Story: Poetry

Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan, 2011

Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan, 2011

Albert Wendt (left) and his partner Reina Whaitiri (centre) show off their anthology of contemporary Polynesian poems in English with their fellow editor Robert Sullivan (right). Albert Wendt is a distinguished novelist of Samoan background who has also published poetry. Robert Sullivan (of Ngāpuhi) had by 2013 published seven books of poetry, which drew on Māori traditions and his own Northland background. This extract is from 'Star waka 46' (1999):

it is feasible that we will enter
space
colonise planets call our spacecraft waka
perhaps name them after the first fleet
erect marae transport carvers renew stories
with celestial import
establish new forms of verse
free ourselves of the need for politics
and concentrate on beauty [ . . .]
oh to be in that generation
to write in freefall picking up the tools
our culture has given us
and to let them go again
knowing they won’t hit anyone
just stay up there
no longer subject to peculiarities
of climate the political economies
of powers and powerless
a space waka
rocketing to another orb
singing waiata to the spheres
(Jane Stafford and Mark Williams, eds. The Auckland University Press anthology of New Zealand literature. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2012, p. 833)
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Booksellers New Zealand
Photograph by Mark Tantrum

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How to cite this page:

John Newton, 'Poetry - Diversity: since 1985', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/43095/albert-wendt-reina-whaitiri-and-robert-sullivan-2011 (accessed 17 October 2017)

Story by John Newton, published 22 Oct 2014