Cover of JAAM 29

Cover of JAAM 29

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.


Anne Kennedy                                  Editorial

Fiona Farrell                                      Quake poem 5

Tusiata Avia                                       Five poems

Kerrin P. Sharpe                               the visitor

Lynn Jenner                                      Four Russian Pieces

Michele Leggott                               tiger moth

Kiri Piahana-Wong                          On Commerce St

John Psathas                                      An excerpt from Tarantismo

Erin Scudder                                      California Quintet

Murray Edmond                               Southwest Waikato Songs

Wes Lee                                                Space Dust

Janet Charman                                 day or night

Serie Barford                                     Three poems

Helen Rickerby                                 Kusama

Craig Cliff                                             The Bartender’s Glass

Jocelyn Carlin                                   To Be: Portraits

Kenneth Quilantang                        Abe, da Cleaning Technician

Blaine Tolentino                               Two poems

Sam Sampson                                    A Strange Harvest…A

Vivienne Plumb                               In Their Own Tongue

Sonja Yelich                                      Wig

Frankie McMillan                            Four poems

Simone Kaho                                     A selection from Lucky Punch

Eric Birkeland                                   Medicine

Mebd Charleton                              Two poems

Frances Mountier                          Hood St

Lisa Ottiger                                      Two poems

Elizabeth Smither                          Five poems

Paula Green                                     Three poems

Ya-Wen Ho and Renee Liang    The Seven Sisters of Industry

Kelly Ana Morey                            Four poems

Susanna Gendall                             Broken Sleep

Trevor Hayes                                  The Jesús poems

Selina Tusitala Marsh                  Two poems

Noelle Nive Moa                            The Kingsland Flight

Marika S. Fleeger                           Three poems

Gregory O’Brien                              Ode to Futuna Chapel

Bryan Walpert                                 A Beginner’s Guide to Birding

Joanna Preston                               Three poems

Sarah Jane Barnett                         Mountains

Leilani Burgoyne                            How to Make a Colonial Cake

Albert Wendt                                    Friendship


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