Friday, November 28, 2008

Catalyst: Giving the gift of poetry since 2003.

Catalyst Christmas Extravaganza!

It’s the last open mic for 2008. Come send out the year in a poetic flourish!

It’s a special Xmas party this month with fabulous prizes (kindly donated by Helen Lowe) for the first ever
Catalyst Open Mic People’s Choice award.
Uncle Al’s putting on some wine specials and we’re discounting fantastic books of poetry at never-to-be repeated prices!

Come get merry with us at Al’s Bar, pick up some books for your family and friends and generally have yourself a time!

Catalyst Xmas Extravaganza
8pm, Al’s Bar 31 Dundas St
Wednesday 3rd December

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next Catalyst Open Mic

Wow! A whole month and no posts! Slap our collective wrist!

Anyway - the news is: The Open Mic this month only will happen on the second Wednesday of November. That is all. Goodnight and good luck.

Catalyst Open Mic
Wednesday 12th November, 8pm
Al's Bar 31 Dundas St

(behind Pak n' Save Our Souls)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Catalyst Poetry Open Mic

Yes! There is an open mic this week!!!

Wednesday 1st October 8pm sign up!
Al's Bar, 31 Dundas St (behind Pak n' Scab)

Be there or be Beached As!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Con Cuba hoy - Kiwi arts community goes one step further

Cuban Foreign Minister Perez Roque said, on Friday, that Washington's 50-year-old blockade is the main obstacle hindering development in the country and is making it more difficult for the Cuban people to recover from the devastation that resulted from the hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Today members of the Kiwi arts community, (Jean Betts, Russell Campbell, Mark Derby, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Wanjiku Kiarie, Dean Parker, Rolando Olmedo, Martyn Sanderson and the Equuslive Collective) have launched a petition urging the active engagement by the New Zealand government in addressing this urgent issue.

Below is the new post on the solidarity webpage explaining all and, below that, some suggestions of action you could take.

Con Cuba hoy- Kiwi arts community goes one step further

"Playwrights, poets, film makers and musicians have rallied to a request from their Cuban colleagues to call on the US to lift the economic blockade and in doing so have gone one step further and initiated a petition calling on the New Zealand Government to take decisive action to aid the Cuban people in the face of the devastation wrought by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

The petition coordinator, film director and playwright Paul Maunder, has called others in the Kiwi cultural community to "assert their solidarity as a national grouping" and request the Prime Minister to grant immediate aid to Cuba and intensify its efforts to have the US blockade of the country lifted.

The recent hurricanes have left Cuba devastated and it will take billions of dollars for Cuba to recover. A recovery Paul notes "that is made hugely more expensive and problematic because of the hypocritical US economic blockade of the country."

"For some reason, Cuban's 'human rights failings' (which includes presumably their ability to cope with these hurricanes with less loss of life than any of the other countries afflicted, including the US) means that this small but significant country, must be punished further, now that they have been punished so severely by the politically indifferent hurricanes."

The petition calls on the NZ Government:

(i) to actively urge the US to lift the blockade,

(ii) to grant Cuba immediate aid,

(iii) and to be willing to support NGO agencies in the usual manner, if any wish to activate an aid programme with Cuba.

Included among the petition initiators are Jean Betts, Russell Campbell, Mark Derby, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Wanjiku Kiarie, Dean Parker, Rolando Olmedo, Martyn Sanderson and the Equuslive collective.

The petition is here

The Artists call is here

Action you could take:

Circulate this broadly

Urge the artists, writers, musicians, poets, etc, that you know, to sign on

Circulate this to your local media/ drop copies at your favourite café

Raise the issues relating to the blockade with your MP and/or other election candidates

Raise the issues relating to the blockade at union / community group / sports club meetings

Urge your favourite aid agency / NGO to get involved


Cuba Solidarity Christchurch

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spoken Word Event

Just plugging some good friends of ours! If you like your spoken word and poetry gritty, atmospheric, charged and powerful - this is the gig for you.

