Friday, July 13, 2012

Survivor Poetry 2012 - let's get it ON

It's true - Survivor Poetry returns as part of The Press Christchurch Writers Festival 2012.  It's great news all round as you might remember the last time Christchurch tried to hold our biennial Writers Festival a little something got in the way.

We managed to reschedule Survivor and run it anyway at AL's Bar in November 2010 - here's the post match round up.  On that occasion the inaugural Survivor Poet was the deceptively soft-spoken Sean Joyce with Micah Timona Ferris runner up in what proved to be a nail-biting finish decided by one vote!  We turned it into a fundraising event for the Red Cross EQ relief fund and raised $250.  Sadly, we only got to have a couple more poetry nights at AL's Bar before the major quake on 22nd February.  We miss you AL's Bar.

But poetry survived of course and the ultimate test of ruthless poetic survival of the fittest is back!

Thanks to The Press Christchurch Writers Festival we're proudly bringing this unique performance poetry event back for the entertainment of many and the terror of a few poets.

Here's the link to the listing in the official festival programme.  Bring it!

Participation in this event is strictly limited (and not for the faint-hearted!) You must audition to be part of the event.  Audtions will be held at the next Catalyst Poetry open mic on Tuesday 7th August at the Pegasus Arms upstairs (Vespa Room).  Further details will be posted soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Catalyst 24hr Flash - A Walk in the Rain by Kay Luff - overall winner!

A Walk in the Rain

By Kay Luff

Early on a Saturday morning I sit on the edge of our bed flicking sleep out of the corner of my eyes. You continue to sleep. A photo frame you gave me for my birthday blocks the clock radio on my bedside cabinet. The words ‘I love you’ are inscribed along its bottom edge. You placed that image of us at your thirtieth birthday dressed as the Village People. We sang ‘YMCA’ at the top of our voices until someone mentioned the words “sexual orientation”. You lost your temper.

                Outside our window is the place we met. Standing on the street corner you offered me the shelter of your umbrella. Now it leans on the inside of our front door. My copy of “Jonathan Livingstone Seagull” rests on your side of the bed. You use it as a coaster. Turning over you breathe heavily the way you say girls often do.

On our trip to Bali I bought a bunch of wooden frangipani flowers. In the middle of our dining table they don’t look over-priced. More importantly I couldn’t resist the charms of those market women. Ignoring the leather boat shoes you discovered in an exquisite boutique store I pull on my well worn basketball boots. And I take a walk in the rain. 

Catalyst 24hr Flash - untitled by Lucette Hindin

by Lucette Hindin

A photo of you. I know it is morning because the dairy owner is doing chi kung again. It is winter: my bad framing has caught half a seagull waiting on a fence for you to drop your chips. You're only seventeen and wear blue patterned leggings and a black dress with bare arms. Will I ever see you again? Something happened and you left. Again. I must be old to say “again” so many times. History is repeating for us now. The voices of the past become the voices of the present. They say “this place is no good.”

It is generally accepted that this place is no good: heavy, sad, full of negative ions and spiritual darkness. We walked the city streets at night. One week we were re-invented hippies with flowers in our hair, the next goths with black nail polish. Fashion isn't political for fourteen year old girls. Now my shoes have holes in them. Now you live up north. More rain, no more earthquakes. You have two children. You sell almond croissants at the village market.

The truth is that I would love to leave here too. I miss who we once were.

Catalyst 24hr Flash - The Cat & the Seagull by Jeni Curtis

The cat and the seagull 

by Jeni Curtis

There once lived, at the foot of a tree-lined mountain near the sea, a youngish woman.
“What I really need are flowers,” she said to her cat, one morning.
“What she really needs are flowers,” the cat said to the seagull on the roof.
But there were no flowers to be seen around the place.
“The best I can do are starfish,” said the seagull.
“What I really need is love,” said the woman. She had watched the girls in the nearby village. They were slim and pretty, while she was plump and plain. She listened to their laughing voices as they walked on high-heeled shoes. Those were days that were full of rain.
Jacob, who owned the motel at the edge of the village, walked along the beach. He was shy of the laughing girls, and yet he longed for love. He saw a cat and a seagull standing over a clump of starfish and seaweed. Jacob gathered them into a bucket and covered it with gladwrap.
He went quietly to the door of the youngish woman.
“I have brought these for you,” he said and uncovered the bucket.
Inside there were a dozen bright sunflowers.

