Michael O’Leary’s New Zealand cricket novel, Out of It, republished by HeadworX in 2012 [original first edition by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, 1987], has been reviewed by Benjamin Golby in The Cricket Monthly, the international cricket magazine online. Check out the article at the link below:



Michael O’Leary’s books published by HeadworX are now available at Lulu’s leading online bookstore:

Collected Poems 1981-2016


eBook $AUD12.99

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Hardback $AUD40.00

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paperback $AUD24.95

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Out of It: A Novel Cricket Novel


eBook $AUD8.99

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Hardback $AUD35.00

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paperback $AUD18.95

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Main Trunk Lines: Collected Railway Poems


eBook $AUD8.99

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Hardback $AUD35.00

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paperback $AUD18.95

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Toku Tinihanga: Selected Poems 1982-2002

toku cover

eBook $AUD8.99

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Paneta Street


eBook $AUD8.99

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Make Love and War


eBook $AUD8.99

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Sounds of Sonnets, with Mark Pirie


eBook $AUD8.99

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Michael O’Leary has organized a tribute concert to the late Leonard Cohen and to Bob Dylan (Nobel Prize for Literature 2016).

Here is the start time and running order for the concert:

COHEN / DYLAN Tribute Concert : St Peters Village Hall

7.45pm Saturday 4th Feb 2017:


First Half: COHEN.


Michael O’Leary

Gilbert Haismann

Meg Prasad

Michael O’Leary

Ebony Lamb

Debbie James

Nada Mills (Elan Mills / Ray Butler / Andy Christianson)

Danilo Blaza

Helen Dorothy (Janet Holboro)

Jason Johnson

5min tribute video.


Second Half: DYLAN.


5min tribute video

Michael O’Leary

Peter Ware

Holly Ewens

Francis Mills (Gary Allen / Ray Butler)

Jason Tamihana

Rob Hack

Shayn Wills (Zephyr Wills)

Jason Johnson (Chris Winter / Nick Brown)

Finale:  “Knockin’ On Heavens Door”


ESAW published a new title in December 2016: Ride the Tempest by m r pirie [Mark Pirie].

m r pirie was Mark Pirie’s original writing name in the early 1990s, and the book collects three groups of poems from his uncollected notebook poems during the period 1993-1995 at the ages of 18 to 20.

ESAW publishes his book as an archival edition to complete the publication of Pirie’s early poems. Pirie has been one of ESAW’s most prolific authors over the years since his booklet The Blues was published by ESAW in 2001.

Pirie also took the cover photo of a friend bodyboarding at Mahia Peninsula in early 1992.

Copies can be ordered from the publisher: pukapuka@paradise.net.nz


Ride the Tempest by m r pirie [Mark Pirie], Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, Paekakariki, December 2016

 New book information

Title: Ride the Tempest: Uncollected Early Poems 1993-1995

Author: m r pirie [Mark Pirie]

ISBN  978-1-86942-168-7

Price: $25.00

Extent: 66 pages

Format: 148mmx210mm

Publication: December 2016

Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop


Michael O’Leary recently contributed his poem and the below drawing (Blonde on Blonde) in honour of Bob Dylan, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and an elegy for Leonard Cohen, to Poetry Notes, Spring 2016 (Newsletter of the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa).

The Bob Dylan poem also appears in Phantom Billsticker’s Cafe Reader, Summer 2016, and the Cohen elegy in Tony Chad’s Valley Micropress, December 2016.


Bob Dylan drawing by Michael O’Leary, 2008


Michael O’Leary


(10/9/1998, Wellington)


With my ear to the future

And my mind to the past

Sitting twenty rows back

and up high

I could feel the real visions of Johanna


From the ancient times

When the nuns had us sing

The answer is blowing in the wind

the Jews and the Catholics

Have fought pitched battles over my soul


And out on Highway Sixty One

Or along any lonesome railway track

The songs remain like freight cars

to be sung or shunted

Along the weary lines of a human face


Echoes of Mr. Yeats’ hymn

And a thousand singsong others

Expressing in thought, word, music

like your friend, Woody

The all too familiar taste of dust and death


Recalling the desolate row

Of houses in Margaret Street

Now either destroyed or gentrified

must we really move

Into the Ponsonby of the new, shallow mind


Later, you entered the ‘her’