Their media release follows:

Poetry, Stories, Songs

with AJ Coyle, Ben Brown and I am the Light*

Thursday 25th September 2008 Wunderbar, London St Lyttelton, ChCh

AJ Coyle’s annual Wunderbar performance is happening on 25th of September this month and promises to be an upbeat celebration of the magic of words and the imagination, featuring powerful poetry performer Ben Brown, soulful and enigmatic singer I am the Light*, and guest appearances from an exciting array of local musicians.

AJ Coyle is one of Christchurch’s most innovative performers and a captivating story teller. The show will showcase some new material and will include a preview of advance copies of ‘Subreal Urban Myths’ a collection of poetry and stories set in and around Christchurch’s Cathedral Square.

In 2006 ‘Subreal Urban Myths’ first appeared as a performance piece featuring a soundtrack composed by brother James Coyle, keyboardist for reggae groups Hikoikoi and Safari, and folk duo Jessie James. The show was performed with a seven piece jazz/rock ensemble at the Harbourlight Theatre, Lyttelton; the Dunedin Fringe Festival, and the Wellington International Jazz Festival.

“There is a natural sense in the current urban consciousness that the world is on a ticket to human powered self-destruction. “Freedom” is a conundrum and apathy rules. Andrew Coyle’s Subreal Urban Myths explores individual journeys in this environment; each character deals with a collective or global consciousness in their own ways. Their stories form a collective subreal; a narrated and implied groundswell of a population that is on the threshold of a new existence.” - James Coyle

Guest Poet Ben Brown

Ben Brown is a multi published Lyttelton poet well known for his gripping and gruelling spoken word performances. A poet of the old school he has the capacity to grip the audience member by the throat and drag them through a fascinating world full of vivid characters, black humour and great damn lines.

Ben was recently crowned champion of performance poets in Christchurch winning his way to the top in an evening of knock out poetry at the Dux de Lux as part of The Press Christchurch Writers Festival 2008.

Ben will be performing his poems and will be accompanied from time to time from some of the local musicians. Ben will also be reading from his short story work Dogtown Blues, a hard hitting account of life in small town New Zealand.

Support Act: I am the Light*

I Am The Light (Malisa Palalagi) began gigging at age 16 and since then has played in numerous bands such as ska band 4Manbob (CHC), pop-punk band All Left Out (AKL) and currently plays in post-hardcore outfit Mona Vale Falls and folk/soul duo The Gentlys.

This diverse cross-section of genres has given Malisa endless amounts of inspiration for her own song-writing creations. I Am The Light* is an intriguing layer-cake of sounds, ideas and creativity. She is hoping to record some of her latest collaborations with other local artists later this year.

Catalyst 7: The Original Branch Manual - Launch Photos

Christchurch Writers Festival 2008
Al's Bar - Saturday 6th September

Andy Gibson

Ben Brown with Tono & The Finance Company


Jody Lloyd with Tono plus Doc Drumheller

Jody Lloyd (Trillion) with Tono & The Finance Company

Catalyst 7: The Original Branch Manual - Launch Photos

The Press Christchurch Writers Festival 2008
Al's Bar - Saturday 6th September

Lindon Puffin & Doc Drumheller

Lindon Puffin

Rachel Douglass & Le Mot Cafe

Demarnia Lloyd

Ciaran Fox & Andy Gibson

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Poetry is Free Speech - Speak Freely!

Catalyst 7: The Original Branch Manual

I just wanted to write about the significance of this volume in terms of what Catalyst is trying to achieve. At Neoismist Press we have a very human interest in numbers and their significance as well as patterns in mathematics so we can't resist doing something special for our 7th edition. Choosing to celebrate all the things we have achieved so far in Catalyst's 5 year history we wanted to represent them in this volume - poetry, visual art, design, spoken word and innovation. So on the occasion of our 5th anniversary and our 7th edition we have chosen to produce another CD volume containing 7 poems + 7 songs and in the accompanying booklet - 7 artists work. The innovation comes in the format of Catalyst 7 - forgoing the book format altogether and opting for a CD/booklet inside a DVD case.

