January 10, 2013
A new drawing by Michael O’Leary appeared recently on the cover of Mark Pirie’s poetry book Old Hat.
The drawing was commissioned by HeadworX Publishers.
It is a drawing of a blues hat to fit the blues motif of Pirie’s book, and is also a nod to hat wearing Bob Dylan and poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen.
January 10, 2013
An article on Michael O’Leary’s new book Wednesday’s Women by Jim Chipp appeared in December 2012 in the Kapiti Observer, The Wellingtonian and on the stuff.co.nz website at the link below:
November 14, 2012
Michael O’Leary’s latest artwork is a pen and pencil drawing of singer, songwriter and poet Mahinarangi Tocker (1955-2008).
O’Leary was asked to contribute the artwork for a special tribute issue to Tocker in broadsheet: new new zealand poetry no. 10 (November 2012), edited by Mark Pirie.
November 14, 2012
Public are welcome to the authors’ launches of Silver Owl Press publications at Petone Jail Museum in Jackson Street, Petone, 12.30, Friday 23 November and St Peters Hall Beach Road, Paekakariki, 1-4pm, Sunday, 25 November.
Dr O’Leary’s PhD thesis on three decades of discrimination against women writers preaches what he practised and reintroduces writers worthy of attention.
Few women writers are prominent in the period 1945 to the late 1960s, deliberately under-represented and trivialised by male writers and publishers. Dr O’Leary, poet, painter and publisher of works by men and women, uncovers this era dominated by openly hostile misogyny which only ended when women ‘started doing it for themselves’. In the process he reminds us of neglected reputations, including that of the cover artist Anne McCahon.
David McGill recreates the pioneering 1840s when Maori and Pakeha cultivated the Hutt Valley until the lust for land culminated in bloodshed at the Battle of Boulcott Farm.
Michael O’Leary reinterprets a controversial image of the Battle of Boulcott Farm for the cover of David McGill’s novel of the events leading to this conflict and its aftermath. A young Scot and a Maori lad are caught up in the hopes, dreams and stratagems for control of this Promised Land by Governor Grey and Te Rauparaha, explorer Charles Heaphy, botanist William Swainson and his daughter Mary, the adventurous Midshipman McKillop and the dispossessed Rangatahi.
October 30, 2012
Michael O’Leary has been included in the anthology, Notes for the Translators: Poems from 142 New Zealand and Australian Poets.
The book is intended to be offered to Chinese mainstream publishers for translation.
O’Leary’s poem is ‘Nuclear Family’ – a speculative fiction poem on apocalyptic war.
Notes for the Translators was collected and edited by Christopher (Kit) Kelen of the University of Macao, China. It also features other leading New Zealand and Australian poets like Les A Murray, John Kinsella, David Eggleton, James Norcliffe, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Mark Pirie and Niel Wright.
October 30, 2012
Michael O’Leary (pictured above, c1970s) recently published a book of his artwork over the last 40 years. It is accompanied by descriptions of his art along with key extracts from his poems that relate to his artworks.
It has an introduction by art curator Gregory O’Brien and was launched at John Quilter’s Bookshop, Ghuznee Street, Wellington, on Saturday 21 July 2012. It is available from Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is part of O’Brien’s introduction to the book. The title of the essay is a nod to Maurice Duggan’s story ‘O’Leary’s Orchard’:
When Charles Barr wrote that ‘all criticism involves distortion,’ he probably wasn’t thinking of the kind of distortion Jimi Hendrix utilised in ‘Voodoo Chile’ or ‘Star Spangled Banner’. Forget about the small metal box on the stage floor, equidistant between the Fender Stratocaster and the Marshall Stack. Barr was talking of the gnarly, misshapen kind of criticism against which Charles Baudelaire railed over a century earlier. In his 1846 review of the Paris Salon, the father of modern art-writing laid it on the line: ‘I sincerely believe that the best criticism is that which is amusing and poetic; not that cold and algebraic kind which, under the pretext of explaining everything, displays neither hate nor love…’ Thus the best account of a painting can well be a sonnet or an elegy. Of similar mind, the American painter Fairfield Porter put it another way: ‘Aesthetics should be, or I think I prefer to say, is, a collection of personal remarks, avoiding systems and extrapolations…’
In attempting a critical introduction to this sampling of Michael O’Leary’s diverse visual/verbal output, I would—channeling the benevolent spirits of Baudelaire and Porter—embrace and celebrate the effects and distortions of the work but without, I hope, distorting
the work further. Instead I would offer the reader/viewer a few vistas from the periphery of this munificent orchard, and corral a few thoughts appropriate to such a zone of carefully considered moves and virtuosic mishaps (‘what is the life of the mind but a history of
interesting mistakes,’ wrote Hugh Kenner) so that we might follow Michael O’Leary on his ’eccentric orbit’, to borrow an astrological term well-suited to his artistic progress, his trajectory through the inner and outer world of things.
