Scar

I never thought I was very good at writing poetry. I still don't. But Anna Jackson has convinced me I should do it anyway. The NZ poet and academic has recently published a wonderful book called Actions and Travels, about the joys of poetry. And the greatest joy, perhaps, is that anyone can write it:…

Beauty and bullets: My Ireland

The road leading to one of my father's churches. Ireland 1972 Next to the fresh grave of my beloved grandmotherThe grave of my firstlove murdered by my brotherPaul Durcan Today the world celebrates St Patrick's Day. Covid restrictions permitted, people around the world with precisely no Irish heritage, or a sliver of it, or a…

Ten Years Today

Ten years ago today, at 12.51 pm, a massive earthquake struck the Canterbury region of New Zealand. It was centred only 6.7 kilometres from the centre of the city of Christchurch, which suffered severe damage. 185 people died. Countless more were left homeless, terrified, psychologically scarred. They were now the reluctant custodians of a ruined city.…

Love poems aren’t just for Jack and Jill

When we think love poems we tend to automatically jump to the heteronormative position, in which opposite-sex sexuality and relationships are presented as the norm. But literature is rich with poems about love and sex in all its varied LGBTQ expressions, if we care to look. Today I want to share three of my favourites.…

Fear, change, and how to combat the hate

And I know I am solid and sound;To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow;All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means.-Walt Whitman I'm thinking today about the enormous upheavals we have all experienced this year, and about my own fear of uncertainty, and the challenge of change.…