A Pacific Literature Conference in Aotearoa and Guest Editing Tinfish Press

so i was hoping to write a post about how my second book was published, but unfortunately i’m running short on time because this friday i’m heading to Aotearoa/new zealand for the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Language and Literary Studies (SPACLALS) conference: “Reading and Writing in the Pacific.”

according to the event’s website, this conference asks: “Who is writing and reading? What and how are we writing and reading? Where do we read and write? Why do we read and write? What hasn’t yet been written or read?” hosted with  Victoria University of Wellington, the program includes a mix of panels, workshops, and creative presentations. 

the program takes place at Te Herenga Waka Marae, the marae at Victoria University of Wellington. from their website: “Te Herenga Waka (‘the gathering place of the canoes’) was the first university marae and is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011. The SPACLALS conference is part of the 25th anniversary celebrations, and on the Friday evening we will enjoy an event in which participants of the SPACLALS conference will perform original poetry dedicated to the house and presented to the members of the Te Herenga Waka marae community.”

i’ll be presenting a paper on contemporary chamoru poetry. i’ll also be a reader at a huge gathering of Pacific poets. the event is called “Hou: Daren Kamali Book Launch and Maori/Pacific Poetry Reading.” it’ll take place at Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand–a stunningly beautiful venue I’m told.

I’m excited to hear Daren Kamali perform. About this talented poet: “Daren is a Pacific performance poet, writer, musician, and youth worker. He is of Fijian and Wallis and Futuna decent and migrated to New Zealand in 1992. Daren fuses the spoken word with music, creating chants, melodies, rhymes, and harmonies. His writings and music are inspired by his upbringing in Fiji and New Zealand. For Daren, writing is a vehicle and music is its driver. His debut album, Immigrant Story, was released in 2000. His EP album Keep It Real was released in 2005. He has toured extensively throughout the Pacific and Australasia. He’s a founder and member of various creative collectives, and since 2004 has been a freelance youth mentor in New Zealand, Fiji, and elsewhere.”

The Maori and Pacific Poetry Reading after Daren’s performance includes an all-star line-up of Pacific writers (as alice put it, a whole shelf of Pacific writing come to life):

Albert Wendt

Teresia Teaiwa

Emelihter Kihleng

Brandy Nalani McDougall (Hawaii)

Craig Santos Perez (Guam)

Selina Tusitala Marsh

South Auckland Poets Collective

Mohit Prasad (Fiji)

Regis Stella (PNG)

Mua Strickson-Pua

Sina Va’ai (Samoa)

Karlo Mila

Tusiata Avia

Alice Te Punga Somerville

OMG. so i am very excited to meet many of these amazing writers for the first time. my soon to be doctor friend and i will also be vacationing a bit before and after the conference throughout Aotearoa. i’ll be gone a few weeks, so that’s why i won’t be blogging for a spell.

so for this past week, besides packing, i’ve been trying to wrap up a new project i’m excited to announce today. last year, editor of TINFISH PRESS Susan Schultz invited me to guest edit two titles for Tinfish to publish this year! of course, since TINFISH published my first book i just couldnt refuse the chance to give two new authors the chance to join the tinfish family. full circle.

after many months of work, the first book of my tenure with TINFISH is completed. we still have to check proofs from the printer, but the manuscript and cover are done!

and the first author is: JAI ARUN RAVINE!

the cover art and interior were done by the one and only: Sumet (Ben) Viwatmanitsakul, the same designer who did my book (to publishers out there, keep your eye on this designer!). click on the jpg at the top of this post to see a larger image of the cover–if you zoom you can read the blurbs).

the book will be ready to sell this summer and i hope you might check it out–it’s one of the best first books i’ve ever read. here’s a bit about jai:

“Jai Arun Ravine is a Thai American and luk kreung writer, dancer, video and performance artist. They received an MFA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University. Ze is the author of the chapbook Is This January (Corollary Press, 2010) and creator of The Spiderboi Files. A Kundiman fellow, hir poetry, essays, reviews and visual art have appeared in Drunken Boat, Lantern Review, Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, TinFish 18, Delirious Hem and Galatea Resurrects, among others. Find Jai online at jaiarunravine.wordpress.com.

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5 thoughts on “A Pacific Literature Conference in Aotearoa and Guest Editing Tinfish Press

  1. wow, have a great time in NZ! sounds like a totally amazing conference (hey, i thot you told me you were going on vacation…!)

    also, looking forward to jai’s book. and LOVE the picture.

  2. Craig! Safe travels and I hope you and Nālani have had a wonderful time. That looks like an amazing conference.

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