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:


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