Blog Carnival #1: CROSSINGS

Germany and New Zealand.
Neuseeland und Deutschland.

Seen geographically, these two countries are about as far apart as they could possibly be. But across oceans and timezones, people associated with these two places reach out, connect and share their current projects. Here we introduce German and Kiwi poets, storytellers, bloggers and artists as they travel and transform, wander and dream. The blog carnival is part of the Aotearoa Affair Blog Fest, inspired by the 2012 Frankfurt Bookfair in October — where New Zealand is the Guest of Honour. For more about other features at the Aotearoa Affair, please visit us at the Blog Fest Website.

In the first Aotearoa Affair Blog Carnival, twenty-four writers from Germany to New Zealand connect. Thank you for connecting, too, wherever you are!

The theme of this blog carnival is CROSSINGS.


At the end of this place

“There’s a bluff at the south end of this place. It looms. It’s iconic. It just is.” – Writer Keri Hulme is southern Kāi Tahu but lives in “Big O” — Okarito. Among her passions are whitebait and family history. In 1985 Keri’s novel The Bone People won the Booker Prize. At Te Karaka’s blog, she writes about The Lagoon, The Bluff – the story of us all.

“Any­thing really worth telling that’s not also on TV comes in those indi­rect ways: life’s criss­cross­ing until the texture’s just right, and then it’s sud­denly not right any­more and you have to cut it all up again and start over,” states Marcus Speh, a German writer who lived and taught in New Zealand in 2002. He reflects on how he got there, and left again, and what it all meant so far at: The New Zealand Chronicles.


Walkabouts & Wanderungen

“When I walk my mind has permission to wander—die Gedanken sind doch frei, gel?” Travel author and Lebenskünstler Christopher Allen lets his mind tramp from Germany to New Zealand and considers the importance of wandering, of learning the natural rhythm of one’s own thoughts in From D to NZ – Eine Wanderung.

“To name a place gives us power over it, some say. Naming is certainly tied up with identity, and what significance a place has for us,” notes Kes Young, a writer and journalist living in Moera, Lower Hutt, Aotearoa New Zealand. Kes recently crossed from the North to the South Island of New Zealand, which made him ponder on different languages and cultural perspectives: Naming places.

“You go alone with a stick to push against the current with. You go together holding waistbands or tied together with packs.” Poet Emma Barnes takes us into the water in her poetry blog: Take all river crossings seriously; the risks are great.


Crossing Hemispheres

Rachel J Fenton is a writer and artist living in Auckland – she  migrated to New Zealand from the North of England and currently works on an epic graphic poem that is based on her real life migration experiences: Escape Behaviours. Rachel J. Fenton also interviews poets in her blog snow like thoughts.

Megan Doyle Corcoran worked as an attorney in California before she moved to New Zealand. She is now enrolled at the International Institute of Modern Letters where she is studying for her Masters in Creative Writing. She enjoys watching American politics from a comfortable distance. Here is a recent post from her blog “letters to the weather”: A Semi-Fictional Account of Homelessness.

“It seemed surreal sitting there, looking at that freakishly long pier, discussing a poetry reading at Saatchi and Saatchi World HQ in Hudson Street, downtown Manhattan.” Hinemoana Baker has published, produced and performed as a singer songwriter and poet since the early 1990’s in New Zealand, Indonesia, Australia and the USA. She just travelled to the States and blogs about her trip at a māori in manhattan.



“I bought a map and drove all over / but I still don’t know / if I’ll ever get used to / looking right and shifting left..” Michelle Elvy lives on a sailboat in the Bay of Islands and edits several journals including a flash fiction zine in New Zealand. Her latest project is “Flashback: A New Zealand History in Micro Moments” for which she recently has received the New Zealand Society of Authors /Auckland Museum Library National Research Grant for 2012. The project takes as its starting point personal reflections on change and immigration, such as in the poem Latitude Adjustment.

“Curved over islands, the world / dragged me south in a talkative year” – Tim Jones‘ s Tuesday poem “Impertinent To Sailors” tells about a transition – and recently got transformed itself: composer Brett Weymark picked it up and set it to music as choral work. Read about it in Tim Jones’ blog: Books in the Trees.

“It is necessary to know where you come from, if you want to communicate, reach the other and build something up,” states Ablo, a musician from Burkina Fasu who is living in Milano, Italy. Berlin-based video artist Patrizia Monzani tried to amplify this idea, using simple universal symbols, in her video about him, “ABLO“.


Bound for Berlin

“There’s no transit bus, no Checkpoint Charlie. Nothing. I should be collecting my keys, should be gone already.” – Dorothee Lang lives in Germany and always was fascinated by languages and roads. She blogs at “life as a journey” – join her there for a string of Berlin memories that lead from the Cold War to the now: Four Berlins, or: I am (t)here.

