can I send you some of her stuff? I was like, yeah, sure. Okay, cool. That's a whole bloody manuscript. I was like, what? It's probably like one of just a few manuscripts that Cadence has written since then. I think it's like six or something at this point. And Cadence, you spoke at Chris's launch of Supermodel Minority, is that right? So [00:42:30] it's, I would love to know, do you feel like you're really supported by, um, you know, your queer elder poets? Do you feel like community, um, do you feel that sense of community and feel supported by the queer poets community? Yeah, definitely. It's been really cool, honestly, entering this community. Um, 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 [00:43:00] was kind of old, but obviously I thought that, but no one told me that and I definitely wasn't getting that sense. Um, yeah, it's just been really cool, like reading poetry of 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, yeah, really incredible. The community of sort of, um, queer writers. It's small in New Zealand, but it's a pretty mighty crew. What does [00:43:30] being part of that community mean to you, Oscar or Ruby? Do you want to? Um, I wasn't given a microphone presumably for strategic reasons, but I've got one now. Um, yeah, I, I dunno. I think, um. I, I don't really get out much, so for me, a lot of the community is just like reading, um, by myself, but, um, I don't know, I just think it's so nice to like, I think, um, [00:44:00] something, um, I read recently was just about like there's not like one way to be a queer or a trans writer anymore. Um, and not that there ever was, but there was, I feel like a sense of like, this is what a trans poem is, or this is what a queer poem is. 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 recognizably 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 [00:44:30] take enormous strength from that. Um, because as a writer, you just have to find. Your place and you've got a map now, which is, which is really cool. Yeah, Ruby. Do you feel that sense of community? How much of that is a part of your mahi? I don't know why I thought you're gonna ask me a different question. Oh, I can if you want. That's fine. I have more questions. Oh yeah, I can answer that question. Um, yeah, I, I kind of, I'm part of a lot of [00:45:00] different communities and I think there's a really interesting space when you're kind of In the middle of all of them in 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, um, Poets and writers like, um, SMA Ranapiri and Michelle Rahurahu and Sinead Overby. And people like that who were also young and takatāpui and writers. So I feel like we kind of had this beautiful little [00:45:30] kind of powerhouse going of sharing work 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, but being Māori and being from, from other places and how you deal with all those things. Um, yeah, so that part of the community was a big deal for me. And I think, um, 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 it exceptionally well. But um, as soon as people kind of find out, people are like, [00:46:00] Ah, and then you're, 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 realized I was queer and what those experiences look like from writers and And people who engage with writing, yeah. Yeah, because it kind of speaks to that idea of what is a queer poet. Is it just a queer person who writes poetry? Or does the poem have to be inherently [00:46:30] queer? So, when you, do you consider that when you're writing? Would you say, I'm a queer poet first? Or what does it even mean to be a queer poet? Um, these questions are really hard. Um, Um, 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 [00:47:00] 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 gonna Be there. Um, but then I'm like really interested to 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 [00:47:30] be coming, coming out then. And is that still queer writing? Well, I think yes, because part of being a queer person is being someone who doesn't even think about it anymore because you're just bored of the whole thing. Um, but it's a different kind of writing. Um, And it's, I find it interesting how people, like, react to it, because I think people have certain expectations. Um, which can be, like, really positive as well, because they want, like, really good writing, or they want something that they feel reflected [00:48:00] in. Um, which is something I really just try not to think about, because otherwise it's like, well, it's all just gonna come out anyway, so I'm not gonna. Um, but yeah, it's kind of Interesting, all those different conversations that are happening about like expectations and um, yeah, things like that. We have this conversation a lot in kind of a Māori context in terms of like, if it's a Māori power, is it a Māori poem? And it's, and it's, and yes, it is. And it's kind of like, you can look at it in the same way here in terms of whakapapa, like [00:48:30] if it whakapapa is 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 it's, it's a beautiful thing. [00:49:00] I think that you can write as far away from it as you want, and it's still tied to it. I think when I started writing, like I've talked about this, But 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 or obviously queer for various reasons. And I think for me, a lot of my development as a writer and [00:49:30] As it has been about learning to let go of that, that constraint that I put upon myself because no matter what I'm going to write, it's going to have that sort of Asian ness or that queerness in any way, regardless of how explicit that might be. And that has actually been the most freeing thing for me as a writer to be able to just do it and not worry too much about it and be self conscious about it. Yeah, I thought it was interesting how Aska said, like, Often writing a poem you write about what you didn't even [00:50:00] know you were thinking about almost like it kind of yeah I was talking to one of my poet friends about this. Like yeah, it's almost a way of kind of understanding yourself Um, and I think especially as a queer person, you know, there's so many facets to queerness especially, um, or if 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 [00:50:30] 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 will be 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, wow, crazy quirky thing, but I think now it's just like, I've 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? 