Category Archives: JAAM 28

JAAM 28 reviewed

Some reviews of JAAM 28 have recently appeared.

First up, Bryan James reviewed it briefly in the Otago Daily Times, along with the latest issue of Landfall. He said: ‘JAAM provides a useful counterweight to Landfall, with a more expansive brief and an acceptance of more experimental work. ‘ He went on to say that meant more risk, and obviously not all the work included was his cup of tea. He concluded: ‘There are some gems, however, in some of the other pieces: Mikaela Nyman’s moving reflections of her Finnish dance teacher; Kate Baggot’s encounter with a busker; and Julie Hill’s brilliant slow waltz with Tricky. ‘

Next up was a brief review in issue 42 of Poetry New Zealand. The reviewer says ‘JAAM continues to provide a wide and various outlet for writers from every segment of New Zealand’s literary community’ and goes on to describe the issue.

The third, and most thorough, review is by Gillian Cameron in A Fine Line, the NZ Poetry Society’s magazine.

The idea behind Dance Dance Dance is, as editor Clare Needham explains, to get “writers thinking about dance and dancers thinking about writing” and “to gather them together and ask them to perform as an ensemble”. Dance Dance Dance achieves this – not just for the contributors but for the reader as well. There is a wonderful mix of short stories, interviews, poetry, photos and artwork. While some of the pieces seemed (to this reader at any rate) to have only a slight connection to dance, most explore the connection of dance and writing in thought-provoking ways.

Cameron goes on to say that she particularly liked the interview with dancer, choreographer, writer and reviewer Lyne Pringle, and found the other interviews engaging. She calls Mikaela Nyman’s story, ‘The Obituary’, ‘entrancing with its depiction of Arja dancing the seasons, the land, the birds, even a harsh judgment of death in the boggy marshland around Lake Inarijarvi’ and ‘stories from writers that I had not previously encountered – Kate Baggott, Simon Minto, Nina Seja and Julie Hill – glide across the dance floor and leave me wanting more.’

On to the poetry:

Jo Thorpe’s ‘Hunt the slipper’ weaves a breathless spell of seduction around legendary prima ballerina Marie Taglioni. In ‘Dancing on lego’ Anna Jackson skillfully skitters and slides … Extracts from Janis Freegard’s ‘The continuing Adventures of Alice Spider’ have whetted my appetite for more about “Alice Webster”. Nicole Taylor’s ‘Jerry’s Dance’ underlines dance as an integral part of the human experience.

She concludes: ‘Last but not least, Kesha Robert’s photos provide a sizzling display of Latin American dance festivities. My copy of Dance Dance Dance is now looking very well thumbed!Last but not least, Kesha Robert’s photos provide a sizzling display of Latin American dance festivities. My copy of Dance Dance Dance is now looking very well thumbed!


JAAM 28 on the web

I’ve recently written two guest posts about JAAM 28: dance dance dance.

The first was on the Tuesday Poem blog, where I featured Jo Thorpe’s poem ‘Hunt the slipper’, which is in JAAM 28:

The second was on Helen Lowe’s blog (Helen has two poems in JAAM 28), where I wrote about the genesis of the idea for this issue of JAAM, and how it all came together. I also feature ‘Siegfried’ by Hera Bird. You can read that post here:

JAAM 28 dances out into the world

JAAM 28 cover


Come dancing with JAAM 28: Dance dance dance. This latest issue, edited by JAAM’s managing editors Clare Needham and Helen Rickerby, showcases writing about dance, writing that dances and writing by dancers.

The idea for this themed issue came when Clare was producing a dance show, Sleep/Wake. She says, ‘Many dancers I know also write, or paint, or compose music. Many of the dance shows I’ve worked on blend different genres and disciplines to create new and exciting art. And some of the writing that I’m most moved by is informed by other art forms, including movement and dance. So when I first conceived the idea for this issue of JAAM, I was thinking about how exciting it would be to get writers thinking about dance and dancers thinking about writing, then see what happened.’

The editors were delighted at how contributors interpreted the theme laterally as well as literally. Some work is about dance or features dance, other work dances on the page, or sets up dance rhythms.

Many of the short stories, including those by Michele Powles, Nina Seja and Andrei Baltakmens, often use dancing as symbolic of life or living more fully. There are dances on stage, at weddings, A & P shows and all alone in the back yard. Mikaela Nyman’s ‘The Obituary’ features dance as a form of language in the arctic, a language becoming extinct.

