Friday, November 16, 2012

Successful Launch of Celanie

[Sunday, 25th November, 2012: 2-4 pm]

Celanie: Poems & Drawings after Paul Celan. Poems by Jack Ross & Drawings by Emma Smith. Introduction by Jack Ross. Afterword by Bronwyn Lloyd. ISBN: 978-0-473-22484-4. Pania Samplers, 3. Auckland: Pania Press, 2012. 168 pp.

brief 46: the survival issue. Ed. Bronwyn Lloyd. Auckland: The Writers Group, 2012. 156 pp.

[cover design: Ellen Portch / Cover image: Emma Smith]

I guess the difference between a successful launch and an unsuccessful one pretty much comes down to two words: Bronwyn & Thérèse. There were paper lanterns hanging in the trees, there were delicious home-baked desserts weighing down the tables, there was bunting up on every side - there was even a little dinghy filled with toys and books for all the various small children who came along to the event.


[Bookshed & back-table]

[Karl Chitham & Emma Bennett supervising the drinks table]

[Big Tom in the dinghy]

[Thérèse in the dinghy]

The result was the best launch Pania Press has ever had, with the largest number of people, and a profusion of books, paintings and craft items to tempt every palate.



[Pania Stock on sale]

[Britain's Missing Top Model]

There were quite a few thank-you's we had to make, to the people who made it all possible, and I'd like to repeat some of those here:

The Garden:

[A view of the garden]

[Unstable Banks - Don't Play Near the Creek]

  • to my parents, John and June Ross, for lending us their idyllic backyard for the party, and watching with equanimity all the modifications we've been making to it over the past few days.
  • to Emma Smith, my collaborator on the book, for making the whole project come to life with her brilliant, terrifying drawings.
  • to Michele Leggott, for agreeing to come and launch the book, and for making such an electrifying and inspiring speech to the assembled writers and artists.
  • to Brett Cross and Ellen Portch, whose design work helped so much with the finished product.
  • to John Muirhead, Head of the School of English and Media Studies at Massey University, who made a generous contribution to the production costs of the book from School research funds.
  • to Michael Arnold, managing editor of brief magazine (whose latest issue, edited by Bronwyn, was also being launched on this occasion), who paid for all the drinks we consumed.
  • but finally, most of all, to Bronwyn & Thérèse Lloyd - ably seconded by our good friend Karl Chitham - who shouldered the burden of organising and catering the whole event, and who don't seem to get flapped at any emergency.

[l to r: Jack Ross, Bronwyn Lloyd, Thérèse Lloyd & Karl Chitham]

[Karl Chitham takes a well-earned rest]

But profuse thanks too to all of you who came along, enjoyed yourself in the sunshine of Mairangi Bay, and forked out so generously for copies of brief and Celanie, as well as the numerous drawings Emma sold from her exhibition accompanying the launch, hung so beautifully by the artist herself, with the assistance of her friend Jane Henzell.

The Launch:

[Bronwyn introducing Michele Leggott]

[Michele launches the book]

[Jack reads from the poems]

The Exhibition:

[Emma Smith & Jane Henzell hanging Emma's "Celanie" series]

[eight of the twenty works in the series]

[the other two on display]

The Party:

[An aerial view]

[l to r: Jack Ross, Peter Madden, Thérèse Lloyd, Michael Steven & Brett Cross]

[l to r: Naomi Richards, Richard von Sturmer, Scott Hamilton & Rachel Fenton]

[Aneirin Hamilton]

[crowd shot (1)]

[crowd shot (2)]

[crowd shot (3)]

[Ellen Portch with Rita]

[Brett reads to Rita]

You know that an event has gone well when everyone is so reluctant to leave that you end up with a kind of after-party down by the creek, drinking the last few bottles of wine, and arguing over the merits of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce ...

[The afterparty]

So, in conclusion, to find online textual notes for Celanie, go to this page.

For fuller bibliographical details of the book, go here.

For more information about Emma Smith's work, you can go here.

For a complete list of Pania Press publications to date, go here

and to purchase a book, go here.


The word

goes deep
we read it
the yearswords since
Still that

You knowthat space is infinite
you knowyou don't have to fly
you knowwhat's written in your eye
goes deep enough for me

When artist Emma Smith and poet Jack Ross came up with the idea for this book: an amalgam of images and poems, “translated” from their understanding of the work of German poet Paul Celan (1920-1970), it was the word Celanie, the description Celan himself used for the little set of Parisian streets and suburbs which constituted the heart of his world-in-exile, that inspired them.