We have long been fans of the quirky innovation of literary journal McSweeneys and have sought to emulate (with a miniscule budget)in some small way this playful approach to publishing Catalyst within New Zealand's literary scene. So far, we have largely been overlooked. Eschewed by arts funders and ignored by the literary press in New Zealand we have quietly continued to innovate and push boundaries all 'on the smell of an oily rag'. We may be small but we are proud. Catalyst was the first literary journal in NZ to commit to releasing CDs of spoken word. The polish and production of the first Spoken Word volume of poetry (accompanying Catalyst 4) drew praise from the music scene and silence from literary circles. However a raft of imitators and clones followed - poetry CD releases from other publications and poetry groups followed including the impressive series from Auckland University Press of Classic NZ Poets in Performance, Contemporary NZ Poets in Performance and lastly New NZ Poets in Performance.

Meanwhile Catalyst continues to quietly agitate in the shadows of such literary collossi. Catalyst 7: The Original Branch Manual once again breaks new ground in shifting it's format. In the first collection of spoken word (Catalyst 4), music was chosen to act as backing for the poets, enhancing and illuminating the delivery of the poem. This time round the exploration of the resonance between poetry and music is by direct contrast of songwriting and poetry. 7 songs were selected based not only on their musical quality but also their lyrical content. By juxtaposing the poems directly next to and overlapping the songs an alchemical reaction seemed to occur. In the words of Doc Drumheller "accidental synergy" even though the songs and poems were composed and written quite independently. The result of this experiment is The Original Branch Manual - Catalyst vol. 7.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Press ChCh Writers Festival


The Original Branch Manual: Catalyst 7 - LIVE!

LAUNCH EVENT featuring live performances from musicians and poets featured in CATALYST 7

Saturday 6th September, 8pm
Al’s Bar, 31 Dundas St

$10 door entry (or free with purchase of Catalyst $25)

Another Literary Gold
for Innovative Canterbury Journal

Literary Arts Journal Branches Out, Provides Manual

Lyttelton-based literary arts journal Catalyst is launching another trail-blazing edition as part of The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival 2008. Exploring the resonances between music, lyrics and poetry The Original Branch Manual: Catalyst 7 presents a little audio alchemy by playing with the ‘accidental synergy’ within music, evocative poetry and the sung lyric.

Another 1st for Christchurch in Poetry-Music Fusion.

Defying definition and bending genres has always been a feature of Catalyst. This volume breaks out of the book format altogether and marks the return of the spoken word CD from the first journal in New Zealand to produce and release a ‘poetry in performance’ recording.

This second outing for the spoken word feature once again takes the lead in fusing poetry with music in a new and interesting way. Performance poets are paired successfully with beautiful, evocative and lyrically interesting New Zealand songs in a seamless aural landscape lovingly prepared by musical auteur Jody Lloyd. She'll Be Right acts are often renowned for a sincere and thought provoking lyrical approach.” says Lloyd, “Just as brilliant lyrics come alive on the page, brilliant poetry comes alive with music.” Editor and Publisher of Catalyst Doc Drumheller emphasises the impact of Lloyd. “Through the skill and vision of producer Jody Lloyd, what has resulted is a hybridised form that invites the listener to interpret layers of sensuous details.”

Doc Drumheller

Alchemical Literary Journal Discovers ‘Accidental Synergy’

Catalyst 7: The Original Branch Manual sees the journal once more collaborating with critically acclaimed producer, rapper and founder of She’ll Be Right Records label, Jody Lloyd. A Christchurch stalwart and staunch ‘natural accent’ rapper, now based in Melbourne, Lloyd brought various artists from She’ll Be Right Records together with poets gathered by Catalyst editors Doc Drumheller & Ciarán Fox in a fresh audio-literary experiment. “We approached poets who have had success both on the stage and the page and looked for music by songwriters enriched by thought provoking lyrics.” says Drumheller. “We aimed for more of an ‘accidental synergy’ instead of a deliberate crossover when fusing these elements.”

