Posts Tagged ‘Hunt’


I thought of this poem today as I drove the narrow, icey roads of  the Otago Peninsula and passed several “little men” on the road.

Maintrunk Country Roadsong by Sam Hunt

Driving south and travelling
not much over fifty,
I hit a possum … ‘Little
man,’ I muttered chopping
down to second gear,
‘I never meant you any harm.’

My friend with me, he himself
a man who loves such nights,
bright headlight nights, said
‘Possums? just a bloody pest,
they’re better dead!’
He’s right of course.

So settling back, foot down hard,
Ohakune, Tangiwai –
as often blinded by
the single headlight of
a passing goods train as by
any passing car –

Let the Midnight Special shine
its ever-loving light on me:
they run a prison farm
somewhere round these parts;
men always on the run.
These men know such searchlight nights:

those wide shining
eyes of that young possum
full-beam back on mine,
watching me run over him …
‘Little man,
I never meant you any harm.’

(its almost Montana Poetry day, so expect poetry here for a bit)

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Sam Hunt’s selection of  James K Baxter’s poetry from AUP


John Newton’s book “The Double Rainbow” about James K Baxter, Ngati Hau and the Jerusalem Commune (from VUP).


Falling Debris David Kilgour and Sam Hunt. Lovely words about it from Nick Bollinger in the Listener.


All reviewed in the latest Listener. I have to say I do think the Books and Arts pages are well on the improve.

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Firstly, I have to report back on the subject of “Crowd Pleasers” posted on Over the Net a while back. They write: “In New Zealand it’s hard to think of any major crowd pleasers…You’d think Rita Angus’s Cass would be a contender, but it has always been crowd-free when we’ve been around.” Well not today! A cloudy Wellington Sunday afternoon and the final day of the Rita Angus retrospective at Te Papa – you could hardly move in the place. At first I thought only one person was stationed in front of “Cass”, but then from behind me I heard “there it is” and a gaggle of middle aged women charged towards it.

Cass – from Ministry for Culture and Heritage social club cake decorating competition

I did a VERY quick run through because the crowd inside Rita’s imagination was a bit much for me today. Oddly the ‘seasick green’ room was quite soothing because there were very few people in there, so I had a sit down and flick through the catalogue. I hope my library copy arrives soon, because I want to have a good read of the essays which looked rather interesting. As an aside, my library came through with Sam Hunt’s new book “Doubtless” last week and it’s great – as good and better than “Talking  of the Weather” plus older works. I have added this book to my ‘have to own’ list.

Upstairs there were some different things on show in Toi Te Papa, and I agree with Best of 3 that “there is a frigging spectacular Driver in the hang – the appropriately named Big Relief (1980).”  that is a railway tarp – isn’t it? Several other things took my eye though including Don Peebles Wellington series (No. 16/60) . A little sad that the McCahon/Shadbolt kitchen bench was gone, but hey I can always look at it online. Oddly the Fomison looked like it was about to fall apart and I kept finding Mark Adams photos throughout the museum!

Te Papa always strikes me as noisy for a museum but my kids love it and they were entertained for hours today. We also had fun lying in the centre of the Hotere/Culbert “Void” which was about as close as they got to the art – “oh not the gallery mum…” Although Inspiration Station, their favourite place, has a new artwork (replacing the Frizzell chicken), the vaguely disturbing Send off by Tony de Lautour.

Having just re-read Rachel King’s “The Sound of Butterflies” it would have been nice to see more Lepidoptera, but maybe another day…

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I have been thinking how dismal my blog has got. I bit like this actually. The stresses going on in my life and the wet and cold winter have seriously impacted on me here. What I find interesting is that in times of hardship the art has almost disappeared from my life. Theoretically I would have thought it would provide some escape, but actually the last thing I want to do is look at art, especially anything challenging. Right now a large proportion of it is just making me irritated. Thankfully others are writing great entertaining stuff.

However there are some things that have been worth seeing. Firstly, Scoop’s poem of the weekagain really hits home for me and a great followup to Diana Wichtel’s excellent Sam Hunt story in the latest Listener (great photos by Jane Ussher).

Talking of the Weather by Sam Hunt

Also as usual Wooster Collective makes my day. I loved this

Bruno Taylor “Play as you go”

And to cheer things along I appear actually to be able to GO OUT to something. Martin Edmond is reading in Wellington tomorrow night as part of a NZ “tour”. That is if his voice holds out. and if things go really well I will get to see Rita too.

