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.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Christchurch Poetry Slam 2018 - 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!

Christchurch Poetry Slam in association with WORD Christchurch

For the first time ever, we're proud to present the Christchurch Poetry Slam as part of WORD Christchurch, the bi-annual literary festival for readers, writers and the bi-curious.

One of the biggest events on the Christchurch literary calendar, the Slam is going to be even bigger this year due to its inclusion in the festival programme and the interest generated from last year's champion Daisy Speaks going on to take out the NZ Poetry Slam in Hamilton.

There's even more on the line here as the NZ Poetry Slam will this year be hosted in Christchurch, so the 2018 ChCh champ gets to take home crowd advantage for the first time ever.

The Christchurch Poetry Slam 2018 will be hosted by the ever-irreverent Ciaran Fox, Slam Master (an honorary title if ever there was one) and featuring a special guest performance by NZ Slam impresario and one of the world's great performance poets Carrie Rudzinski

Pitting poet against poet, newcomer vs old-timer, it's poetry but not as you know it. (Unless you've been to one before...) The audience judges and the challenge to the poets is to connect, communicate and cut through.

Door sales only and this event will likely sell out so don't be late, either as audience or poet. Doors open and sign-up starts at 7pm. There is a limit of 12 slammers, first in, best dressed.

The official NZ Poetry Slam rules are here.