Trillion aka Jody Lloyd

Featuring 7 local poets including Christchurch luminary Bernadette Hall; acclaimed author and poet Ben Brown and exciting emerging voices Danielle O’Halloran and Sean Joyce in performance with 7 New Zealand musical acts including Demarnia Lloyd, Lindon Puffin, John White & Trillion. Punctuated by 7 New Zealand visual artists, the journal is taking it’s 7th release to heart.
Lindon Puffin

Demarnia Lloyd

Drumheller concludes “The Original Branch Manual, Catalyst 7 is the tangible conclusion of this experiment between Neoismist Press and She’ll Be Right Records. Now this mix of written, visual and aural work invites you to add a kinaesthetic layer, by shaking your hips or tapping your feet and take the project to a new dimension.”

John White

Background on Catalyst

Founded in 2003 by Neoismist Press, Catalyst has focused on presenting new and emerging New Zealand writers alongside significant writers from here and abroad. Committed to high quality design and production as well as risk-taking and innovation, Catalyst has challenged the conventional literary journal format. This is the 7th volume from the young upstart of the New Zealand literary scene which is rapidly gaining international attention due to the calibre of featured poets and its distinctive art & design. Catalyst has previously published such internationally significant poets as South African poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile, founder of Poets Against War Sam Hamill, and president of the World Haiku Association Ban’ya Natsuishi. The Original Branch Manual: Catalyst 7 has been funded by Creative Communities - Christchurch.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coming Soon! Alchemy of the Islands

Put it in your diary folks, the next Neoismist Press launch event:

Alchemy of the Islands:
an Anthology of New Zealand and Cuban Poetry

Wednesday 13th August, 6pm
Montana Wednesday Evening
Philip Carter Family Auditorium
Christchurch Art Gallery
Free entry
Readings, images and music with a Cuban flavour.

Next Poetry Open Mic

Come howl the eternal 'yes' at Catalyst's Poetry Open Mic!

Wednesday 6th August, 8pm
Al's Bar, 31 Dundas St
BYO poetry!

You bring the poetry, Al's got the wine specials!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tribute to Hone Tuwhare

We are very proud to be a part of this event honouring one of our greatest and much loved poets.

media release from Christchurch Art Gallery follows:

Artists pay tribute to Hone Tuwhare

Performance artists from around New Zealand will gather at Christchurch Art Gallery to honour one of the country’s great literary voices.

Tribute to Hone Tuwhare will take place in the Philip Carter Family Auditorium on Friday, 27 June at 7pm. Admission to the event is free.

The tribute will feature performances by Apirana Taylor, Tusiata Avia, Bernadette Hall, Brian Potiki, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Danielle O’Halloran, Ben Brown, Doc Drumheller, Ciaran Fox and others.

Tuwhare received national acclaim with the publication of No Ordinary Son in 1964 - the first collection of poetry in English by a Māori writer. Over the course of his career, Tuwhare amassed a body of work including poetry, plays and short fiction.

Recognition and honours poured in. The University of Otago awarded him the Burns Fellowship in 1969 and 1974. He served as Berlin Writer in Residence in 1985, and received the University of Auckland Literary Fellowship in 1991.

Tuwhare became the second Te Mata Poet Laureate in 1999. In 2003, he received an Icon Award from the Arts Foundation New Zealand and a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in poetry. He also won two Montana Book Awards for poetry: in 1998 for Shapeshifter, and in 2002 for Piggy Back Moon.

Hone Tuwhare pioneered a new style of New Zealand writing, imbuing his work with a distinct Māori voice. When he passed away in January of this year, he left behind an unrivalled literary legacy for generations of artists to follow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Next Catalyst Open Mic Night

Wednesday 2nd July, 8pm
Al's Bar, 31 Dundas St, Christchurch
BYO poetry!

remember: the open mic happens the FIRST Wednesday of EVERY month. Pass it on...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Outlaw Poets

Wow, what a fantastic night at the Lyttelton Times Cafe. A good crowd turned out to see a special night of poetry celebrating the Beats and their legacy. The 'pot-luck' format worked out pretty well after all - and the night ended with an incredible 3 voice reading of Ginsberg's 'Howl', 'America' & Corso's 'Bomb'.