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 um, yeah, like I guess to some extent when you're writing stuff like [00:51:30] 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, hopefully. This has made me think I don't, realise I don't think about being queer at all. I just never think about it, and I realised that several months ago when I was, when we booked this, I was like, I'm able to do that, and then I was like, wait, what, I never think about this, oh no. But in terms of when I do writing and think [00:52:00] about audience, I listened to a, I think it was listening or reading a thing about, with Kahukutia about, she writes for a 14 year old, um, Maori girl growing up. We sure grew up in, on the lands of Ngāi Tūhoe. Um, and yeah, and she's Whakatāpui 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, is someone growing up on, a 14 year old queer Māori girl growing up [00:52:30] in Tuwharetoa lands, but being from somewhere else. So I'm kind of, I'm writing 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 went to say, normal people. Everybody else. And, you know, it's, it's something like I want [00:53:00] somebody to be able to read a poem through and not feel alienated if there's too much of things they 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 bit, it's still going to be okay. And I think often with kind of the queer parts of, of texts as well, that's often how I'll do it too, is kind of Think about what do people need to know, what can people get by digging a little bit further, and what information [00:53:30] needs to be protected so that it's just for people that it's intended for, if that makes sense. Yeah, I think for, um, for me that I've started to embrace not doing that over explaining thing, because The audience for me is someone with my experience, someone who comes from a similar cultural background and doesn't need to have everything explained and, um, spout [00:54:00] out for them. And I think that as a writer, 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. A certain poem has meant something to them when I was like, that was just me being stupid about Taylor Swift. But it's, you know, it's something about it has resonated and sometimes I do, I do quite selfishly and [00:54:30] 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. Um, 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 topical issue. And I'm hoping that it sort of resonates with someone. I think as well, it makes us really think about kind of audience size [00:55:00] and we. Yeah, I think we're really lucky in a way because we can write for whatever audience size we want. I've been thinking about this a lot recently with music and with taonga pūrō, which is what I do every single day because it's my PhD and it never goes away, but um, 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 per [00:55:30] or a family when they needed something and thinking about how we use poetry in those ways. And I've definitely seen, 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 unafraid of gays march with my parents and stuff like that. So, and the queer community would do that too. Someone would write something, and it would be for this specific person's [00:56:00] memorial, or be for this 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. That resonates with me so much. I think that's so beautiful. I think, um, 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, um, whether for me being queer is [00:56:30] inherently political as is being a mother. And I just wonder about whether you think your poetry is. A kind of activism and, and of itself and particularly, Oscar, I'm interested in, um, the surgeon's brain feels like it's kind of setting the record, um, straight around misgendering of, um, Dr. Barry. And do you have thoughts on that, around whether that was a clear aim or where activism [00:57:00] sits with your writing and, and how important it is or isn't? Um, yeah, I mean, It's kind of, like, complicated because, uh, basically, Dr. James Barry is someone who, for a very long time, has been seen as a woman, uh, who took on a male persona, um, either to chase a lover down who no one has been able to identify, um, or because, um, They just really wanted to be a surgeon. Um, [00:57:30] and, um, it's, it's kind of tricky because like I don't actually know like how Dr. Barry identified. Um, 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, that the essay that I have on James Barry's gender, um, didn't fit. And so we went with transgender man. Um, but I think I'm okay with that because I think once you've read. The biographies and the articles and [00:58:00] the everything that are just written from such an ignorant perspective and not necessarily a malicious one But just a really really uneducated one I did feel quite comfortable being like, oh, well, you're all very confident Um, 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 it is, like, it just inherently is, but, um, I guess I, I don't, just don't think that it felt, like, quite personal, um, and it felt like [00:58:30] a, a sort of a, 