Archive for March, 2009

The Answers

From the last post

a) Lauris Edmond

b) Rita Angus

c) Janet Frame

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Here are some quotes that I have read while researching this weekend that have resonated. Guess the source and/or subject and win a (virtual) chocolate fish.

I decided I must do degree work in the mornings while my youngest child was at kindergarten, and breakfast dishes, washing and housework in the afternoons…the sensation of turning my back on [the housework] and walking upstairs to sit down…was one of exquisitely guilty pleasure

a highly sensitive person who could hurt others without being aware of it; an intelligent and open minded woman who could fix on an idea and cling to it…even the loyal xxx struggled to understand her prickliness and defensiveness…her too-literal reaction to spoken or written words…”

A writer must stand on the rock of her self and her judgement or be swept away by the tide or sink in the quaking earth

A clue – they are all women, all New Zealanders.

EDIT: I’ll post answers late on Monday to give people a chance at guessing.

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The universal statement

Having just written elsewhere that certain artists were quite prickly people, I am having a prickly day myself. Lets just say over-reaction would be an understatement. I put it down to this flu I can’t shake and the position of the moon.


I found this a while back and loved it because it raises many many issues that key into my day.

My Heritage is Bigger than “I Am” (2008) Joyce Stalker

The artists writes “Seventeen years after emigrating to New Zealand Aotearoa, I feel more sharply than ever the loss of my Canadian heritage. I have read that McCahon is this country’s greatest artist and been told that all artists here reference him. I remain stubbornly unmoved by his dark and complex works and deeply stirred by the fabric of my family’s lives.”

I personally am moved by McCahon and particularly the “I AM” so it was very interesting for me to consider this from a differing viewpoint. I also liked how the artist used McCahon’s imagery to make the statement “I AM”. Because in the end it is a universal I AM (see Chatwin) and that is all we can say.

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Isn’t it ironic?

Don’t ya think? Well maybe not. I thought it was about time for another ukulele post and I had the funniest twitter conversation today that ended with the comment “Joy Division could have been much more cheerful if they’d thought to add a ukulele“*

Always one to please – I bring you the Heavy Boxes:


*Hope you don’t mind me repeating this – its been making me laugh all afternoon.

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I noticed

I noticed a story about another residency (and another place by the sea).

The family of poet Hone Tuwhare, is worried their father’s Kaka Point home may be lost to future generations of artists and writers as its mortgage comes due. Since Tuwhare died in January last year, his son Rob Tuwhare has been looking for an “appropriate person” to assist him in setting up a trust to buy the house and establish it as a retreat for artists and writers in residence.

Hone Tuwhare at Kaka Point (1988) Ans Westra

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On Saturday I managed to get to one of the Heritage Festival events here at the Caselberg Trust Cottage at Broad Bay.

The cottage is the former home of John and Anna Caselberg (poet and painter) and is located beside the original crib (bach) owned by Charles Brasch. Brasch left the Caselbergs his home on his death in 1973, but it was subsequently sold and the Caselbergs bought the little cottage next door.

This tiny house is now a residency for writers and visual artists. Poet, Michael Harlow, is currently in residence. It is a lovely property. Very small but with a gorgeous view, I could see myself writing there. It is a pity that it’s not the Brasch home with its history but I take the position that its great just to have another residency. I have my usual reservations about residencies in general though.

There were two speakers on the day. Alan Roddick is Brasch’s literary executor and told the love story of how Brasch came to Broad Bay. A sadly unspoken love for a marine biologist at nearby Portobello bought him frequently to the area and a desire for a place by the water. Many literary luminaries visited Brasch here and there is a cabbage tree that RAK Mason planted by the veranda. Ruth Dallas wrote a series poems about the place as she used to look after it for Brasch.

Brasch, Stead and Frame on the veranda, Broad Bay. (Hocken Collections)

I have checked and the neither the original Brasch cottage or the cabbage tree appear on the local council’s lists of heritage buildings or significant trees. I know they can’t list everything but it seems an oversight.

The other speaker was Wayne Seyb, a painter who was a close friend of the Caselbergs and worked closely with Anna. Wayne spoke beautifully about Anna’s art and showed some of her paintings. Although original, I could see her father’s influence (Woollaston) and also of McCahon (who taught her at one point). I very much liked them and their theme of struggle with the landscape. Wayne was an interesting speaker and I totally agreed with his progression of NZ painting.

Harbour Cone from Broad Bay– Anna Caselberg

It was a great day, tea and cupcakes included. But I left with a little sadness and an envy of having such a space to think and write and contemplate. As with Anna’s paintings sometimes there is just a need for space.

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No literal snow here yet – although last week there was a dusting on the hills – but simply overwhelmed by masses of high-input study and writing.

I did escape to the library last night and now my dining table desk has a towering stack of NZ art books (right beside the etch-a-sketch).

I found a book at the library “Trust” which is 1 of 15 in a “participatory book art project“. Basically its a book with pages blank except for a single word from the poem “The Fount” by John Caselberg (not is any order it seems) . I haven’t picked a page to do yet – there are still plenty free. I quite like “when” … I have 7 days before I need to return it.

I am hoping to go to an event at the Caselberg House at Broad Bay this weekend (the Brasch house is next door).

I quite like the symmetry in this. Although I doubt my response with be in the league of McCahon


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