Jürgen Fauth was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, and has lived in New York, New Orleans, Mississippi and the Dominican Republic. He is the co-founder of the literary community Fictionaut, and his debut novel Kino will be published by Atticus Books in April. Kino tells the story of a visionary silent film director who leaves Nazi Germany for Hollywood. In his tumblr-blog Tulpendiebe, Jürgen posts material related to the world of the novel, including a brief excerpt in which Kino’s American granddaughter Mina is confronted with her paradoxical political heritage: On the Far Side of the Gate.

Kate Brown is a film-maker and writer who works in English and moved to Berlin two years ago. Currently she is also working on a translation and blogs about the process – and about exploring Berlin – at “Postcards from a Flat Land”: Notes on Translations.


Word Trails

The German word for vocabulary is Wortschatz – which literally translates to word treasure – and that’s exactly what Roucheswalwe blogs about: the peculiarities of German and English words. There even are some detours into Japanese included – read about Schadenfreude, Glücksbringer and Kernholz at the Fünffingerplätze’.

“It was the fourth day since they had fled the Keep of Winds..” Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, interviewer and lover of story. For the “Crossings” carnival, she sent a passage from her novel “The Heir of Night”, which will be published in Germany this year: “River of No Return“.

Crossing: a word with many meanings. Linda Hofke, a writer and blogger who grew up in Pennsylvania and currently lives in Germany, combines some of the definitions with photographs from Germany in her blog Linda’s Life on the Other Side: Crossing.

Trish Nicholson grew up on the Isle of Man, and has since lived and worked in many places, including Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, and now settled in New Zealand. In her blog “Words in the Treehouse”, she shares stories, photos, and experiences – like her view on crossing over from traditional print publishing to electronic publishing: How I Joined the e-Book Game.


Nocturnal Reflections 

“puriri moth dreaming / under a midnight moon / on ridgelines of obsidian / hangs the emerald cloth of spring”Piet Nieuwland writes from the shores of the Hokianga Harbour, a singularly romantic place, where he observes the large black and green puriri moth under a full moon and dreams and connects to ancestors and love and language: Puriri Moth Dreaming.

A poet, writer and performer from Auckland, Raewyn Alexander is about to enter a Poetic Journey to America: from New Zealand across the Pacific Ocean by boat – then across America by train and plane to visit writers she has met online. For the carnival, she sent a reflective video poem: Ultramarine.

“Doping nocturnal moths, dry and empty in their brown winged shells / The densely sweetened perfume of manuka hugs the ground…” Martin Porter is  a member of a writing group in Jersey and of the Whangarei poetry group “Take Flight”. His writing is often informed by his scientific background, and he takes delight in the similarities between poetry and scientific expression. In Pasifika Queen Mab,  he explores a dichotomy poem that transposes the world of quintessential English into the world of the New Zealand bush.


Under the Streets of the Skies

Unter den Straßen der Himmel— I am not a native German speaker, but I learned it at school back in the 1970s, and kept it alive by directing a play in German for the Auckland University and the International Goethe Society back in the late 1980s,” Aidan-B. Howard explains. His “Crossings” contribution is a poem he wrote in German, with English translation: Der Spaziergänger.

Rae Roadley is a New Zealander living at Batley on the Kaipara Harbour, a place that inspired columns about life on the harbour present and past. Her columns turned into the book  Life at the End of the Road (by Penguin Books). For the blog carnival, Rae crossed into the point of view of her dog in A letter from Floss.

A poet, novelist and artist who lives lives in Paekakariki, Michael O’Leary has written several works that are connecting German/Aotearoa themes. For the carnival, he put the fable “Rubesahl” online in his blog, and an excerpt from his novel “Unlevel Crossing“.


More Reads + How to Join

Thank you for reading the first edition of the Aotearoa Affair Blog Carnival. For more about the Aotearoa Affair, please visit  our Blog Fest website, where an eclectic mix of poetry, short stories and videos are featured every week in the Weekly Highlights.  If you are a reader just beginning to explore literature from New Zealand, we recommend the recent feature, Once upon a time in Aotearoa.

We are now inviting contributions for the second edition of the blog carnival — again, the whole edition will be blog-based, with links leading to the single features. We welcome art, poetry, music, fiction, non-fiction, etc. The guest editor for the next edition is  Rachel Fenton. The theme is PAST MYTHS, PRESENT LEGENDS. The deadline for contributions for the March Blog Carnival is 20 March. For more details, visit How To Join.

About Dorothee Lang

Dorothee Lang is into roads, stories, places, crossings, and all the things they lead and connect to.

2 thoughts on “Blog Carnival #1: CROSSINGS

  1. Pingback: An Aotearoa Affair #1: Crossings | Poetry Notes and Jottings

  2. Pingback: St Helier Migrates after his Martyrdom | Poetry Notes and Jottings

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