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, um, and so it was just a, 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 [00:59:00] I did want to I really like something Ruby said earlier and sorry again This is like not answering your question, but I'm about protecting things because that was another thing I think when you were 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 um just that thing of like, oh, this is like a real a real person and like with someone like James Barry a person Who the way they're being talked about is this very traumatic way in this way that really [00:59:30] 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 Retraumatize. Um, 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, um, thank you for those thoughts. I found them very helpful. Yeah, I could probably talk about the political thing. [01:00:00] Um, uh, 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 will be like, it's about the queen, it's about colonialism. It's about, the cat represents the British empire and it's the cat, 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 so many times [01:00:30] just to be a little shit and every time it works out this way and it's always been like that ever since I was like. 14 and I'm old now, but I think it's because it's impossible in some bodies to not be political every time you exist. And I think that, you know, that's, there's, there's burden to that, but there's also, there's also like a power and that's a power that people sense is what, why they think it's political. And I think it's [01:01:00] also really powerful to argue that it's not political and it's just what it's like to exist in those spaces. Cause I don't think I, Sometimes they do, like I wrote a poem about Elizabeth Darter 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 [01:01:30] inherently political, we've all, we've all got to do it, no matter what we do. I was interested in the idea that you described Tūkūpapa as a map of survival for Māori growing up outside of their papakaika. Um, if it is As political, um, 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 you feel pigeonholed to be [01:02:00] putting across that, or where does that come from for you? Yeah, I do feel a certain, it's not actually a sense of pigeonholing. In a way, it's more like I've made myself a nest, and now I have to make things in it. 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. There's showing people beauty, that's helpful. There's, um, showing people people like them, that's helpful. There's [01:02:30] showing people that it's okay to be angry, and ways and outlets for that anger, and that's helpful. Humor is helpful. And I think that all those things. Kind of can be, can be ways that can be helpful and the Maps of 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're really powerful. And like, I remember reading books by Honeymona Baker as well, like, and that were [01:03:00] really big kind of, oh, okay. Maybe I could actually be, 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 else. 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 reckon? Yeah, that sounds about right. Nice. [01:03:30] Chris or Cadence? A lot of where Supermodel Monitoring came out of was being asked by audiences at festivals, how do you solve racism? Will we live in a world without racism? Um, like, I don't fucking know. So this, this Expectation that people of color, that queer people can somehow provide the answer [01:04:00] because they've experienced X. How do we stop X from happening? That was what wore me down quite a bit. Um, and that's where Suhoomara 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, you know, starting again. Um, [01:04:30] so for, 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, I've. When I first started writing, I never considered myself a political writer. And then you sort of have that moment where it's like, Oh, I am. And, and I've always been quite. Reluctant to lean [01:05:00] into that, that part of myself and that part of my writing. And it's, it's been a bit of a journey, um, to, 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. [01:05:30] quote unquote traditional narratives that have been put out there about queer and POC people. So that for me is, is how I'm, the next step of how I'm going to question and challenge it. Yeah, I think it's, it's really interesting how you say when you started out, you didn't think of yourself as a political writer. Cause 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 going to write about nice things. And yeah, it was like a very delusional year 10. Like I remember going and seeing like a [01:06:00] play. About like feminism. It was really good. And then afterwards I was like, oh who needs that real stuff when you're a fantasy, you know I was so pretentious um, 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 [01:06:30] know being a queer Asian person Means that you are political like in 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. Um, 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 [01:07:00] out here existing. Um, yeah, and so There is definitely that sort of thing of like trying to, you know, be part of the community and be like the, the figurehead of it. But at the same time, you do just kind of want to write. What speaks to you? Um, 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 [01:07:30] to just write for yourself and to write about your own feelings and kind of process them. Thank you. Do appreciate these are hard questions. So I do really, um, appreciate this. Um, I want to talk about a pretty shitty thing next. So COVID, um, the thing no one wants to talk about. Um, I know that many of you, um, you know, we [01:08:00] were writing during the pandemic, releasing books during the pandemic. Um, 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, um, and