As well as the dance of life, some poets have taken up the dance of death, such as Jennifer Compton’s ‘Moxham Ave’, featuring a bicycle accident, and Kerry Popplewell’s ‘Last dance’, which imagines a dance with the grim reaper that she’d rather sit out. In Vana Manasiadis’s and Emma Barnes’s poems people dance gingerly in their relationships with each other, and also, like David Eggleton and others, create dancing rhythms. In other poems, such as those by Alex Taylor, the placement of the words makes them dance across the page.

Many poets are clearly inspired by dance and dancers; Hera Bird’s three poems are from a series on Swan Lake, while Kate Bariletti’s inspiration comes from contemporary New Zealand choreographer Raewyn Hill. Barbara Strang references Anna Pavlova, while Jo Thorpe skips off with Marie Taglioni.

Take a quick turn around the floor with dancer/choreographer/writers Michele Powles, Linda Ashley, Lyne Pringle and Sam Trubridge, who, in short ‘spotlight’ interviews, share their discoveries of how dance and writing have and haven’t worked together. In her non-fiction piece Time (Step) Capsule, Jackie Davis Martin reflects on the importance of dance in many stages of her life.

Six photographs by Kesha Robertson capture the vibrancy and movement of dance in South America – her striking swirling image of a night parade in Bolivia is also reproduced to great effect on JAAM’s cover. Dance designer Sam Trubridge’s drawings – hieroglyphs to communicate with dancers – also show how movement can be captured in a static image.

This genre-crossing volume closes, appropriately, with extracts from a dance writing project by dancer Alys Longley. While the dances themselves can’t be represented in a journal, the poems and texts inspired by them are reproduced, complete with drawings, annotations and crinkles in the paper.

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 or to interview Clare Needham, email or phone
027 738 5997

JAAM 28 is published

JAAM 28 cover

JAAM 28 cover

JAAM 28: Dance Dance Dance has just come back from the printer and it’s looking gorgeous! It’s mass-mailout time this weekend, and if you’re a contributor or subscriber you can expect it to turn up in your mail box any day now. It will be in good bookshops soon.

And we’ll let you know more information about it soon (once we’ve quickly finished the media release).

Subscribe now and save, or JAAM’s subscription prices finally have to go up

JAAM 28 will be back from the printer any day now, and we’re excited!

With this latest issue we’ve finally decided to increase the subscription price from $24 for three issues to $20 for two issues. We want to JAAM to still be a very affordable journal, but the increase in printing costs and postage have caught up with us a little.

However, as an incentive to subscribe, if you subscribe during November 2010 you can do so at the old price. Bargain!

You can download a subscription form here:, and post it off to use with a cheque. Or, if you want to pay by internet banking, then email us at

Thanks for your support!

JAAM 28 sneak peek

JAAM 28 cover

JAAM 28 cover

JAAM 28 – Dance dance dance – has been running a little behind schedule, but is now at the printers and should be with you very soon!

More details about the contents soon, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak look at the cover. It features a detail of a photograph of a street parade in Bolivia by Kesha Robertson (the complete picture is inside, along with five other full-colour photos).

Submissions are closed for JAAM 28

Thanks to everyone who has submitted work to JAAM 28, DanceDanceDance! And there are certainly a lot of you! We’ve had submissions from around 200 people, and multiple pieces of work from most submitters, so we’re going to be very busy reading them all and selecting work for publication.

We’ll try to get back to you all as soon as we can, but because there is so much and because we have to fit this in around full-time jobs and other commitments, it’s likely to be a few months before we’ve replied to all of you. Please be patient with us!

We’re really excited about how much interest we’ve had in this theme, and we’re looking forward to choreographing the issue and presenting it to you all, which we aim to do by September.

Thanks for dancing with us!

Last minute reminder to submit to JAAM 28 DanceDanceDance

If you haven’t already, then you’d better get your skates on! Today is the deadline for JAAM 28, the DanceDanceDance issue. Check out the call for submissions here:

Call for submissions for JAAM 28: DANCEDANCEDANCE

The 28th issue of JAAM, in 2010, will be the DanceDanceDance issue, edited by Clare Needham and Helen Rickerby.

We are looking for:
poetry – short fiction – creative non-fiction – images
Writing that dances – literally, conceptually, metaphorically

Writing about dance – dancing writers – life as a dance

Dance reviews will be considered, as will:
programme notes   –   choreographic poetry
short stories about dancing the fandango on a moonlight night in Ngaio…

Anything, in fact, that can be tied (loose or tight) to our theme…

…if there’s something magic in the way it moves us.

Closing date for submissions: 31 March 2010

For publication in: September 2010.

Please send your work to:



PO Box 25239
Panama Street
Wellington 6146
New Zealand