Needless to say, Michael is on the side of the makers rather than the annotators, elaborators and explainers. He places himself firmly in the grand tradition of artists who invent their own tradition. That said, he has inherited an assortment of character traits from Romanticism. Like Rimbaud or Mallarme, he is capable of the ecstasies of artistic creation and a euphoric immersion in nature or human company or music (the Beatles, Kurt Cobain…). Like Yayoi Kusama, from time to time he finds himself ‘obliterated in the dancing swarm of fireflies’. When the need arises, an inner need, he can also rally the troops, shake the battlements, blow the trumpet—just like Ken Bolton: ‘Unemployed at last!’ Or, again, like Kusama: ‘Love Forever Girls! Adolescence is on the way!’ Or Mallarme: ‘A lovely drunkenness enlists me to raise, though the vessel lists, this toast on high and without fear. / Solitude, rocky shoal, bright star…’
Title: ARTIST: Artworks and words
Author: Michael O’Leary
Extent: 60 pages
Publication: July 2012
Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop
October 30, 2012
Michael O’Leary’s cricket novel received a brief but good review in the Cricket Society’s Journal. Out of It, edited by Mark Pirie, was re-released as a 25th anniversary edition through HeadworX:
Review of Out of It by Michael O’Leary (HeadworX Wellington, New Zealand)
If there has ever been a stranger book on cricket, I’ve yet to see it. I always thought that Willie Rushton’s W. G. Grace’s Last Case was the strangest but this one ……………………. Well, it’s a reprint of a 1987 book which is apparently a ‘cult classic.’ The main story (?) is of a one-day match between a proper New Zealand side led by Jeremy Coney and a team named Out Of It. The latter team is skippered by the Maori chief Te Rauparaha with Bob Marley as Vice-Captain and the likes of Janis Joplin, Oscar Wilde, Jimi Hendrix and Hermann Goring playing (look, I’m not making this up!) with a running radio commentary from standard and made-up broadcasters. It reads not unlike one of the earliest Dadaist offerings, written under the influence of hallucinogenics and although that almost certainly isn’t the case, it may have been the author’s intention to read as if it was. Perhaps it’s about dislocation in society – perhaps it isn’t. Maybe it’s about a suburban man becoming unsettled in real life and entering the surreal world of the imagination – and maybe it isn’t. It’s unclassifiable (and occasionally, in parts, unreadable) but if you suspend disbelief, a kind of logic can be found. It’s not a spoiler to let prospective readers know that, unlike the song, Goring lasts for three overs and not the obligatory two balls, however small. If you can find an inexpensive copy, you will have something in your collection that will be unique.
Review by John Symons, Editor of The Cricket Society News Bulletin
(From Journal of the Cricket Society, Volume 26, No. 3, Autumn 2012, UK)
March 6, 2012
The poem ‘Rubesahl’ and an extract from the novel Unlevel Crossings by Michael O’Leary appears on the following blog Aotearoa Affair Blog Carnival with links:
January 17, 2012
Michael O’Leary’s cult cricket novel Out of It has been re-released through HeadworX Publishers in Wellington hot on the heels of a new 2011 e-book edition from Me Books. Copies of the new paperback edition can be ordered direct from HeadworX, email: email@example.com See information and details on the book below:
New Book Information from HeadworX
Title: Out of It: A Novel Cricket Novel
Author: Michael O’Leary
Editor: Mark Pirie
Release: February 2012
Extent: 64 pages
Category: NZ Fiction
About the Book
Michael O’Leary’s Out of It was first published in 1987.
Since then it has become aNew Zealand cult classic and is possibly the onlyNew Zealand literary cricket novel published here.
The novel conjures a surreal cricket game betweenNew Zealand and an invitation Out of It XI at Eden Park, Auckland, in dadaist and modernist prose in the Irish-Maori tradition.
This new 25th anniversary collector’s edition, edited by cricket poetry anthologist and poet Mark Pirie, adds amendments to the first edition along with appendices, including a full scorecard of the Out of It innings, notes, an interview with the author and a bibliography of New Zealand cricket fiction and poetry.
25 years on, Out of It, as Pirie writes in the foreword, ‘remains a highly imaginative, original and colourful read.’
Cover image: Iain Sharp after an illustration of W G Grace, 1895
‘If you are a collector of Bohemian cricket memorabilia, this book is for your shelf. It is certainly a boon to te kirikiti o Aotearoa…’– Rangi Faith
‘O’Leary has … the demeanour of a cricket umpire – when he says it’s out then it’s out. He can also lob an impressive ball down a pitch as he can play a riff à la Hendrix on any available instrument.’ – Gregory O’Brien
About the Editor
Mark Pirie is a New Zealand poet, editor, writer and publisher. In 2010, he edited the successful anthology of NZ cricket poetry A Tingling Catch (foreword by Don Neely) and currently writes its offshoot blog Tingling Catch.
January 17, 2012
Two poems by Michael O’Leary appear in broadsheet 8 (November 2011).
The first ‘From P.H. D. to PhD’ is a ballad relating the accomplishment of his recent PhD at Victoria University of Wellington’s Gender and Women Studies Dept.
The second poem ‘The Last 48 Seconds of Kurt Cobain: A Poemumentary’ was first published in Benedict Quilter’s Cobain tribute book Blue Eyed Son (Independent Women Records, Wellington, 2010).