just kind of what it was like for you doing that mahi, um, in isolation or during the pandemic. Yeah, I'm the human equivalent of a house cat that's like a little bit wild and kind of just wants to be left on its own most of [01:08:30] the time. But like occasionally I need a bit of a scratch and like a bowl of water and a treat. So I was, it was the ideal environment for me because I've got a shed and I just kind of was in my shed doing work and occasionally someone would check on me and it was just perfect. Um, I was working on lots of different things and I really liked it, but also it was the kind of thing where. I felt like I was sitting in one of the, the flasher waka at that time, you know, like I had, I had a house with a spare room, I had all [01:09:00] the stuff going on, and then I had lots of people I know who were really struggling during their times, and it was, you know, it'd be like, they'd be like, right, right. No time to write. So yeah, that's kind of how it was for me of trying to support people from afar and, but yeah, I just kind of, I just went full only child introvert zone and just like bailed up in my shed with a big list of stuff to do. Just did that the whole time and it was great. Wow, not having kids sounds [01:09:30] awesome. I'll have some and then I'll just be like, I'm not gonna do anything now and I'll just release a backlog of stuff. So it was a really productive time for you then as well as managing that care of community? 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, many people are a lot less accommodating and kind and it was kind of [01:10:00] like that first one it was really good because people were just really understanding and it was just great and it was like all of these inequalities popped up but some of them just really got, got dealt with really quickly and really easily and yeah and it 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 that little bit kinder. Um, there's a whole lot of, there's a lot less on, I don't have to worry about money. And yeah, it really made me think about the UBI and it made me think [01:10:30] about, I think it made everybody think about the UBI, hopefully mostly in positive ways. Um, yeah. And it made me kind of realize 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, yeah, felt political to even notice it, but that was a big part of the experience for me. Yeah, such a shame Labor fucked it, when it was like a great way of showing that UBI works, [01:11:00] but not to be political at all. But, Ine, what about you, Kada, during that time? Yeah, I was in year 11, when it started. Fuck off, next person. 20 years ago. Okay, but honestly, NCA level one would have been really hard for you at that time, because that was been a hard year to do it. Yeah, I remember Like 8. 45, like Google meets, uh, with the history class and there was like two people, my friend, like I [01:11:30] had my birthday in lockdown, actually in the second lockdown, my 18th. Um, and yeah, my friend in English class, like played like a, like weird solo, like a happy birthday on his electric guitar. Um, but I actually do agree that. It was quite a productive time for me, uh, especially because it wasn't, school wasn't as regular, like you didn't have to show up to everything, uh, apart from the one history teacher who of course was the 845 class. But, um, yeah, so I ended up doing a lot of [01:12:00] 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. Um, yeah, and of course there were like, Great publications like Stasis, um, who were, you know, like publishing stuff all throughout the lockdown. Um, yeah, I feel like I noticed quite a lot of poetry actually during the lockdowns. I think just because, you know, all the poets were trapped inside and just had time finally to [01:12:30] 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. Um, so Emma Barnes and I. We're editing out here at the time and we had this timeline and then it got completely fucked by COVID in the first lockdown And 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 [01:13:00] access libraries it 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, um, editing and working with Emma on, on, on the anthology. 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. And in fact, I, you know, I, I spent most of it [01:13:30] just, you know, other than working on out here, just going for long walks and just thinking about, um, what I wanted 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 boom, 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. Um, in the end, it kind of worked out, but I remember [01:14:00] at the time just feeling very frustrated about not being able to. What I wanted out onto the page Yeah, um, I had a really interesting time with the first lockdown because that's when I wrote uh the book about the surgeon's brain about james barry and um just uh, like for context so, um, he was mostly sort of Active, I suppose, in the early to mid 1800s, and this is kind of pre germ theory, so, so people think that disease is spread by, like, [01:14:30] miasma, like bad air, um, and, um, he was, uh, also a contemporary of Florence Nightingale, and a lot like Florence Nightingale, and almost no one else at the time, um, he thought handwashing was really important, and he would go, basically, from hospital to hospital, he would, 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 was like five foot two And so, [01:15:00] um, they would wash their hands and 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 leidinger They actually hate they did meet in the crime era and they hated each other um, 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 mum and all my siblings at [01:15:30] 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 was this really weird thing of like the