Ross’s choice of texts has its origins in the correspondence between Celan and his wife, French artist Gisèle Celan-Lestrange, and – specifically – in the poems, often enriched with glossaries and occasionally even complete dual-text versions, which he so frequently included in his letters to her.

The decisions that lie behind the choice of subject-matter for Emma Smith’s pictures are expounded further in Bronwyn Lloyd’s Afterword, “A Figure of Polished Desolation,” especially written for this volume.

Pania Press: ISBN 978-0-473-22484-4

NB: There's a review of the book up already on the Massey News site.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Madeleine

My Madeleine: A Sampler of Stories

by Libby Brickell, Kate Davis, Isabel Haarhaus, Frances Kelly & Bronwyn Lloyd

A5 booklet, 44 pages. Printed on Conqueror acid free laid paper stock (120gsm) with five hand stamped illustrations, and a hand printed Manilla cover.

Price: $20.00 NZ

Pania Sampler

This year, to celebrate the first anniversary of the writers' group that I belong to with Isabel Haarhaus, Fran Kelly, Kate Davis and Libby Brickell, we've put together a small anthology of our stories. The work of each of the five contributors in the book includes an illustration referring to some aspect of our stories. I've designed some simple rubber stamps to be printed in each book.

One of Libby Brickell's stories, 'The Emporium', is an enchanting story about an unhappy young woman who cheers herself up with frequent visits to an amazing sweet shop. The head chocolatier creates all kinds of wondrous treats that are individually gift-wrapped by his assistants in a style that perfectly suits the purchaser. On this particular day, the woman is drawn to 'a small pile of pebble-sized candy, all rough and brown like pieces of winter-hardened mud.' She selects six pieces and takes them to the counter where they are packaged for her in an elegant red box. Strange things start to happen to the candy the moment the woman leaves the store ...

Isabel's story 'Making your bed' is about the breakdown of a long-standing relationship between two neighbours living on Waiheke island. The elderly man at the centre of the story keeps an aviary of exotic parrots, including one breed in which the females of the species must be separated during mating season due to their vicious temperament. The dissolution of the friendship between the neighbours, Owen and Helen, caused by the advent of a new lover in the old man's life, with obvious designs on his valuable property, comes to a terrifying conclusion when someone neglects to separate the caged parrots and the mother bird tears her three daughters to pieces.

Fran is putting together a beautiful collection of settler stories, many of which are sourced from her own family history, which includes the dubious distinction of having famous baby farmer and murderer Minnie Dean as a distant relation! Interspersed among stories based on historical figures are a number of charming fairy stories, including one about a naughty English fairy called Berry who stows away on a strawberry plant bound for New Zealand and embarks on all kinds of adventures.

Kate has nearly completed her first collection of stories about sex-workers called The Whore Next Door. Each fascinating story in the collection deals with a different woman and a different aspect of the industry, but there are also a number of subtle intersections between the lives of the characters across various of the stories. The story 'Eve' deals with the subject of how a parlour worker selects their name. After receiving a lot of conflicting advice, Eve eventually settles on Eden as her professional name because she is ready and willing to embrace her new life of sin.

I'm working on my second collection of short stories called A Slow Alphabet, which was inspired by a conversation I had with photographer Peter Peryer back in the early 1990s. Peter was explaining the difficulties he was having compiling a photographic ABC book for children. He said that he was satisfied with 'A for Alligator' and 'D for Doughnuts', but he was struggling with the other 24 letters. I remember thinking at the time that his would be a slow alphabet, and that generated the idea for a collection of stories that takes as its theme the way that all of us evolve an alphabet of sorts throughout our lives. Our own alphabet might favour certain letters (mine has three C's, for instance) and other letters might be omitted entirely.

Working with this talented and diverse group of writers has been one of the highlights of my year, and I think that our Christmas anthology is a really nice way to celebrate the progress we've made in our writing over the past 12 months.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Lounge Room Tribalism

As you can tell from this post on Mosehouse Studio, putting together this typed-out poetry text by Jack (inspired by the Graham Fletcher painting which hangs in our lounge) with some collage fragments by Graham himself, was a lot of fun.

Lounge Room Tribalism. Poem by Jack Ross. Collage by Graham Fletcher. Design by Bronwyn Lloyd. Auckland: Pania Press, October 2011.

Here's us in front of the painting:

[photo by Katharina Jaeger]

& here are some more of the results:


(December 25, 2015) Antigone . Poem by Jack Ross. Design by Bronwyn Lloyd. Pania Singles 3. Auckland: Pania Press, 2015. Every Chri...