Part of my life also

With a precious angel

now gone, but then

I was the man in the long black coat


From all you need is love minus zero

To being sick of love

Then, on one more night

you took us from Maggie’s farm

To forever young, as a simple reminder


Now there’s even talk of

Cranking up the Oldsmobile

For so long stuck inside, and

up the central plateaux

To Auckland, the Great Arsehole, sacred


Okay, Mister Room Man

Play a song for us

Say a prayer too, as you

wing your own way

Earthbound, heavenwards soaring beyond


For always talking the blues

To your Jews and Gypsies

All those masters of war

old Hitler, Stalin, and yes

The President of the U.S. does sometimes stand naked


Through all the years’ confusions

Of ideas and people and events

To this present listening

so many things have happened

While you just keep on singing to my sister’s alarm


I’m glad to come and see you

To tip my hat to the master’s hand

With my rainy day woman

asleep on my shoulder

Times have changed so much, they’ve remained the same




Beginning life as a middle-class son

Comfortable in your Jewish Catholicism

Tailor-made for the family’s business

You chose the more difficult artist’s path


Through the Montreal poetry scene

You played youth’s favourite games

Slim volumes proffering Flowers for the Führer:

Eichmann’s normal human perversions


More polite than the gutter snipe

Rock and rollers, who said they joined

A band to get laid: young Cohen said

He played music to meet women


In the late 1960s when every belief

Came to an end: when The Beatles’ apple

Turned to pulp without the future fiction

You came along with a song from a room


A muse, in the real sense of ‘to amuse’

Someone who spoke openly about thought

And feeling, perhaps here was a poet

Who wasn’t alive a hundred years ago


Who wasn’t ‘beat’ or rock ‘n roll, exactly

But came so far, with a Spanish guitar,

With a seductive voice and lyric to match –

Existential, if you’ll pardon the expression


So all our Suzanne’s took us all down

To our own lands of rags and feathers;

Remembering well that Chelsea Hotel,

New York and the tragic taste of success


You went into God’s Hamburger Bar in

The city of Angels, wanting nothing but

‘One with Everything’ . . . becoming a Buddhist

Monk to escape the world of pain and love


Old songs and new could not be suppressed

So you returned to the world to bring them,

To sing them to audiences old and new

Hallelujah, Hallelujah: from below and above


Dancing to the end of love, you twirled

Full circle, singing so long Marianne, by e-mail

As she lay dying, remembering Greek Isles

Sunshine and smiles, farewell dreaming


It’s now as dark as you want it, Leonard

But remember, there’s always that crack

Perhaps you really have come to understand

Now, that’s where the light truly gets in . . .


Poems and drawing copyright Michael O’Leary

In the spirit of the Beatles who put out a Christmas record for their fans, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) and HeadworX offer to you, our friends and clients, this small token for your enjoyment.

Poems on David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, surfing, tennis, Christmas, poems in ‘inscriptive text’ by Niel Wright, and a short play by B. E. Turner.

Contributors: Michael O’Leary, B. E. Turner, F. W. Nielsen Wright, and Mark Pirie.

Download and view the free pdf of this book (file size 479KB):



ESAW Christmas Surprise 2016 edited by Mark Pirie

Recently, Michael O’Leary appeared in Jacket2, USA, in the series of commentaries written by Vaughan Rapatahana on the small press poetry and performing scene in New Zealand.

Michael was interviewed for the article on Māori male poets:

Ngā Kaituhi Whiti Tāne Māori — Māori male poets‘ by Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015

Vaughan Rapatahana’s articles also covered the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa that Michael O’Leary co-founded with Dr Niel Wright.

“One such example of sterling input is the invaluable Poetry Archive of New Zealand. As Mark Pirie points out to us, ‘I co-organise the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa  (with Dr Michael O’Leary and Dr Niel Wright, the founders) collecting poets back to the nineteenth century. There are more good poets than people realize reading mainstream historical anthologies of New Zealand poetry. I have realized this fairly recently after wasted years of looking at and learning from selective, academic anthologies ever since I was a student. Since 2010, I have edited the quarterly Poetry Archive newsletter Poetry Notes. This has featured many forgotten historical New Zealand poets and presented highly original research by myself, Rowan Gibbs, Niel Wright, and Michael O’Leary. The National Library of New Zealand online research tools like Papers Past have been vital to this rediscovery of early New Zealand poetry too. Poets like Robert J Pope, Ivy Gibbs, and A. Stanley Sherratt have had their work republished.’ It needs to be made clear that these three guys receive no emolument for their earnest endeavours and do rely on donations of both funds and poetry texts to proliferate their resource, ‘so very good historical and contemporary poets don’t get missed.’ Stalwarts all, indeed.”

Article: Slam, slam … & thank you Mams, Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015 (https://jacket2.org/commentary/slam-slam-thank-you-mams).