art in the, and life just, um, converging in this way that probably wasn't very healthy for me, but, um, I think it improved the book. So it is fantastic. And. [01:16:00] So, am I right in thinking out here launched, um, 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 a book. Emma and I had like, before we'd even finalized 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 [01:16:30] and like, yeah, we would like. Really sad and 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 anti climax because you know, we'd 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 and read and and be part of this sort of thing that we'd [01:17:00] 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, and it's continued to, um, to, to sell, you know, almost a year since this publication, but we, we, 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, um, which is fine, but you know, it was like, oh, okay. [01:17:30] So my favorite New Zealand poetry out of everything. That is my favorite. It's like, where did this book have its sole reading? But we did have like an online event as part of same, same earlier this year, which was really great. And, uh, Emma and I both went down to word crush a couple of weeks ago. And that was like our first in person event together. And that was really lovely. And, um, it, it, it really reinforced, um, this. The magic that happens when you can bring [01:18:00] people together like this and celebrate a book or celebrate an anthology and celebrate the writers that are 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 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, um, not just in terms of writing, but like part of my day job is, is, you know, events as we knew them. are going to have to change, [01:18:30] you know, even tonight with, with having a live stream element. Um, and what does that look for? And what does that mean for festivals and, and art events like this? Yeah. 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 gifts. 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. [01:19:00] And my boss went, better get the good coffee then. And 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. Cause after a while you're just like. Ah, yes. Okay, well. So you were 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 like you had to keep your [01:19:30] spirits up or are we just kind of used to being really badly paid? I did this really crazy thing, I shouldn't say that, but then I think about it and I'm like actually maybe it was crazy at the time, but I like, kind of, when I saw the stuff was happening overseas, I was like, if that comes here, we're going to be quite fucked, aren't we? I'm going to 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 four week [01:20:00] 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, well I know why, but it just seems very unlike me. Usually I panic and I just do something at the last minute, but really, yeah, that panic worked well. Yeah, I mean, I definitely had quite a few cancelled poetry events. Um, luckily for me, you know, since I was a high school student, um, income didn't matter too much yet. [01:20:30] 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, um, who, you know, should have been there in real life. Um, yeah, so I think it's kind of like. Emerging out of a cave almost, like now that we can have live events, um, yeah, and just kind of getting used to it again. One of the defining moments of that first lockdown, so I think [01:21:00] everyone was panicking about losing events and, you know, this move to online and digital and virtual events. So I, I helped sort of organize, um, uh, an online reading for Pegasus. Um, and we. You know, this was, this was before people were really, like, used to using Zoom on a daily basis, and, and Rose Lu and I, you know, got a few people together and thought, all right, we're going to do this, you know, these are the readers, this is what we're going to do, and we did this online reading, and, like, [01:21:30] 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. And I just thought, Oh my God, what is happening to the world? Like this is, is this what we've got to deal with now? But we learn a lot from that one. And then the second one, we were much more prepared and there were no penises. I have the recording if anyone wants it.[01:22:00] Did people just read on? Was it like there were dicks everywhere? But Sam was like, And then I saw, it just kept going. It's really unlikely that there will be any penises tonight. Um, Oscar, do you have anything to say about that? Um, not that precisely, but, um, on the, the cancellations, um, I had a great time with the launch of The Surgeon's Brain because I [01:22:30] think it was delayed like three times. Um, and then this was like, I think this was, yeah, like early, early last year. And then, um, no early this year, Oh God, I don't know what is time. Um, anyway, it was in the past. It happened in the past and, um, yeah, just keep getting delayed. And then we had a day 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 there were all these rules as well. It was like, no food, no drink, masks on all the time, which like totally support that, but not [01:23:00] a fun time. Um, but I was like, okay, you know, just we'll get it done and it will be, it will be, it will be nice. Um, and then the day of, I was like, um, I was at work and it was like, oh, that, like that process that's happening. It's like. Kind of something's going down, um, and, oh, like, um, like the slide's on fire, maybe. And then I got an email from Unibooks being like, due to security reasons, we have cancelled your book launch tonight.