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A debut novel by writer and poet Gary Mutton has recently been released by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop.

Title:  Ear to the Ground: A Novel
Author: Gary Mutton
ISBN 978-1-86942-186-1
Extent: 96 pages
Format: A5
Publication: August 2019
Publisher: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop

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Michael O’Leary recently contributed his drawing of Metallica to the anthology of poems celebrating the Winter Readings held at Paekakariki on Saturday, 23 August.

The annual event formed a tribute to Metallica, a continuation of a poetry reading series which began in 2004. Previous drawings by Michael O’Leary included Jim Morrison, The Kinks, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Oasis, Bee Gees and the Beach Boys.

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Metallica by Michael O’Leary, 2019

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The Black Album Readings: Winter Readings 2019 edited by Mark Pirie (ESAW, 2019)

At this year’s Winter Readings in Paekakariki, “The Black Album Readings”, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop published an anthology of the readers, and awarded its annual poetry prize to Jeremy Roberts (Hawke’s Bay), a surprise award.

The Black Album Readings held at St Peter’s Hall on 17 August 2019 was a tribute to the heavy rock group Metallica and an event continuing the return of a popular poetry reading series in the Wellington region presented by the Poetry Archive Trust, HeadworX Publishers and ESAW 2003-2008, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

This year’s attendance was small due to bad weather but maintained its support from the previous years, and the participants were Rob Hack (MC), Tim Jones, Jeremy Roberts, Mary Maringikura Campbell, HeadworX editor Mark Pirie, Alex Jeune, Margaret Jeune, and ESAW publisher Michael O’Leary.

Alex Jeune was first up and read short, sensitive and tightly polished, image-based poems. Jeremy Roberts followed giving a sense of his billing as a Napier Live Poets host. His livewire poetry was well suited to performance. Mary Maringikura Campbell read afterwards with powerful and colourful poetry. Tim Jones ended the first part of the reading with a mixture of climate change poetry and music poetry, including several which featured Metallica and gave a profound insight into the rock business.

Rob Hack restarted the session after a short coffee/tea break with a poem on his experiences, going to the mines to “make it big” in Western Australia. Michael O’Leary read from his Collected Poems (HeadworX, 2017) and The Black Album Readings anthology.

Mark Pirie’s poems were mainly a mixture of music-centred poems (noting the influence of Metallica on his early book Ride the Tempest) and sports poetry. He ended with a tribute to the great All Black Jonah Lomu. Margaret Jeune was the final reader and read a mixture of new and old work, including poems from Flight Paths (HeadworX, 2019). One of her poems celebrated a recent reading at Titirangi Poets in Auckland.

Poem by Jeremy Roberts

TRANSISTOR HEAVEN

Music always came from a better place.
It spoke to me like big soul-filling ka-ching
within the stupefying vortex of the material world.
My daughter is playing her recording of a new song.
I know this place well & sink comfortably into the leather sofa –
gently biting the soft flesh inside my mouth,
as a substitute for chewing gum.
The waves soon call me back to a time waiting for Casey Kasem
to introduce Barry Manilow singing ‘I Write the Songs.’
It was American, you see –
the musical infiltration of starving ears,
a therapeutic displacement of social failure,
anxiety over career expectations.
Oh, how drab the system was – almost sending you off your rocker!
& then:
A clap of thunder underneath a fingernail.
Thin lips pressed against the throbbing VU meter.
An intense light of freedom fluttering –
louder & louder in a dark corner of the bedroom.

Poem copyright Jeremy Roberts, 2019

(Winner of the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize, 2019)

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Jeremy Roberts