blackmail press 20
Blackmail Press 20

Featured Artist Amanda Kemp
click on image to view more
of her outstanding works
Talofa Lava, Welcome indeed,

I was recently awarded CNZ funding for a performance poetry show called P O L Y N A T I O N, which will feature Karlo Mila, Tusiata Avia, Serie Barford, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Kath Hayward-Nathan, Daren Kamali, Mua Strickson Pua, Tim Page and myself. We will be performing at the Queensland Poetry Festival in 2008. P O L Y N A T I O N follows on from this years performance at St Kevin's Arcade with Ben Kemp & Uminari and blackmail press SPOKEN WORD Issue.
It is an exciting time for Pacifika literature. Being of Samoan and English descent it is important to me to contribute to the momentum of interest in Pacifika Literature, I acknowledge that poetry is a natural progression from oratory and song, which are two cultural aspects common to both Maori and Pacific peoples.
Albert Wendt and Sia Figel are arguably two of the most significant novelists and poets from Pacific descent. Both writers broke new ground and created a new literary voice for Pacifika writers. Today Karlo Mila, Tusiata Avia, Serie Barford, Tulia Thomson, Selina Tusitala Marsh are Pacifika writers leading the way. I highly recommend the following releases from these inspiring writers
Tapa Talk - Serie Barford
Wid Dogs Under My Skirt - Tusiata Avia
Dream Fish Floating - Karlo Mila
Josefa and the Vu - Tulia Thompson
Niu Voices - Contemporary Pacific Fiction 1 - Edited by Selina Tusitala Marsh.

Blackmail Press 20 features the return of Mark Pirie, Owen Bullock, Robert McLean, Nicholas Messenger, Steve Olivecrona, Emanuel E Garcia, Salman Sheehan and Graham Nunn. I am particularly excited to present Robert Scott, frontman of the mercurial New Zealand band "The Bats". Nosia Fogogo, new to Aotearoa and a young and inspiring poet, Australian poet Josephine Rowe, Duane Locke is an American poet I have admired for many years, I first encounted his works on David Barne's Poetry Downunder, so I am excited to present his works in an issue of blackmail press.
New Poets to blackmail, Amy Mackiewicz, Mike Collins, Rebecca Isgrove, Rebecca Manners J.S. Kern and William Cooke round off our New Zealand poets, all are fine up and coming poets so keep an eye out for them in the future.

Featured Links for this issue, Poetica, ABC's poetry radio show hosted by Mike Ladd is a gem of a site and a great companion to Lynne Freeman's Arts on Sunday, I highly recommend Mikes show, the webpage has podcasts and replays of the latest shows aired, check it out, you won't be disappointed.
Selina Tusitala Marsh's Pacifika Poetry site hosted on NZEPC has been updated with video footage of Albert Wendt and Sia Figel reciting poetry, an absolute must see! Tusiata Avia's performance poetry show Wild Dogs Under My Skirt is also featured, it has excerpts from the show, essential viewing if you have not been fortuante enought to see the show live, check it out!

Lastly distinguished poet and University of Auckland scholar Michele Leggott, who has been announced as the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2007/08!
Michele’s publisher, AUP Director Sam Elworthy, said, “Michele Leggott is not only a great poet, widely recognized in New Zealand and around the world, she is also an innovative promoter of poetry through her New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre, dynamic teaching, and through her editorial work on poets such as Robin Hyde and Alan Brunton. We congratulate Michele on this great honour.”
The Minister responsible for the National Library, the Hon Judith Tizard, announced the appointment at a function at Parliament last night.
“Michele has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry and I'm thrilled to announce her role as the 2007/08 New Zealand Poet Laureate.”
Michele Leggott is an Associate Professor in The University of Auckland's Department of English Department and founding Director of the NZ Electronic Poetry Centre (, an important international and national digital resource for poets, schools, universities and the reading public. She has published five books of poetry and has edited five anthologies of poetry and criticism. Her first collection, Like This?, won the PEN First Best Book of Poetry in 1989 and Dia (AUP, 1994) won the 1995 NZ Book Award for Poetry.
The Poet Laureate Award was established earlier this year to recognise writers who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry. Administered by the National Library of New Zealand, the Poet Laureate is selected biennially and receives an award of $50,000 per year. The Poet Laureate's working papers and published work will be preserved in the National Library's National Digital Heritage Archive and in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.
The New Zealand Poet Laureate Award is based on the Te Mata Poet Laureate scheme, which it will supersede. Congratulations Michele, you are an inspiration to us here at blackmail press!

Well, look out for our special issue "Crossed Culture" edited by Rene Liang, due out early 2008, thanks for a great year and I hope you have enjoyed the poetic offerings of 2007, and I can assure you 2008 is gonna be even better.

Tofa Soifua

Doug Poole