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Art for Food

I seem to have generated some interest by mentioning my proposed chutney for poetry exchange. Really I am only honouring a long tradition of trading art for food. I believe the bards and minstrels of old would exchange their epics, stories and songs for food and lodging and there are plenty of examples including more recent ones. Many down-on-their-luck artists (and I imagine poets and writers) have exchanged their art for a crust. This Venice Beach cafe showcases “art from numerous Venice artists such as Ed Ruscha, Dennis Hopper and Robert Graham (trading art for food is a Venice tradition)” and landscape painter Jim Mott did a whole 10,000 mile road trip (which he called the Itinerant Artist Project) by exchanging paintings for room and board.

Our Daily Bread by Elizabeth Harris-Nichols

Payment in kind makes a lot of sense to me and in Mexicoin 1957, painter David Alfaro Siqueiros proposed that artists in Mexico be allowed to pay taxes with their work. Half a century later, this idea has given rise to one of the world’s most important collections of contemporary art.” Mind you I guess you’d have to be earning enough to need to pay tax in the first place!

And here in New Zealand when the Mangamahu Possum painting was listed for sale on Trademe, there was discussion in the comments about a tradition of leaving artwork in payment for lodgings (although a bit of a stretch in that case I think). I am certain there are many examples.

Tuna Can – Dick Frizzell

This talk of exchange and barter might be a sign of things to come, you know with peak oil and all. In the meantime I am calculating how many jars of preserves I will need to swap for a modest McCahon. And I promise that this will be the last of domestica for a bit.

NOTE: I have removed Sam Hunt from my linky list because I heard him (or a good mimic) doing an ad for Cobb and Co. today on TV – though maybe he got paid in steak and beer?

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Poetry Break

For ages I have been trying to track down a poem I remembered by Sam Hunt about Wellington. Initially I thought it would have been in “Big Weather: Poems of Wellington” but I think that book is a bit well mannered. So I have finally found it on my book shelf (!) in “Running Scared” (1982) which I’ve had for ever.

Wellington Farewell

A proper old bitch, this town. Like,
when I was young I used to hike
four hundred miles south to be with her.
Because they were hers, I liked the people here.

Like that for years, happy together.
Guests would moan over the weather
just as they would the wind rain and sleet,
our drunken friends, our steep dizzy streets.

We laughed when they left, like we had the shakes
TV news would report Wellington quakes
7.5 on the Richter Scale.
I called up heaven once, demanding bail

Then she one day turned sour on me. ‘Dont ever think
love lasts forever’ said my shrink
‘To survive’ he said, ‘you must learn to hate.
learn that, boy before it’s too late.’

Friends assure, her bite’s as bad as her bark.
I stalk her streets, Sundays take my son to the park.
A northerner is urging, come on home,
return to the north, leave the old bitch her bone.

And that’s where I am, resting half way between,
looking face-down over a stream
that moves under weed, like looking for cover.
What love must be like when it’s over.

Personally I think there is a lot of “a proper old bitch” about this town, but like a distant relative I will decline to name, I quite admire that.

And in the “interesting art” basket, Belgian artist Benjamin Verdonck brings his oversized nest to the Weena in Rotterdam.

Also I have FINALLY got around to watching the first episode of New Artland online, which was about Ronnie van Hout erecting a plaque outside his childhood home. It was terrific!

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three New Zealand artists. All very different and only ‘showcased’ here because I have links to all three – albeit somewhat tenuous ones.

Crispin Korschen

Crispin used to weed my garden for me. I guess it was a crummy job to support her burgeoning return to art and I was most likely not a good employer. I wish I’d bought some of her art then (around 2005), but circumstances didn’t allow. Her stuff then seemed to be a little darker than the more recent works, which I liked better.
temptation.jpg Click for larger image

Matt Hunt

Matt is the cousin of a friend in Palmerston North where I lived for a while. I first met him when we went to his flat to pick something up – I think he was moving. He is the only person I’ve ever met whose filing system was based around the seven deadly sins. We played touch rugby together for a while. That is until I decided they were all too serious and I’d never played ANY sport before, so I sucked at it. I saw some stuff of his I really liked at Pataka in the “It’s a Small World” exhibition (2003). As an aside, I have to mention Ronnie van Hout’s McCahon works in the same exhibition are really worth a look. Matt’s work is clever. Some of it I like, some is well… meh. This one I like.


A few years ago I saw a painting very similar to Matt’s at a gallery in Eastbourne (the Rona?) I have no idea who the artist was, so if anyone knows….

John Walsh

Well John is the husband of someone I studied with. I drank wine with friends in the studio once and lurked at their place drinking coffee on occasion. I loved their house, so FULL of artworks. I miss my friend now I’ve moved away. At the time I didn’t understand the materials John was painting on and liked his older, more conventional, portraits better. Then I went to the Parihaka exhibition and changed my mind.


Relevance – well its about art and my life right?

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