[01:23:30] Um, so I can't blame, well, maybe, I don't know. It's complex, eh? Um, what caused that? But, um, Yeah, so I didn't, I didn't get a launch for the Surgeon's Brain, but um, I mean, just to like, bring it back around, um, to community, which we were talking about much earlier, Um, 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 have like specifically said to me, I know you didn't get a launch, [01:24:00] so I thought maybe you could read it this, which is like, just really lovely that people think of that sort of thing, um, I actually don't, I, I find the idea of have book launches like quite scary because it's sort of like, you know, spotlight kind of thing, like those ones, um, but, um, you know, it is also like, Kind of a, it's like a, it's like the birthday party for your book, you know? So like, it does feel like you should mark it. Um, and I just feel like I don't miss the fact that I didn't have one at all, because like the community just [01:24:30] wrapped around me and a lot of other people and, um, just kind of made events for us, um, which has been really, really cool. Yeah, I love attention so I had three book launches. Um, I think as well that what I've seen that's been quite nice is accessibility around events now where there is this finally this kaupapa of like giving a shit about disabled people and immune compromised people and having masks wearing and [01:25:00] Um, 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, um, but I do want to talk about the theme of this year's Same Same is legacy and cadence. You've referenced a lot of writers in your work and Chris is our poet laureate, which is of course, um, legacy making in itself and out there. Um, [01:25:30] You know, as a queer anthology was, you know, a huge part of this legacy now is that book and how wonderful it is. Um, Toku Papa, um, is all about legacy from parent to child and belonging and home and Oscar, your book around revitalizing and retelling trans stories. So you should all have lots to say about legacy. I feel like I framed that well, right? Um, Basically you're all creating works [01:26:00] that speak to legacy, um, 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. Shall I go while people have a little thinky think? Okay, um, yeah, mine was real interesting with that legacy concept because obviously it was a book about my dad, um, Me and my dad are really close, but also like, I feel like we haven't talked in three months, but we're also really close, you know, those kind of people.[01:26:30] Um, and I think for him, he'd had a lot of experiences in his life where his mana wasn't acknowledged. And it was a really amazing opportunity to acknowledge his mana 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 that's a really special thing. And there's like all different kinds of relationships that queer people have. And yeah, like I have a really [01:27:00] special relationship with my dad. And with a lot of, of guys who are kind of, of 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 mana 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 Whittles and I'll get a [01:27:30] blurry photo of him from my stepmom and it's beautiful. And, um, yeah, the whole process, even from doing the cover. During the cover, he, um, where the mataora that's on his face is, it's a painted on one. He doesn't have one in real life. And after that, he kept it on till we went, so we went and saw my nana, and then he wanted to keep wearing it. And he wore it for the rest of the day, he wore it to the pub, he wore it to his girlfriend's house, he wore it everywhere. And it was just [01:28:00] really cool to see him doing those things and having that picture even was like a huge mana enhancing thing. And I know that. You know, generation down. I'm from a family with lots of writers. Um, Arihia Latham is my cousin and Geri Te Kapa Coates is her dad. And apparently we're related to Kerri Helm. And every time I go down south and say our last name, people are like, oh, Kerri Helm. But I don't know how we're related to her, so I leave it. Um, but yeah, and there's a big thing of bringing those works. [01:28:30] home and having manuscripts, you know, like people talk about our whānau manuscript and it being a big deal. And yeah, so being able to create those has been a, a huge thing. I love legacy work and being able to, to write that down for people. 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 where, you know, a lot of [01:29:00] us, um, 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 naff belief that my writing was going to be my legacy, um, which, you 20 something year old, you think, yeah, this is the thing I'm going to leave behind. And, and I, 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 [01:29:30] important to me now is that I recognize that Chinese New Zealand narratives, queer Chinese New Zealand narratives have been practically invisible. And this is, and everything that I'm doing is, is just my way of trying to create the legacy. And it 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 [01:30:00] and, and, and own that part of, 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 10, 20 years time, people are going to be reading my books or anything like that. You know, from what I gather, my legacy at the moment is a poem about playing cards against humanity with my mom. [01:30:30] Not the really great poems about being Chinese New Zealand. Um, no, I just, I just, but yeah, it's, it's, there's a thing like you, you don't know what your legacy is going to be because you're not going to be around to. To see it happen. So I'm just gonna just keep doing what I'm doing and try not to let that weigh too heavy on me. Um, I really, like, relate to a lot of that, um, about [01:31:00] creating legacy and, like, not feeling equal to it. Because, um, yeah, I think, like, that's what, This latest book I wrote was really trying to do was just feeling like, um, 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, Oh, I'm