Monthly Archives: October 2011

JAAM 29 unleashed!

Cover of JAAM 29

Cover of JAAM 29

If you’re a contributor or a subscriber, JAAM is on its way to you (if it hasn’t made it already). It should be in bookshops by the end of the week (or thereabouts). Hooray!

Thank you to everyone who submitted, to our subscribers and readers, and thank you most of all to Anne Kennedy, our wonderful guest editor who has curated a wonderful issue. Thanks also to Creative NZ, without whose help we would find it much harder to publish JAAM.

More about JAAM 29 in our media release below:

JAAM 29 celebrates the Pacific: “this vast region we slosh about in”

When award-winning writer Anne Kennedy agreed to guest edit the 29th issue of JAAM, she knew she wanted it to reflect New Zealand’s position as a country in the Pacific, and connections with the Pacific.

She says: “After living in Hawai`i for seven of the last eight years, I see Aotearoa as part of the Pacific in a way I didn’t appreciate before. Yes, I always knew what our lat. and long. were – but our similarities, our instabilities, our connections brought about by travel across this ocean, are clearer to me now.”

“So I am delighted that JAAM 29 has a range, not only across genre, with poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and including established and new writers, but across the expanse of this vast region we slosh about in. JAAM 29 showcases writers, visual artists – and even a composer – from Aotearoa, Hawai`i, Australia and California, with connections to Samoa, Tonga and the Philippines. This mix is inherently eclectic in aesthetic, in ideas and in Englishes.”

Over the last year New Zealand has been changed by the devastating earthquakes in Canterbury, and because of this the issue opens with a number of pieces by Christchurch writers who “bear testament to the solidarity, bravery, and artistic spirit of the people of that city”. They include a poem by Fiona Farrell about trying to deal with one of the many issues caused by the quakes – a leaking roof. Tusiata Avia’s series of poems about the quake includes the arresting ‘Finding Sepela: 22 February,’ which recreates her anxious journey to find her three-year-old daughter: “There are giant worms/ under the ground/ as big as Cairo/ they eat the fish and chip shop”.

Kennedy has drawn together work by many of New Zealand’s most-celebrated writers, including Albert Wendt, Elizabeth Smither, Murray Edmond and Michele Leggott. And alongside them is work by many new and up-and-coming writers, such as Lynn Jenner, winner of the 2010 best first book of poetry, and Selina Tusitala Marsh, who won the same award the year before.

The cover features a striking photogram from a sequence of portraits by Auckland photographer Jocelyn Carlin – six more from the series are reproduced inside. Drawings by Ya-Wen Ho are accompanied by poems by Renee Liang and illustrate ‘The Seven Sisters of Industry’, a Chinese name for Matariki or The Pleiades. And, in a first for JAAM, a page of a handwritten music manuscript by celebrated composer John Psathas is reproduced.

Kennedy, who now teaches creative writing, had originally studied music. Her own writing spans many forms – she’s published poetry, short fiction, novels and a novella, and has written for film. Her poetry book Sing-Song won the Montana Award for Poetry in 2004.

JAAM is published by the independent JAAM Collective based in Wellington, and is supported by funding from Creative New Zealand.

JAAM is available from good bookshops or by subscription. For subscription information, visit or email

For more information, email Helen Rickerby, JAAM co-managing editor, or phone 027 738 5997