Tuesday, March 07, 2023

The Deadline Loometh - Catalyst is currently open for submissions!

 It's that time of year again when we are open for submissions to our print-only journal.

Deadline is 1st April every year and full details on how to submit are available on our 'Submissions' tab above. We strongly recommend reading that page and following the guidelines. 

One of the best guidelines is to get hold of a copy of Catalyst and check out what we like to publish generally - this may give you a fair sense of what we might be interested in (and what is noticeably absent). Having said that, if what you're doing is experimental and unique and doesn't appear in Catalyst yet, we're all ears/eyes. But still, follow the guidelines.

Looking forward to reading your work!

Yours, the Catalyst Crew.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Diving In! Book Launch and panel: My Thoughts Are All of Swimming by Rose Collins

 A very special event to mark National Poetry Day this year with the inaugural winner of the John O'Connor first book award launching with readings and a panel featuring the three shortlisted writers in conversation with Erik Kennedy.

Presented by Sudden Valley Press and Canterbury Poets Collective in association with National Poetry Day, join the poets and Erik to celebrate the launch of My Thoughts Are All of Swimming by inaugural winner, Rose Collins.

Along with Jeni Curtis and Ciaran Fox, Rose Collins was chosen for the shortlist by judge, former poet laureate Elizabeth Smither who described the winning manuscript as a: 'highly accomplished, beautifully ordered collection of consistently stunning poems'. 

Join all three as they discuss the award experience, writing and probably much more with matchless raconteur and writer Erik Kennedy. 

Diving In
Friday 26th August (National Poetry Day) 5.30pm
Foundation Cafe, Tūranga 

Spring: Breakdown, Breakthrough - poetry at Tūranga


It's National Poetry Day 'eve' and Foundation Cafe at Tūranga is hosting an even earlier 'spring' poetry smorgasbord. Presented by Canterbury Poets Collective with MC - RikTheMost and featuring a broad selection of young, emerging and er, emerged? poets. And even a tiny, wee open mic. 

Catalyst's own Ciaran Fox is in the line up and it's even early enough to be home in time for an early night with a good book.

Break through: Elizabeth Ayrey, Lucy Barge, Amelia Kirkness, Sarah-Kate Simons
Break down: Vana Manasiādis, Philip Armstrong, Ciaran Fox, Claudia Jardine, Gail Ingram, Anna Heraskina Foster

Thursday 25th August, 5.30pm
Foundation Cafe, Tūranga

Sunday, July 17, 2022

THE RULES! - Christchurch Poetry Slam 2022 - preliminary heat & grand final


 To compete in the Grand Final, poets must make the top 10 in the preliminary heat on Wednesday 3rd August, 7pm at Space Academy

(The Grand Final will be contested on 31st August also at Space Academy)


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 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, July 03, 2022

Drinking With Li Bai - 100 haiku from China and India by Doc Drumheller (Cold Hub Press 2022)


Book Launch - Drinking With Li Bai by Doc Drumheller


It's nice to collaborate with fellow independent publishers and we're proud to support the launch of this latest collection by Doc Drumheller from Cold Hub Press - Drinking With Li Bai - 100 haiku from China and India.

Drinking With Li Bai features one hundred haiku composed by New Zealand poet Doc Drumheller while he was visiting Enshi, Guangzhou, Guizhou, Suiyang, Shengze, Shanghai, and Beijing in China, and Odisha, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, New Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Bodh Gaya, and Allahabad in India.

On his travels Doc Drumheller has represented the Waimakariri District as a Cultural Ambassador to Enshi in a Sister City Cultural Exchange. He was appointed as the New Zealand Director of the Silk Road Poetry Project, and has represented New Zealand at international poetry festivals in China and India.

Drinking With Li Bai, 100 Haiku from China and India, by Doc Drumheller is published by Cold Hub Press 2022, and features Chinese translations by Liang Yujing, and calligraphy by Gong Qin.

Haiku from this collection were selected for Ōrongohau Best New Zealand Poems 2018, and Ōrongohau Best New Zealand Poems 2020.

Special thanks to the Asia New Zealand Foundation for funding Doc’s travels to Asia, and to Waimakariri District Creative Communities for funding the publication of this book.




Sunday, February 06, 2022

NZ Poetry Slam 2021 goes ONLINE in 2022!


After two postponements due to COVID-19 in 2021, the NZ Poetry Slam national final for 2021 is happening online on 12th February 2022.

Here we go! It's a tough decision but the crew really have to take people's health and safety in consideration - poets flying into Christchurch from around the country are taking a risk and possibly facing 10 days isolation away from home, if they happen to be a close contact on a flight or at an airport.

Details for the event and the link to join in from the comfort of your own home are on the Facebook event page here. It is happening at the same date and time as the scheduled live event.

