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.


  1. Jack Ross is mediocrity incarnate. His "poems," are testament to this sad fact.

  2. Nice to hear your opinion, "Anonymous." Clive James made more or less the same point about Celan himself in that strange compendium of his Cultural Amnesia. At least all three of us had the courage to sign our names to our views, though.


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