Thursday, May 12, 2016

Call for Submissions: Aotearotica - a journal of NZ erotic writing

Yes, another new literary journal is launching, this time in Christchurch and joining the two established literary journals of Canterbury (the venerable Takahe and young upstart itself Catalyst) comes Aotearoa New Zealand's first journal of erotic writing and art Aotearotica. 

So good, we wish we'd thought of it ourselves.  Aotearotica is an independent publication and we're happy to support the hell out of it any way we can.  The journal is actively seeking writing and art that explores sex, sexuality and eroticism from a New Zealand perspective.  From their own description:

Aotearotica is a literary journal that aims to present erotic writing and art work exploring the depth and diversity of New Zealanders’ sexuality, with a focus on a high standard of work.

The journal was born out of recognition that there is nowhere for work that focuses on sex to exist right now, and yet it's a key part of the human experience, and we wanted to explore it!

The journal is actively seeking writing that explores sex and sexuality from a diverse range of authors and artists, who cater to heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer perspectives.


Here's the submission guidelines:

Please send fiction, poetry, essays, memoir and art that can be easily reproduced in black and white to: aotearotica@gmail.com.
Please include your name and ‘Submission’ in the subject line, and attach your work as a word document in Times New Roman 12pt font for writing and PDF for artwork. The deadline for Volume One is June 30th 2016
Aotearotica has a Facebook page - like it and follow the arousal of a new journal here.

They are also on Instagram - for those of you more into visual stimulation...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Call for submissions: MANIFESTO - a political anthology



A new anthology of New Zealand political poetry called Manifesto is to be published by Otago University Press.

Here's the low down from editors Emma Neale and Philip Temple:

MANIFESTO. A political anthology. Call for submissions.

Emma Neale and Philip Temple, as editors, are seeking submissions for Manifesto, an anthology of New Zealand political poetry to be published by Otago University Press early in 2017. Poems may explore anything from prime ministerial power to the price of milk. Subjects covered may be Parliament, the environment, gender issues, political parties, ethnic issues, elections, immigration, religion and power, class, ageism, economics, pressure groups, politicians, the media and much more.

Poems submitted should be no more than 60 lines long and be new or published within the past five years. If they have been published before, please include details with your submission. Poems must be entirely copyright to the submitter. We encourage poets of all ethnicities to send us work, including poems in Te Reo Maori, provided these are accompanied by an English translation. Poems may be in any form or style - satire, lament, eulogy, ballad or conceptual experiment, to give examples.  Poets may submit up to three poems of which one or two may be used. They should be typewritten if sent by mail or attached as a pdf document if emailed. Please include your name and contact details.

The editors will be assisted in their final choice by contributing editors Hinemoana Baker, Diane Brown, Michael Harlow, Vincent O’Sullivan and Brian Turner. The editors’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Payment will be in copies of the anthology. Post your submissions to Manifesto, P.O. Box 6292, Dunedin North 9010 OR email them to emma.neale(at)otago.ac.nz with ‘Manifesto’ in the subject line.

The deadline for acceptance of submissions is 29 April 2016.

Catalyst Open Mic + special guest Mohamed Hassan NZ National Poetry Slam Champion


Mohamed Hassan is an Egyptian journalist and poet hailing from Auckland. He is the current National Poetry Slam Champion (2015), and has performed his work across New Zealand and overseas including at TEDx, Splore and the Adelaide Fringe Festival.


The months sure roll around these days don't they?

We're back on the mic at the Twisted Hop Pub in Woolston for the first Tuesday in May and we're putting on a treat for all those not fortunate enough to have been at the National Poetry Slam finals in Hamiltron last year - Mohamed is coming down from the mountain.  Well, the many mounts of Auckland anyway.

Our special guest for May is none other than Mohamed Hassan (pictured above) who took out the finals last year in emphatic style.  Doc recently did a gig with Mohamed in Hamilton and we're pretty stoked to host him in our little loft at the Hop.