not necessarily the best person to do that. But like, if I don't like who is going to do that? Um, I guess I, I guess I [01:31:30] will. Um, and constantly feeling a little bit Overwhelmed by the enormity of that task, but then it's also, um, It's also really cool because then you kind of have a legacy that you didn't feel you had before. Um, and then hopefully maybe other people relate to it as well. But, um, that's, um, almost out of my hands really in a way. Um. Yeah, so that's sort of how I think about it. Anyway. Yeah, [01:32:00] 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 Anomalia, 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 [01:32:30] showed off to the world, but kind of the little more private parts of them that kind of showed more who they truly were. Um, 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 in lots of different little places. Um, and yeah, I feel like I really try and I love to like uncover that sort of thing in my writing. [01:33:00] Um, 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 in Anomalia 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 for 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 to try and be the [01:33:30] greatest or representative of anything. I'm just going to Right to what I want to and hopefully someone might remember it or might not. Lovely. Okay, we're going to have some questions from the audience and I'm going to come to you with a microphone. Um, or I'm not going to, am I? Or am I not? Oh, they're running away. Are we? Are we? Oh, we've got microphones. Wonderful. [01:34:00] 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. Hello. I'm looking forward to a post Unity book launch with the whole combined group of you. Could you do a post book launch? Yes. Shall we? Oh, [01:34:30] you have a question. You're allowed to ask the question. Um, when we were all talking about kind of purpose and legacy and stuff, um, When you're doing those harder pieces of writing, cause I feel like we've all, some of us more than others, but we've all done those harder pieces of writing and or harder projects. What is it that you're picturing and what's driving you to keep going? And we talk about, um, I mean, we talk, we talk about queer joy as well. And is it thinking about those moments of queer joy that does it, or is it [01:35:00] thinking about the things that you want to change or combo of the two? Where does it lie? I think for me, this makes me think of these, there's one poem in the book, which addresses. Um, the, in the surgeon's brain that addresses, um, like the way that Dr. James Barry 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. Um, but I found that the hardest poem to write because you're, and it's a found poem, so it's taking, taking language from different sources and, [01:35:30] and turning it into something else. Um, And yeah, and I really struggle because like 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 and stuff. I think for me, I, I go back to this like, um, like 10 year old me, like before I learned social skills and, and stuff. And I was just real, I was 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, um, [01:36:00] kind of like went back to that and I was kind of like that little kid, like whatever was going on there, like, um, would need that poem and would need the full picture. Um, and so it wasn't, it wasn't really, it wasn't really a joyful thing exactly, but it was just this 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. Um, and. I am quite driven by, I don't know, [01:36:30] accuracy? It's a weird thing for a poet to be driven by, but um, yeah. Interesting question, from the audience. Do you want to? I think the hardest poems I've ever had to write are the ones where it's like telling a stranger a secret. So the poems in Here's So Mask, which is, which are all about coming out. And talking about where I lost my virginity and how that they were the ones that were like, [01:37:00] Oh dear God, why am I doing this? And, you know, right before the launch for He's So Masked, um, I said to him, I was like, what the fuck have I done? Like, this is a big mistake. I, I'm glad that that's out there because it's, you know, the writing of, of He's So Masked and the writing of Supermodel Minority has been my way of. Untangling and excavating those moments in my life and figuring out what they mean to me.[01:37:30] 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 will never see the light of day. Because they are definitely not for someone else to read. They are the things that are for me. Um, and, yeah, I will make sure that I burn those before I die. Yeah, um, I've [01:38:00] just completely lost what I was going to say as soon as I turned the mic on. But I'll get to it. Um, yeah, I think it's, um, 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 Anomalia. Um, you know, it's like kind of high school romance, like summer fling sort of vibes. Um, 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 [01:38:30] joy, you know, otherwise we wouldn't. You know, kind of be living in a society in a way. Um, 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. Um, like for me, you know, a lot of the poems in Anomalia 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. Um, [01:39:00] kind of, you know, you can't have that joy without being observed and judged by others. Um, 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. Beautiful. Thank you. Anybody else in the audience yet? Continuing this like discussion on legacy. Um, I'm really [01:39:30] 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 erased. Um, but I feel like as poets, that space can, like, give you, [01:40:00] can potentially leave you, like, space for, like, imaginative. Work and like, you know space for you to create and