Before I blather on about the launch of this fine, artisanally-produced book THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN ORDER ONE. GO ON. SUPPORT NZ POETRY AND INDIE-PUBLISHING.
On the weekend, I attended my darling friend Maria McMillan’s (I wrote a bit about Maria HERE) book launch at the Aro Community Hall. This is her first book and it’s with Seraph Press. It was a wonderfully warm-hearted event. The large turn-out and delightful people who attended were testament to Maria’s standing in the community.
This is my favourite photo of the event, because it wouldn’t have been a Maria event without a lot of tea & Maria’s favourite colour is blue – the lovely Crown Lynn colour glaze cups belong to the hall – a lucky coincidence! I associate Maria with tea and then another round of tea and then maybe some more tea but perhaps some toast this time, too….more butter please! I think I would like a giant ‘community-hall’ teapot for one-fill afternoon teas with all my mates. (Having said that – I’d probably have to boil the kettle five times to fill one. This is a teapot designed to go with a Zip boiler. Anyway, I digress….)
(by the way….two cups of tea were drunk in the writing of this blog post.)
Maria’s partner Joe Buchanan designed and letter-pressed the cover of the book, including the drawing of the ship on the cover. It is indeed a beautiful artifact with great attention played to paper, card, pressing, stitching. Book as objects d’art. But it is not all style over substance….the poems, an invented family history across multiple generations, starting with the first settlers are rich, detailed and poignant. For a chapbook, this collection is dense and satisfying. It has the heft of a full collection in a chapbook size.
Here writer Pip Adam (right) pulls her characteristic making-a-joke face and Maria displays her new shaved undercut…
(At the launch, a man called Ian (who I am told used to work at Aro Street Video) came up to me and (gently) accosted me for writing this blog only for my friends and not including enough context and links. If you are reading this, Ian, thanks for the feedback and I have resolved to take more care with both from here on in! Leave a comment if I’ve failed to do so in this post.)
Given our long writing history together, I felt all puffed up with pride during the launch…getting misty-of-eye during Maria’s speech, and feeling outright joy to see her signing books at the sale-table. This is the moment every writer longs for! (I remember how wonderful and weird it felt for me at my launch.)
There were flowers everywhere – gifts from her friends. These ones on the piano were just a few of the gorgeous bouquets everywhere. Here is Maria giving her speech.
Here is Maria with Kirsten McDougall who launched the book and gave a thoughtful and celebratory speech.
Here is Maria talking while Seraph Press Editor Helen Rickerby looks on…I liked this shot because you can see HR’s trademark stripey tights:
Here is Helen Rickerby again with writer Helen Heath who is doing a bit of unsubtle product placement:
Congratulations, Maria and Helen, on a wonderful book and a delightful launch. x
(Maria blogs HERE. )
Finally, writer Janis Freegard bidding me (and now you!) farewell in her fantastic panda-with-paws hat/mitten ensemble. Janis always has the best accessories!