broadsheet 22 features Jeanne Bernhardt

The latest issue of broadsheet 22, November 2018, features the contemporary New Zealand author Jeanne Bernhardt, of Otago. Bernhardt has published seven collections of poetry and prose, and is the recipient of the Louis Johnson New Writer’s Bursary from Creative NZ in 1997 and the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize in 2016.

Poets included are: Sandra Bell, Jill Chan (1973-2018), Kay McKenzie Cooke, Michael Duffett (USA), David Eggleton, Bernadette Hall, Peter Olds, Michael O’Leary, Mark Pirie, Jenny Powell, Richard Reeve, Damian Ruth, and Laura Solomon.

The editor Mark Pirie writes in his Preface:

“Jeanne Bernhardt (b.1961), a contemporary New Zealand writer, has published seven books of poetry and prose, and has travelled extensively, working both in New Zealand and overseas. In 1997 she was awarded the Louis Johnson New Writer’s Bursary from Creative NZ and in 2016 she received the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize. Since her emergence in the Dunedin pub scene of the 1980s, she has forged a determined path staying true to her art. Early work of hers appears in Critic, Parallax and on a Dunedin poetry cassette directed by Luke Hurley. Hone Tuwhare was an early appreciator at the Cook pub readings.

I first read her work in the mid-1990s in the Dunedin Radio One newspaper, which I read as a night shift DJ at Radio Active in Wellington. Jeanne’s poems like ‘Fast & Slow’ and ‘th sex taste’ stood out, and I was at the time founding/co-editing JAAM magazine and also putting together The NeXt Wave, a collection of (mostly) younger Aotearoa/New Zealand writers. She also appeared in Takahe and Poetry NZ during the ‘90s and self-published the poem “Dereliction” and the book Vorare Lacuna (1996), an image/text collaborative work with a number of Dunedin artists.

Jeanne continued to feature in JAAM and Takahe magazines over the next decade as well as publishing two books with my small press HeadworX: baby is this wonderland? (1999) and The Snow Poems/your self of lost ground (2002). She left New Zealand for the States, and then returned to publish a series of well-received books: The Deaf Man’s Chorus (poetry, ESAW), Wood (short prose), 26 Poems and Fast Down Turk (a novel). These latter three were with Dean Havard’s hand-printed Kilmog Press.

Jeanne, a wholly individual artist, has long been admired by friends and writers in the Otago literary community. As a long-standing supporter, it gives me pleasure to feature her in broadsheet. Her writing is innovative, not afraid to take risks, and is energetic and highly charged.

Jeanne’s work in this issue is gathered together like small, polished stones, heartfelt and sinewy. Minimalist in technique, emotionally tense and highly personal, they are finely wrought and beautifully constructed.

As with previous broadsheet issues, some of Jeanne’s writing friends and editors appear here alongside her: Kay McKenzie Cooke, Michael O’Leary, Sandra Bell, Peter Olds, Jenny Powell, Richard Reeve, Bernadette Hall, David Eggleton, and myself.

A couple of poets like Damian Ruth, the late Jill Chan,  Laura Solomon, and Michael Duffett (USA) also appear in broadsheet outside of the main feature.

Mark Pirie
Wellington, November 2018


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