You shoulda been there. Seriously.

Featured poets were:

Andrew Coyle
Ben Brown
Marissa Johnpillai
Doc Drumheller
Ross Brighton
Ciaran Fox

Special thanks to Andrew for helping organise the night and the Lyttelton Times Cafe for getting it together for us.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Canterbury Poets Collective 2008

It's that time again! Canterbury Poets present
Poetry in Performance: Autumn Readings 2008
With the ever popular Open Microphone (where the audience vote for their favourite poet every session) and a galaxy of guest poets from around New Zealand - at the Madras Cafe Bookshop at 165 Madras St, (close to Allen Street and opposite the Polytechnic Campus). Many of you will already have the programme, but just in case - here it is again: readings start at 6.30pm (sharp!)

2 April Sue Wootton, Barbara McCartney, Sean Joyce - followed by Catalyst at Al's Bar!

9 April Geoff Cochrane, Nancy Mattson, Mike Bartholomew-Biggs

16 April Sioban Harvey, Kerrin Sharpe, Jeff Harpeng

23 April Othusitse Ricky Madibela, Jenny Powell-Chambers, Jenni Curtis
30 April Rhian Gallagher, Tony Beyer, Karen Zelas
And this week (April 2nd) it's also a Catalyst Open Mic night so how about a double dose of poetry? Come along to CPC Autumn Readings and then meander around the corner to Al's Bar for some no-holds-barred spoken word and sometimes, even poetry!

Haiku Aotearoa 2008

Haiku Aotearoa 2008
18 - 20 April
Bishop Julius Hostel
New Zealand

Haiku Aotearoa 2008, a conference for writers of haiku and related forms, will take place at Bishop Julius Hostel, 90 Waimairi Road, Christchurch, 18-20th April, 2008. This is the second such conference to be held in New Zealand – the first was in Wellington 2005.
New Zealand has a number of very able and internationally known writers in the field, and local interest in the various forms is growing yearly. The local group, Small White Teapot Haiku Group have assembled a programme to appeal to beginners and experts. Highlights include Richard von Sturmer’s Tanka Film presentation, and the launch of “the taste of nashi”, the third New Zealand haiku anthology.
Price for the conference is $90, or $22 for a half day session. Full board at Bishop Julius is $201.
For the brochure and enrolment form giving full details please email: or visit our website

Friday, March 28, 2008

Catalyst Poetry Open Mic

The words that come out of our mouths! We're back, and we're saying the things that need to be said. Quite often.
Wednesday 2nd April, 8pm
Al's Bar, 31 Dundas St

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lyttelton Summer Street Party

If you're thinking of heading over port-side for the Street Party to end all street parties, don't forget to check out the Rose Garden between 11.30am and 1pm for some special spoken word performances by Catalyst poets in a live soundscape.

The next Open Mic is also another Book Launch!

Look! What's that up on the stage? Is it a book? Is it a poem? YES! It's...

Neoismist Press is very proud to announce
the launch of the fourth book of 10 x (10 + -10) = 0

Super Ordinary represents the next evolutionary step in Doc Drumheller's 10 year - 10 book experimental project blurring the boundaries of art, poetry, performance, mathematics and science. The entire project, based on a physical and visual representation of helical, intersecting DNA strands is reaching it's 'grey area' middle section. Super Ordinary is printed in stark black & white and yet covers the colourful themes of escapism, fantasy and hero worship, the abdication of responsibility by us all, the power of symbols and the lure of '15 megabytes of fame'.

Come help us celebrate the release of Super Ordinary at Al's Bar with a special super hero launch party!

Come dressed as your favourite superhero - ordinary or otherwise - spot prize for best costume/idea.

Al's Bar, 31 Dundas St, Christchurch
Wednesday 5th March, 7.30pm
Open Mic to follow

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

We Have Lift Off!

Launching Catalyst volume 6

Wednesday 6 February, 8pm
Al's Bar

Come help us celebrate the arrival of Catalyst's 6th volume of new writing with a tasty beverage at Al's Bar.