Monday, November 11, 2019

NZ Poetry Slam national final once again in Ōtautahi/Christchurch

Featuring the 2019 regional champs from around Aotearoa New Zealand including Ōtautahi's own multiple champ, Ray Shipley and 2019 runner-up Melanie McKerchar.

Saturday 23rd November, doors open 7pm
Papa Hou, YMCA
12 Hereford St, Christchurch Central
Tickets: $20 / $15

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Catalyst volume 16 - Wireless Compassion

Catalyst volume 16 - cover featuring artwork by Bayartsengel Bum-Erdene

Today we're proud to be launching Catalyst Volume 16 Wireless Compassion.

The culmination of another year of reading, traveling and selecting poetry from around the world and Aotearoa New Zealand. The sub-title Wireless Compassion reflects a number of synergies for both Catalyst's home city of Ōtautahi Christchurch and Editor-in-Chief Doc Drumheller.

2019 saw a horrific act of terrorism visited on Christchurch that, far from achieving division, actually united and mobilised the compassion of the people of Christchurch. Following events of that day, the regular poetry open mics hosted by Catalyst provided a thoughtful, safe and welcoming space for many of the poets and writers of Christchurch to spread love and compassion through their words.

Later in the year Doc travelled to India for the 39th World Congress of Poets for which the theme 'Compassion through poetry' particularly resonated.

With suites of featured poetry from India, Mongolia and the Word Congress of Poets as well as individual poets from Aotearoa New Zealand and the world, Volume 16 Wireless Compassion represents hope, kindness, compassion and peace while still asking questions, seeking after answers and celebrating the written (and printed) word.

Thank you to all our supporters, subscribers, submitters and readers who have journeyed with us for part or all of sixteen years. We quite like being teenagers.

Read on.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Christchurch Poetry Slam 2019 - the results!

Pleased as punch to announce the results of the Christchurch Poetry Slam 2019!

1st - Ray Shipley
2nd - Melanie McKerchar
3rd - Barrett Robb


What a night - with our first ever slam-off for runner-up! Congrats to long-standing Catalyst regular, Mel McKerchar who drew first up in the first round for the THIRD year in a row, edging out fellow Catalyst regular Barrett to the runner-up slot in a nail-biting finish to the night. And of course, ka mau te wehi to multiple ChCh Slam Champ, Ray Shipley for making it back to back Slams. Look out nationals!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Christchurch Poetry Slam 2019 - The Rules

Here are the official rules of the Christchurch Poetry Slam as per the NZ Poetry Slam.
Sign-up is on the night only - places are limited to 12 participants so get there early.

Rules for NZ Poetry Slam

  • 3 minutes or less with no minimum time (10 second grace period before points deduction)

  • Time starts when poet speaks, however while poets can have time to settle and adjust microphone etc, this time is not limitless; ideally a poet should start before 10 seconds.

  • Original (i.e. your own) poems only

  • No props no music no costumes (i.e. clothing related to the content of your poem)

  • In the case of a tie a slam-off will be required

  • Random draw, for performance order.
Judging and scoring:

  • 5 Audience Judges (chosen by MC and/or organiser) display score cards 0-10 (Decimal points allowed)

  • Top and bottom scores drop off and total of remaining 3 scores is the total

  • If Poet goes over grace period MC or Timekeeper to ask scorer to mark down points after the judges score… (Half a point penalty for every 10 seconds over time)

  • After 4 minutes the MC can shut down the poet

  • 'Sacrificial Poet' (non-competing) to start the night, to help calibrate scores.

  • Slams are equally about writing, performance and audience response.

  • Slammers should have at least 3 poems, as there will be three rounds for the Regionals and NZ Slam
As always, remember: the point is the poetry not the points!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Catalyst volume 16 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS deadline 1st April!

We're pleased to announce that Catalyst is accepting submissions for our next volume, number 16.

The deadline is 1st April and we encourage all submitters to read our submission guidelines. Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will not be considered.

We'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all our subscribers and submitters for supporting the journal over its first fifteen years in print. Here's to fifteen more (and if you haven't yet subscribed maybe head on over to our subscriptions page to find out more - might make a great gift too! 😉)

Saturday, November 03, 2018

NZ Poetry Slam 2018 National Final - in Christchurch!

It's been years in the coming (is that even a thing?) but finally the NZ Poetry Slam is about to have it's grand final in the South Island. Last year's champion Daisy Speaks (Daisy Lavea-Timo) broke the stranglehold of the north on the title of NZ Slam Champion and now she's helping to bring the event itself to Ōtautahi/Christchurch.

Just another milestone in the remarkable renaissance of spoken word in Christchurch and nationally over the last 15 years.

Today's the day, if you're in Christchurch get along to see the best of this year's regional slam champs battle it out on the mic for the national title. Local two-time champion Ray Shipley will lead a three person challenge from Ōtautahi including Barrett Rob and Troy Buckland.

The venue is the pretty much brand new Haeata Community Campus auditorium in Aranui.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fifteen Years of Literary Lava

It's hard to believe that fifteen years have gone by since the first volume of Catalyst hit the 'shelves' of independent bookstores and libraries. Borne out of a series of writing workshops and the foundation of the Catalyst open mic, the literary arts journal of the same name was the brainchild of Doc Drumheller with ship's mate Ciaran Fox. With graphic design by Andy Gilmore, the first volume of Catalyst featured an all-NZ line up of writers, promising to showcase emerging, fringe and experimental writing and art.

So began a decade and a half of annual anthologies featuring young and/or emerging writers alongside established names both across NZ and also the world. Catalyst has published poetry in translation from a dozen languages and cultures as well as art work from around the globe. It has produced three albums of recorded spoken word and music collaborations. Still committed to supporting emerging talent, Catalyst has grown into an international journal with subscribers and contributors from almost every continent.

Despite international recognition, the journal is still scraping along on the smell of the proverbial oily rag, except even the whiff of oil has long since departed and we are publishing on the basis of a homeopathic pile of thread. In a time marked by the death of multiple, long-standing literary journals in New Zealand, the remarkable determination of one of the 'new kids on the block' is worth celebrating indeed. The number of established print literary journals in NZ is pretty much countable on one hand these days, so long may this oddity wander. If you still like reading poetry in print, may we humbly recommend hitting the 'Subscribe' tab above and joining the odyssey.

On Thursday 30th August, Catalyst launches its 15th volume at The Last Word on New Regent St in Christchurch, as part of WORD Christchurch literary festival. Join us to hear readings from several featured poets as well as stories from the founders and a sizeable whisky selection.

National Poetry Day (NZ) 2018

What a pleasure to be invited to read and host an open mic at Rangiora Library for New Zealand National Poetry Day. An enthusiastic group of readers came to share poetry and a cuppa. Some even brought costumes and props. We even gave a sneak preview of the new Catalyst volume 15 ahead of the official launch this week as part of WORD Christchurch in the New Regent Street Pop-Up Festival.  Many thanks to Waimakariri Libraries for the opportunity.