Indie Publishing Roundup
Indie: A small independent; unaffiliated; an obscure form of art which one learns about from someone slightly hipper than oneself. Here’s the bi-monthly Pantograph roundup of what’s happening in Aotearoa New Zealand indie publishing.
Wellington publisher Seraph Press is launching a series of translation chapbooks, beginning with Shipwrecks/Shelters: Six Contemporary Greek Poets, edited and translated by Vana Manasiadis, and Observations: Poems, by Claudio Pasi, translated by Tim Smith with Marco Sonzogni. Both collections end with a poem translated into te reo Māori – by Hemi Kelly in Shipwrecks/Shelters and one by Te Ataahia Hurihanganui in Observations – which the translators wanted to include as an acknowledgement of the indigenous language of New Zealand.
Of the series, Seraph publisher Helen Rickerby says: “The idea came from my co-series editor Vana Manasiadis, whose first poetry collection, Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: A Mythistorima, I published in 2009. She has spent many years living in Greece, and when she came back a couple of years ago she felt the loss of literature from other languages, as we don't read much poetry in translation here. We had talked about publishing a single chapbook of her translations from Greek, but then I introduced her to Marco Sonzogni (who teaches Italian and literary translation at Victoria University) and she suggested to me the idea of an ongoing series.”
The chapbooks will be launched at 2.30pm at Vic Books, Wellington, on Saturday 19 November. In a panel discussion, the translators will talk about their books, the translation process, some of the knotty issues they came across, and why they think translation is important.
Auckland publisher Anahera Press is launching Simone Kaho’s debut poetry collection, Lucky Punch. Kaho is a New Zealand poet with Tongan ancestry, and part of a new generation of Pasifika voices, so the collection fits with the Press’s vision of providing a platform for authors writing outside the mainstream, with a focus on Māori and Pasifika writers.
Of Lucky Punch, publisher Kiri Piahana-Wong says: “The collection tracks the lived experience of a mixed-race Tongan girl growing up in 1980s Auckland with her childhood ally and sometimes nemesis, Henry. Written as a series of interlinked prose poems, Lucky Punch straddles the line between poetry and memoir. Familiar settings and scenarios are dissected through an unsentimental lens, illuminating cross-cultural tensions that are a way of life for many in New Zealand.”
Of her debut Kaho says: “Lucky Punch is dedicated to sensitive and beautiful-spirited men and boys, the ones who get beaten down by New Zealand’s macho culture. It is also a homage to the underdogs; people of any culture who don’t fit ‘the mould’ and suffer as a result.”
Lucky Punch will be launched at The Thirsty Dog, Karangahape Road, Auckland, 8pm Tuesday 15 November.
Atlas Literary Journal
Atlas is a new literary journal of writing on medicine and the human body (the first issue was launched during September 2016 and takes its name from the first vertebra in the body). This beautifully-produced journal features poetry, short stories, critical essays and interviews by doctors, patients, and medical students, with an aim to foster a greater appreciation of creativity in medicine.
Publisher and med student Helen Ker hopes the journal will shift medical conversations away from the rigid and prescriptive to a form that reflects and celebrates our complexities. Atlas also offers a space for critical discussion of issues faced by the New Zealand healthcare system, its patients and their doctors. In this interview Ker talks about the close relationship between medicine, literature, metaphor and narrative, and submissions are open for issue two!
HauNui Press have recently launched Helen Lehndorf’s Write to the Centre, which is a “lo-fi guide to journaling in a hi-tech world.” Richly illustrated and narrated, the guide helps readers to create their own personal journals “that provide a home for your mind, savouring life’s moments with scissors and gluestick at the ready.”
Of the book, Lehndorf says: “Write to the Centre came about after I had taught journaling workshops and shared my own journals with students – they gave me the idea of making a book, from their positive responses. I had to overcome a lot of fear to pursue this project. It is a vulnerable, revealing book, but I want to inspire and encourage people to be more creatively engaged with their lives, so I decided the risk was worth it.”
At the WORD Christchurch festival in August 2016, Freerange Press launched a collection of essays, Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism. The collection was edited by Freerange publishers Barnaby Bennett and Emma Johnson, along with Giovanni Tiso and Sarah Illingworth. The collection is “a multi-author book that explores the changing nature of journalism in this country: as it once was, as it is today, and how we might imagine it working in the future.” For some extra street cred, publishers Bennett and Johnson were also named in The Spinoff list, “Power ranking the new generation of New Zealand literature.” Pantograph Punch reviewer Joe Nunweek was impressed, if not entirely satisfied by the volume.
You don’t get more indie than sitting in your lounge, folding and stapling zines. This year’s Wellington Zinefest is being held from 12pm – 5pm, Saturday 19 November at Wellington High School. Apparently all of the stalls are fully booked so it’s going to be zine-loving madness. If you want to prep, there are interviews with contributing zine-makers on the Wellington ZineFest blog.