Mohamed Hassan is a spoken word poet and journalist from Cairo, Egypt. He has spent the majority of his life in Auckland, navigating the spaces between two cultures and languages. A storyteller at heart, his poetry uses characters, narratives and humour to explore identity and society. He strongly believes in the power of poetry to build foundations for young people to speak and be heard. He was the winner of the Rising Voices Youth Poetry Slam 2013, and has been performing across Auckland stages for three years. He is part of a young collective of poets called the Waxed Poetic Revival.  In 2015 he added the NZ National Poetry Slam title to his achievements.

Here's Mohamed at TEDxAuckland:



Friday, April 01, 2016

Catalyst Open Mic April - 'Heroes'


Catalyst Poetry Open Mic

Tuesday 5th April, 7pm

The Twisted Hop, Ferry Rd, Woolston

So it turns out this theme thing is really going off.  By popular demand the third open mic for 2016 is also our second theme-night of the year and that theme is 'HEROES'.

Interpret it any way you will, don't let Bowie distract you!  Although Doc is threatening to bring along his noise-maker for a sing-along. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Anis Mojgani returns to Christchurch


Exciting news for us as WORD Christchurch once again hosts one of the world's very best performance poets, Anis Mojgani.  A conjurer of words and images, a mesmerising performer and master of the slam form without succumbing to the cliched tropes and styles of the form.

Last seen here as part of the WORD Christchurch 2014 Festival, Anis is giving two shows in quake city including our spiritual home, the Wunderbar!  That's sure to be as intimate as it gets.  Don't miss out on tickets through Dash Tickets.

To whet your appetite here's one of our favourites which really seemed to touch the quake-addled audiences in Christchurch 2014 - 'Shake the Dust'


And here is his talk at TEDxEmory, from February 2015:


Open Mics but not as you know it



Yep, we kicked off the year of open mic nights in February and the feedback was clear - theme nights are a go-go. 

It's been a long awaited pet idea of ours at Catalyst to have the occasional night take on a theme so we've dedicated March to the giddy, awkward and cringe-worthy highs (and lows) of 'Juvenilia'.  So it's time to pull out the best of your worst and bring it along to the next Catalyst Open Mic. Costume optional.

Catalyst Poetry Open Mic
Tuesday 1st March, 7pm
The Twisted Hop, Ferry Rd.
optional theme: Juvenilia

Saturday, September 26, 2015

ChCh Poetry Slam - the rules


It's slammin' time (I'm sure I've said that before?)  Anyway, the Christchurch Poetry Slam is coming up on Tuesday 6th October, 7pm at The Twisted Hop.  Here're those deets again in case you didn't hear me the first time:

ChCh Poetry Slam
Tuesday 6th October, 7pm
The Twisted Hop, 616 Ferry Rd, Woolston
Entry $5 (proceeds towards flights to the NZ Poetry Slam for the ChCh Champ)

And here are the rules of engagement:

Rules for NZ National Poetry Slam

  • 3 minutes or less with no minimum time (10 second grace period before points deduction)
  • Time starts when poet speaks, however while poets can have time to settle and adjust microphone etc, this time is not limitless; ideally a poet should start after 10 seconds.
  • Original poems only
  • No props no music no costumes (i.e. clothing related to the content of your poem)
  • In the case of a tie a slam-off will be required
  • Random draw, for performance order.
Judging and scoring:

  • 5 Audience Judges (chosen by MC and/or organiser) display score cards 0-10 (Decimal points allowed)
  • Top and bottom scores drop off and total of remaining 3 scores is the total
  • If Poet goes over grace period MC or Timekeeper to ask scorer to mark down points after the judges score… (Half a point penalty for every 10 seconds over time)
  • After 4 minutes the MC can shut down the poet
  • 'Sacrificial Poet' (non-competing) to start the night, to help calibrate scores.
  • Slams are equally about writing, performance and audience response.
  • Slammers should have at least 3 poems, as for the Regionals and NZ Slam
    there will be three rounds…

Catalyst 12 - Viva la Poesia!


Well, we're on the verge of launching our 12th volume of writing from around Aotearoa/New Zealand and the World.  Twelve years of publishing new, emerging and established writing and eclectica from all over the place. 

This dozen years has seen us grow from a slim volume focused on emerging talent in our own region of Christchurch/Canterbury to a somewhat larger magazine of truly literary art from around the globe.  We have published writing in translation from many languages and cultures, featured poet laureates as well as writers that have never seen print before.  Catalyst has also published visual art from emerging artists in New Zealand and worldwide - everything from taxidermy to stamp-collecting to political graphic design and graffiti.