i'm just curious How any of you like work in that kind of space in your own work? I can give that one a go. Um Yeah, I mean It's, um, it was really the challenge for me for writing, um, the, the surgeon's brain, I guess, um, was that you have these points [01:40:30] of knowledge about this person's life, and then you just have these big gaps. Um, or you have these, like, ambiguities, like, one of the central mysteries of James Barry's life is that, um, he was accused of having, like, a homosexual love affair with, um, essentially the, the king of the, um, of the colony at the time of South Africa. Um, And this was this huge scandal, um, and was resolved with, um, basically that, that, um, ruler, uh, leaving, [01:41:00] um, and 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, um, and that's really, well, maybe you don't, but I felt like, um, it's very hard to write the book without making that call. Um, and. Like, in a way, that is nice, because I could find something tender there, [01:41:30] and, um, 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's been lost. So, it felt truthful. In a way, to me, um, but in a way that, you know, when you read the, the more historical biographies, um, of course they have to deal with it differently, which is kind of like the power of poetry. Um, yeah, so I'm glad that I'm writing in a medium that doesn't require footnotes, although I do sometimes use footnotes, [01:42:00] but, um, not in the way that you'd think. Um, yeah. I've, I've got some recons on this one, but do you want to go first? You want me to go first? Okay, um, 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 will be like, oh, that's bragging. Um, but anyway, so that book, the first part of it is, um, the history of Te Wai Pounamu from the beginning of the world when the world was sung into [01:42:30] being up until the settlement. Basically. But that part took me a year to write, and it's only about 11 poems. It's not overly long. Um, 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 Kaitahu, and you don't want to make You have all these aunties, you don't want to piss anyone off, and you're just a little girl and you're just trying to be nice to everyone, you know, it was really [01:43:00] challenging to come up with a version that suited everybody. But it could be done, I think. And the other part was that I've got people like, there's a character, Hinepounamu, um, and we have lots of different atua of, Pounamu. We've got Waitaiki and, and other atua as well. Um, and she, Hini Pounamu is chased across the world by Hini Hoaka, the sandstone woman. And to me, that's kind of a metaphor of, of an abusive relationship [01:43:30] is this. Hinehoaka shapes Hine Pounamu how she wants and grinds her down over time. Um, so was kind of looking at that as that kind of relationship and I'm quite scared because it could come out and there could be, there could be people around who are like, not my Hine Pounamu, not that you can't just make an atua in a gay, abusive, lesbian relationship because you feel like it. But then if you look at the whakapapa and if you look at the fact that you can [01:44:00] pick up a piece of pounamu 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, you know, poetry is so powerful in the way that You can be as specific or as far away as you [01:44:30] want and kind of thinking about that camera lens and how far you're zoomed in. Like there's bits that it's right zoomed in where you can just see, you know, something slicing at something else. And there's it's so far zoomed out that 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 that a lot, I think. Yeah, I feel like I kind of, in a way, insert myself into histories that aren't mine. Um, I'm like a big fan of, you know, like all the dead [01:45:00] poets and kind of that old aesthetic, like the sort of, you know, Victorian splendor, you know, being a Byronic poet, weeping over mushrooms, you know, that sort of thing. Um, 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. Um, 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 [01:45:30] people in that era, you know, it was very repressed. There were those like strict moral laws. Um, 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 gross indecency. Um, 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 centered way but more in a way of kind of, like, kindredship and kind of being [01:46:00] like, yeah, I would have also been kind of oppressed in this era, um, and now I can kind of take these ideals for my own in this one. Thank you. Um, 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, um, chat to them. And I just want to again say, um, support their mahi. Go and buy their incredible books. Tōku pāpā. [01:46:30] Anomalia. Did I get it? Yes. Yeah, Emily. Okay, The Surgeon's Brain and Supermodel Minority. Um, so please support those incredible books. I think that I'm going to hand over here. Um, thank you so much for being with us. And, um, we're going to have some more thank yous, I think. Um, thank you so much. A round of applause for our wonderful poet.[01:47:00] And also a huge round of applause. for our chairperson who also has a book out, Need to Adopt Supervision. Um, uh, it's such a privilege. To be able to listen and cry and laugh and, um, you're all so wonderful and beautiful and thank you so much. I just want to close with a karakia and thank you all for coming out on a Friday night on this long weekend of celebrating mourning.[01:47:30] I'm not sure what, whatever you're doing to acknowledge the long weekend. Uh, Inuhia, Inuhia, Inuhia ki te uru tapu nui. Kia watea, Kia mama, Kia nākau, Te tina, Tīnana te wairua i te ara takata. Koia rā e rongo, whakakairia ake ki runga ki [01:48:00] a tīna, hui e, tāiki e.

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AI Text:September 2023