Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mahinarangi Tocker tribute: broadsheet: new nz poetry no.10

The tenth issue of broadsheet features a tribute to the celebrated singer, songwriter and poet, Mahinarangi Tocker (1955-2008).

The issue celebrates Tocker’s contribution to Aotearoa/New Zealand music and poetry. It includes unpublished poetry by Tocker and tributes by her friends Charlotte Yates, C K Stead, Andrew Fagan, Michael O’Leary and Paula Harris.
Also included is new work by Tony Chad, Laura Solomon, Jenny Powell, Richard Langston, David Eggleton and Nola Borrell and posthumously published work by two poets of New Zealand’s literary past: Robert J Pope (1865-1949) and Ivy Gibbs (1886?-1966).

Here is the Preface to the issue by the editor Mark Pirie:

I first met the singer, songwriter and poet Mahinarangi Tocker through the musician Charlotte Yates in 2003. The two were currently working together and promoting their live album Touring. I had interviewed Charlotte for JAAM magazine no. 17 that I was editing at the time. A photo of them is included in that issue. I also knew Mahinarangi through another contact Paula Harris, a regular contributor to JAAM who published her first poetry book lyrics without melody that I had asked Lewis Scott to review for JAAM 16 (2001).
I didn’t have much contact with her on a regular level till she submitted a manuscript of her poetry to me in 2006. I had just published Andrew Fagan’s book Overnight Downpour and my company HeadworX was increasingly well-known in poetry publishing circles after I’d attended the 2005 London Book Fair.
I got to know her mainly through emails while working on the manuscript that I titled (after her poem) ‘Minutes & Seconds’. Constant revisions were being made to her poems for the book. I still have several versions of some of her poems in my files. I submitted the book to Creative NZ but it’s always a lottery with funding and I was turned down. I told Mahinarangi I wouldn’t be able to publish her book. I kept her file of poems, revisions and emails just in case I could do something for her later on. Sadly Mahinarangi died suddenly in 2008. I couldn’t get my head round publishing her poems for a number of years, until this year I felt like I had to do something to get the best of her poems in print.
Mahinarangi is above all a love poet in song and printed word and a powerful one. A close reading will reveal that nearly all her poetry is of intimate moments and memories between lovers, friends and whanau. Lewis Scott wrote of her: ‘...her songs too are about the human spirit seeking "a truth" and about the truth we find in exchanges in each other….she speaks the truth of understanding love spoken and given…’ The best of her poetry deserves recognition alongside J C Sturm and Roma Potiki.
This modest broadsheet issue is my tribute to Mahinarangi. I’m indebted to her friends Charlotte Yates, C K Stead, Andrew Fagan, Michael O’Leary (the cover artwork), David Eggleton and Paula Harris for their remarkable tributes and contributions.
As always in broadsheet, a regular turnover of contributors is maintained with Tony Chad and Nola Borrell appearing here for the first time, and two neglected poets of our literary past Ivy Gibbs and Robert J Pope recently republished in book form also appear.
Mark Pirie
Wellington, November 2012

broadsheet is published twice a year in May and November

Subscriptions to:

The Editor
Flat 4C/19 Cottleville Terrace
Wellington 6011
Aotearoa / New Zealand

Cost per year
$12.00 for 2 issues.
Cheques payable to: HeadworX

ISSN 1178-7805 (Print)
ISSN 1178-7813 (Online)

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