Catalyst 24hr Flash - Falling by Nod Ghosh



Kicking her shoes off with a howl, DeAnne voices her concerns to anyone who'll listen.
"Why isn't anyone helping me?"
She sits on the edge of the bed swinging her legs. Most of the people in the place are beyond caring about petulant suicidal young girls. It's been more than ten minutes since she saw a staff member. Perhaps she could...there's a sharp piece She looks at people on the other side of the ward.
Peggy sits stock-still, her little seagull eyes staring straight ahead. There's a brown rubber ring under her bottom, for piles.
Reg makes a "zzzzzzzzz" noise, mowing the imaginary lawn near his bed.  He plants flowers made of tissue paper in Heather's underwear drawer. Everyone knows Reg is in love with Heather.
DeAnne thinks of love, and is desperate to know where Shane is.
He promised to visit this morning.
Just after eleven he walks in looking sheepish.
Violent curses rain down on his head.  Curling his bottom lip he looks towards the floor like a village idiot.
"You don't really love me, do you?" she balls up her emotion and throws it at him to catch. He is silent.
It never occurs to DeAnne to be civil to her ex-boyfriend. It never occurs to her that Shane is only here out of a sense of duty. It never occurs to her that Shane could disappear from her life like a puff of wind.
And all the time, she feels like she is falling.

Catalyst 24hr Flash - Richard by Steve Carter


by Steve Carter

All the girls in the village think I'm weird but I love that three-legged seagull.  Today I made him some tiny leather shoes: one red, one white, one blue.  He'd be like a flying Union Jack if he could only get off the ground. 

I know they'll most likely get ruined.  I made him a waistcoat once, stitched all over with seven hundred miniature crocheted flowers.  I found it the next day, torn to shreds and lonely-looking, sodden in a muddy puddle.

As for the purple and yellow paisley scarf I made for him from twine spun from my own hair ... that came back stinking of shellfish and stained in a slightly disconcerting way.  I wasn't angry.  I simply washed it the next day in the light morning rain shower and then draped it over a lavender bush to dry in midday sunbeams.

People tell me he doesn't care for all my efforts and attention but it's not really my place to question his gratitude or lack of it.
I just do what the voices tell me.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Catalyst 24hr Flash - A Morning Place by Susan Kornfeld

A Morning Place 

by Susan Kornfeld 

Hoihoi was a morning place. That’s what the girls liked to say about the  cliff-top bach. Summers meant breakfast in a lounge drenched in sunlight while far below, the Torongi River flashed its way past the village to the sea. Seagulls woke us with their accusing, assertive voices and winds plied the cliffs. Hoihoi is Maori for noisy. Most mornings you might as well not talk.
            It’s the place I think of, though, when I think of the girls. Golden Melanie with her crayons and chalks. So easy to love. Gilda, the older sister, always watching. Sunlight and shadow. I keep Melanie’s picture on the bureau. Graeme took the family portrait when he left. So there was a space.
            Gilda just bought a house in Timaru. I know because she sent me an email about the blue flowers that used to line the front deck. They’re Forget-me-nots, I wrote back. It wasn’t true. They were some sort of borage. But I never want her to forget.
            Gilda, like a ghost, white T and shorts, no shoes, running with her arms full of air and wet with rain. Where’s your sister, I asked. The wind took her words.
            What I did hear: the sound of a lone seagull. “Fall, fall,” it screamed. “Lie, Lie.” Graeme blamed me, but I hadn’t been the one holding Melanie’s hand. I would have remembered that. Gilda’s words never returned. They are too ashamed, I said, to come back.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

24 Hour Flash Winners announced!

We posted the names last night on facebook so here you go...

A pretty fun Catalyst on Tuesday night, launching The Cardinal's Humour AND announcing the winner and 5 runners up of our inaugural 24 Hour Flash competition... we'll be sending off the six stories to the NFFD team (thanks Michelle Elvy!) and also publishing them on the Catalyst blog. A big congrats and thank you to everyone who entered and helped celebrate NZ's first national Flash Fiction Day on 22nd June - Flash Harrys, all of you. 

Alright, enough with the ado. Congratulations to the runners up: 

Susan Kornfeld - A Morning Place
Lucette Miriam Hindin - untitled
Nod Ghosh - Falling
Jeni Curtis - The Cat & the Seagull
Steve Carter - Richard

And drumroll please... the winner is:  
Kay Luff - A Walk in the Rain.

We will be publishing these stories soon right here, check in again.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Cardinal's Humour

Don't forget the grand book launch tomorrow night (see the details in the post below) featuring selected readings and also live music from the song lyrics in the book - by Doc Drumheller and Aaron Boot.

Just to whet your appetite here's a couple of excerpts from the book itself - these are actual page grabs - click on the images for a full size view.  Enjoy!

Peace a la Carte by Doc Drumheller

art work by Gail Anderson