Existing tickets will be refunded and new tickets available for the online version.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Ōtautahi Tiny Fest - a feast of art - Two stand-out shows featuring poetry

Ōtautahi Tiny Fest is a remarkable two day festival of epic proportions - 45 artists and 21 shows over two intense days - featuring theatre, poetry, dance, story-telling and intersectional forms showcasing the cutting edge of performative practice in Ōtautahi/Christchurch.
Here's a couple of shows that we think you might want to check out from two of Ōtautahi's most electric performance poets and theatre practitioners.


Gay Death Stock Take

Ōtautahi and NZ Poetry Slam Champion Nathan Joe presents a 'theatrical performance essay (with poetry elements)!' Kind of part TED-talk, part performance poem, part museum of personal history. Where birthday party meets mourning ritual. A brand new work by Nathan Joe, made in collaboration with Daniel Goodwin.

Nathan Joe is an award-winning theatre-maker and performance poet based between Tāmaki Makaurau and Ōtautahi. Recent work includes curating BIPOC spoken word event DIRTY PASSPORTS at Basement Theatre, a staged reading of his play Scenes from a Yellow Peril at Auckland Arts Festival, co-creating Slay the Dragon or Save the Dragon or Neither with A Slightly Isolated Dog, and directing Yang/Young/杨 for Auckland Theatre Company. He is also the current National Slam Champion.

Saturday 27th November, 10am
Ron Ball Studio, Christchurch Town Hall
Notes on a Migration

‘I think of my mother and father, standing by sunflowers
the plane tilts 
in a slow motion leapfrog 
to limboland
tucked knees under my chin 
the lights dim 
leaving, heading 
with both feet in’

'an imaginative journey traversing the entire world in this intimate, electric, political, part-memoir, part-story dreamscape drawn from Ullyart’s poetic journaling since leaving Heathrow and stepping foot in Ōtautahi in late 2017. She is supported on stage by experimental music maker Admiral Drowsy in a new collaboration especially for Tiny Fest.'

Hester Ullyart is an award-winning multi-disciplinary maker- writer, actor, visual and spoken word artist based between England and Ōhinehou since 2017. Original plays include; ‘The Ballad of Paragon Station’ (Stellar Original Content NZFringe, Ed Fest) ‘Paragon Dreams’ (Hull Truck, LAF). Original film includes ‘I am all the rooms of the house’ (Best Poetry Short DoDFest2020). Other Ōtautati work includes ‘How Dare You’ (Free Theatre), ‘Ship of Dreams’(Delaney Davidson). Directing includes ‘Our Town, Gladys and Alfie, Gladys and Daphne’ (LAF) and Robin Judkins’ ‘Free Bus to God’. Aotearoa screen work includes One Lane Bridge S2 (TVNZ/Great Southern). She is a National Poetry Slam 2020 finalist. 

Saturday 27th November, 5.30pm
Ron Ball Studio, Christchurch Town Hall


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Chop. The. Mop! Close shave for a good cause


Thursday 11th November, 7pm

Victoria Park Band Rotunda, Rangiora

Tonight as part of WORD Christchurch, Catalyst's own Doc Drumheller goes under the clippers for the Cancer Society.

Supported by guest poets, waiata, and poetry from several workshops facilitated for the Cancer Society, Doc will perform live while being shorn of his trademark beard and locks. The effort is in support of a call for donations to Doc's fundraising page for the Cancer Society.

This event is operating under Covid Alert Level 2 restrictions (please wear masks, respect physical distancing and capacity limit is 100 people). If the Alert Level is increased, attendance will be cancelled and the event will be live-streamed via Facebook.

Guest poets include: Bernadette Hall, Ben Brown, John Allison and Ciaran Fox.

It'll be a brave, new Doc come tomorrow morning.


https://www.youcanforcancer.org.nz/jason-clements https://www.youcanforcancer.org.nz/jason-clements


Christchurch Poetry Slam 2021 - we have a winner!


Congratulations to 2021 Christchurch Poetry Slam Champ Nathan Joe!

Runner-up - Ray Shipley

3rd place - RiktheMost 

On a balmy night in Foundation Cafe at Tūranga the top 10 poets from the preliminary heat in August slugged it out across 3 rounds. It was the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch Slam being part of the national network of slams (for the pre-history, look up Poetry Idol here).

To mark the occasion, poet and artist Melanie McKerchar created a stunning trophy (the first since Poetry Idol) and lifted for the first time by Nathan at the end of a challenging and fierce three rounds.

The field of 10 were mighty and diverse - half of them were previous Slam winners (including international Slams) or runners-up, and the other half included first-timers this year.

The top 3 will go forward to the 2021 NZ Poetry Slam (to be held February 2022).

Thank you to WORD Christchurch for once again incorporating the Slam into the festival and for pulling off a postponed festival in very challenging and uncertain times.

Thank you UBS Books for sponsoring prize vouchers for our winners.

Thank you to Foundation Cafe at Tūranga for being brilliant hosts and problem solvers.