Issue 16: Summer 2023/24

  • Book review: CUMULUS: an anthology of skies

    Book review: CUMULUS: an anthology of skies

    Edited by Kirstie McKinnon (Caselberg Press, 2023) Hello you beautiful thing. We’ve been looking forward to the release of this book, a hybrid of sky-themed photographs by Dunedin-based photographer Carlos Biggemann and work by some of Otago’s most exciting poets, including Megan Kitching, Claire Lacey, Rushi Vyas and Iona Winter. The project was Carlos’ idea.…

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  • Food review: Off-Piste Provisions- Plant-based protein on the go

    Food review: Off-Piste Provisions- Plant-based protein on the go

    My people believe bacon fat and butter are spices, so I assumed the box full of plant-based jerky that arrived at 1964 headquarters had the wrong name on it. I am not their target market. Or am I?  I thought it was going to be one of those gluten-free cake situations, where everyone at the…

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  • Book review: Erebus The Ice Dragon – A portrait of an Antarctic volcano

    Book review: Erebus The Ice Dragon – A portrait of an Antarctic volcano

    By Colin Monteath (Massey University Press, 2023) Colin Monteath was the Field Operations Officer for the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme in the seventies and eighties, and was the first person to descend into the inner crater of Erebus (I know – golly!). It’s a place he knows from all angles, and in Erebus The…

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  • Book review: Takahē – Bird of Dreams

    Book review: Takahē – Bird of Dreams

    By Alison Balance (Potton & Burton, 2023) I don’t want to stir up any more Bird of the Century controversy, but takahē are the best. For one, they are crazy-pretty. The takahē’s plumage, with its layers of blue, turquoise and shimmering green, is everything you need to know about how nature makes perfect beauty. Also,…

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  • Poetry review: When I Reach for Your Pulse

    Poetry review: When I Reach for Your Pulse

    By Rushi Vyas (Otago University Press, 2023) When I Reach for Your Pulse is an uncomfortable read, but this is not about our discomfort. This is about Rushi’s sustained generosity in sharing his grief, his anger, his complex responses to living with the life and death of “the man who earned the money mom used…

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  • Poetry Review: Tung 

    Poetry Review: Tung 

    By Robyn Maree Pickens (Otago University Press, 2023) The immediacy of the body in nature is the root system from which Robyn Maree Pickens’ debut collection of poetry, Tung, springs. The book’s first acknowledgment goes to a tiny cottage and surrounding nature in Ōtepoti’s greenbelt, where Pickens lived while writing this excellent and engaging collection.…

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  • Recipe: Food for walks

    Recipe: Food for walks

    Eliana Gray shares a few trail-tested tramping recipes. We started the Rakiura Coast Track fresh off the morning ferry, by turns elated and nauseous from the late September strait. Beginning the morning wide-legged and wind-whipped on the deck, keeping pace with the gulls and pretending to be old-timey sailors fresh with adventure, we were ready…

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  • Elsie’s Dream

    Elsie’s Dream

    A winning story. This year, the Queenstown Writers Festival team held a mini festival featuring author talks workshops, as well as, for the first time, a writing contest. The Anna-Marie Chin Writing Competition saw writers from Otago and Southland given a range of prompts and 48 hours to write an original response, either fiction or…

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  • The shadow side of inspiration

    The shadow side of inspiration

    Fear and self-loathing in the mountains. I’m balanced on a rock, my hand sweating against the granite. There’s a 14-kilo pack on my back, a scramble and a jump ahead of me, and an eye-watering incline beside me. If I slip and fall, I won’t stop falling for some time. Legs aching, two days’ worth…

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