Catalyst also became the first literary magazine in New Zealand to regularly publish CDs of spoken word poetry and music.  To date we have released three volumes on CD featuring the work of original NZ songwriters and poets fused together in interesting ways by producer Jody Lloyd aka Trillion.

Along the way we doggedly promoted and encouraged a renaissance in performance poetry, poetry slams and avant garde poetry theatre and music-related performance.  Catalyst continues to host the longest continually running poetry open mic in NZ.  (For more on our history see the 'Tell Me More' tab above).

To whet your appetite before the big launch of Volume 12 this coming week, we re-print here excerpts from the editorial by Publisher/Editor Doc Drumheller.  Enjoy!



In February 2015, I had the privilege to participate in the eleventh edition of the Festival Internacional de Poesía de Granada. Once again Nicaragua hosted one of the most extraordinary celebrations of poetry in the Americas. Since 2005, the International Poetry Festival of Granada has brought together poets from more than one hundred countries all over the world. Poets spend a week in Granada, a colonial city, one of the first to be established in the Americas by the Spaniards (1524). They participate in readings attended by thousands of people, get to meet other poets, and enjoy Nicaraguans’ love of poetry, which is quite a joy to behold and experience. It is essential for poets from New Zealand to be able to participate in festivals like the one in Nicaragua, because Latin America celebrates poetry like nowhere else in the world. 



The poetry readings took place in a number of scenarios: atriums of churches, public squares, colonial buildings, markets, universities, police stations and in neighbouring small towns. One of the highlights was the poetic carnival, where all of the poets were on parade and took turns reading at each street corner on the back of a decorated horse float. We marched and shuffled to the rhythm of the music through the closed roads of Granada, all the way to the the famous lake, where we were treated to a performance by numerous cultural, dance and musical groups, all dressed in traditional folkloric costumes.   The festival is the most important cultural event in Nicaragua and is widely covered by national and international press. Each year the Festival honours the work and legacy of a Nicaraguan poet, in its XI edition, the Festival honouredthe poet: Enrique FernándezMorales, and in memoriam of the Costa Rican poet, Eunice Odio. The feature poet for the festival and for this issue of Catalyst is Richard Blanco.

Richard Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in US history—the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban-exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterise his body of work.

I am delighted to be able to collaborate with Roger Hickin from Cold Hub Press to present a feature of Nicaraguan poetry. Each of the poets were at the festival and the work first appeared in chapbooks published by Cold Hub Press with translations by Roger Hickin

Also featured in this issue are the Lyttelton Poets, all of whom are no strangers to the pages of Catalyst, nor to our open mic and Road Show series, appearing in various guises and line ups over the past decade. Earlier this year the Republic of Oma Rāpeti Press published Andy Coyle’s book Ode to the Cyclist and other poems.

Another feature in Catalyst 12 - ‘Lady Poets’ is a regular live Poetry event created and run by Cantabrian performance poet Kimberley Holmes. Beginning in 2013, based in Christchurch and using local venues, ‘Lady Poets’ has carved a space to thrive in its first two years. With a uniquely subversive vision and tongue planted firmly in cheek, ‘Lady Poets’ aims to provide an inviting and encouraging space for female and marginalized writers to share their creativity. Utilising New Zealand and international talents, ‘Lady Poets’ offers a stage to voices often unheard, proudly appearing twice in Christchurch’s annual Pride Week celebrating queer poets.  Experimental and engaging, ridiculous and comedic, by testing the limits of audience and poets alike ‘Lady Poets’ has been embraced for its theatrical and empowering poetry events.

I was spoiled by so much good work for this issue and it was difficult to decide which poems to leave out.


Thanks to Creative Communities Christchurch for their continued support of this journal, as we continue to publish some of the world’s leading poets alongside Canterbury’s new and emerging voices.

¡Viva la poesia!

--Doc Drumheller, September 2015.

Catalyst Volume 12 book launch party
Tuesday 29th September, 7pm
The Twisted Hop, 616 Ferry Road