At this year’s Winter Readings in Paekakariki, “Poetry Gees”, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop published an anthology of the six readers (with photography by John Girdlestone), and reinstated its poetry prize.
Poetry Gees was a tribute to the pop group Bee Gees and an event marking the return of a popular poetry reading series in the Wellington region organised by HeadworX Publishers and ESAW 2003-2008.
The Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize began in 2007, when the Earl, Michael O’Leary, awarded a prize to an emerging artist’s poem on the Poetrywall at that year’s Winter Readings taking place at the City Gallery. Evelyn Conlon, a young poet, won the prize.
Further awards were given to collections published by the Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop: Will Leadbeater 2008, Jill Chan 2009, Robin Fry 2010 and Barry Southam in 2011.
When ESAW went into hiatus, apart from a few publications in recent years, the prize also went into hiatus.
This year saw the reinstatement of the award at Winter Readings, with the Otago-based writer Jeanne Bernhardt being awarded the prize.
Jeanne read a mixture of new and old poems and was surprised and pleased to receive the award – kept secret – at the end of the event.
Other readers were Rob Hack (also MC), MaryJane Thomson reading from Lonely Earth (HeadworX), HeadworX editor Mark Pirie, Basim Furat (currently visiting New Zealand from Sudan), Siberian-born Polina Kouzminova, and ESAW publisher Michael O’Leary.
Poet and Poetry Archive co-founder Niel Wright attending the event was also acknowledged through Mark Pirie’s reading of his Bee Gees poem ‘Staying Alive II’.
(From Beattie’s Book Blog, 20 July 2016)

Winter readings 2016

Mark Pirie, Basim Furat and Michael O’Leary outside St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki

About Jeanne Bernhardt

Jeanne Bernhardt is a former recipient of the Louis Johnson New Writers Bursary from Creative NZ in the late 1990s, and the author of 7 books, including Wood and Fast down Turk from Kilmog Press, Dunedin, and Baby is this Wonderland? and The Snow Poems/your self of lost ground from HeadworX. She was included in the ESAW mini series of poetry booklets. Painter of mountains, drawer of leaves and comix, felt maker and wood carver, likes to roam, solitude and being in nature.

Poem by Jeanne:

How is the Writer?
(words for my father)

Eleven years since you died.
I stare at things
Imagine they are broken
The centre of old rocks
Live alone

Divorce is a strange concept
A little death

Sometimes I imagine you turn up at my door,
I do not immediately invite you in,
We pause there

Assess the sky, the situation
Your car still running
It is a fleeting visit
You were in the neighbourhood, so…

Your watch and glasses still working,
Ah, I say
For time and shock

All the time in the world
But no space
I have eaten my heart
Like an adult

How are your brothers and sisters? you ask
How is the writer this morning?

Calling out through the years
And sunlight
Shadows of a gone tree

Try to be happy.


Jeanne Bernhardt

Title: DIE BIBEL being the authoritative history of Dr Michael John O’Leary, Earl of Seacliff

Author: Michael O’Leary

Publisher: Steele Roberts

Launch details: Sunday, 24th July 2016, 3pm at Paekakariki Railway Station – special launch price $30 per copy


In 1998 the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature described Michael O’Leary, the Earl of Seacliff, as a publisher, poet, novelist, performer and bookshop proprietor who has made a colourful contribution to the literary scene: “Under his Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop imprint he has published his own prolific output as well as various other writers, both alternative and main stream.”

The Companion noted that Michael’s poetry and novels explore his heritage, “the poetry more conventionally, the prose in an alternative vein which owes something to Joyce and Beckett.”

Since that time Michael has completed masters and doctoral studies in New Zealand publishing and literature at Victoria University, and has continued to write, publish and sell books from his seaside earldom at Paekakariki.

Throughout Die Bibel he often uses his poems to express his thoughts and feelings, and to pay tribute to extraordinary people and events in his life. One of many highlights is Psalm 34, ‘It’s not the leaving of Wellington’, an odyssey around the capital city.

Die Bibel is the lively, candid journey of a man who has lived a singular life in Aotearoa New Zealand and has made an indelible contribution to its literature.

Die Bibel cover.jpg

Back cover author photo (at Paekakariki Railway Station): Lindsay Rabbitt

Front cover: Nigel Brown’s portrait of the Earl of Seacliff

In the spirit of the Beatles who put out a Christmas record for their fans, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) and HeadworX offer to you, our friends and clients, this small token for your enjoyment.

Poems on the railway, Auckland, cricket, netball, excerpts from Niel Wright’s Poetic Fish Hooks, and a prose piece by B. E. Turner from the recently published ESAW anthology Of Paekakariki edited by Sylvia Bagnall.

Contributors: Michael O’Leary, B. E. Turner, F. W. Nielsen Wright, and Mark Pirie.

Download and view the free pdf of this book (file size 527KB):



ESAW Christmas Surprise 2015 edited by Mark Pirie