broadsheet 25 features Janet Charman

The latest issue of broadsheet 25, May 2020, features Auckland poet and critic Janet Charman, a former NZ National Book Award for Poetry winner.

Other poets included are: Serie Barford, Richard Berengarten (UK), Walter Charman (1912-1991), Piers Davies, Belinda Diepenheim, Amanda Eason, Margaret Jeune, Helen Rickerby, Ila Selwyn, Elizabeth Smither, Kate Waterhouse, and F W N (Niel) Wright.

Editor Mark Pirie writes in the Preface:

“Janet Charman is one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary poets and feminist critics. She was associated with Spiral and New Women’s Press in Auckland in the 1980s. In 2008, Charman was awarded the New Zealand Book Award for Best Book of Poetry for Cold Snack.

I first came across Charman’s work in the 1990s as a young student. I had bought her collection Red Letter (AUP, 1992) from the Vic Books Centre. She had a bold, uncompromising and energetic voice, which I warmed to. I continued to follow her work over the years, and as general editor of JAAM magazine I published and reviewed Charman’s work. I have met her in Auckland, several times, once having the chance to visit her at her home in Avondale.

When I co-organised the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa, with Dr Michael O’Leary and Dr Niel Wright, Janet Charman was among its supporters and sent us a copy of her father Walter Charman’s book, The White Schooner and Other Ventures, from 1973. It is lovingly printed and bound in suede leather.

Janet trained first as a nurse. She has also been a receptionist, and became a tutor in the English Department of Auckland University in the 1990s. In 1997 she was Writer in Residence there. She has had published eight collections of her poetry. In 2009 she took part in a literary residency in Hong Kong that featured in her latest collection, Surrender (2017). Her 2019 monograph ‘SMOKING: The Homoerotic Subtext of Man Alone’ is available as a free download at Genre Books.

Critic Janet Wilson writes that Charman’s poetry ‘often dense, elliptical or complex in expression … displays considerable emotional range extending from sexual innuendo, to the erotic, to tenderness, or a playful wit.’ This comment certainly applies to her lively poetry in this issue.

It’s nice to be able to feature her work in broadsheet. As with other issues, I worked with Janet to invite some her close friends and fellow poets to be in the issue with her. Thanks to those who sent work in for it. This is what always makes broadsheet features so special. It’s also great to be able to include here a poem by Walter Charman alongside Janet.

A few contributors appear outside the feature such as Helen Rickerby, Richard Berengarten (UK), Margaret Jeune, and F W N (Niel) Wright.

Mark Pirie, Wellington, May 2020″


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