broadsheet 28 features Jenny Powell

The latest issue of broadsheet 28, November 2021, features the Dunedin writer and poet Jenny Powell, and features a selection of bird and marine life poems.

Poets included are: Nick Ascroft, Jeanne Bernhardt, Kay McKenzie Cooke, David Eggleton, Michael Harlow, Roger Hickin, Carolyn McCurdie, Martha Morseth, James Norcilffe, Peter Olds, Michael O’Leary, Mark Pirie, Richard Reeve and Annie Villiers.

Editor Mark Pirie writes in the Preface:

“Jenny Powell (b.1960), an established Dunedin poet, writer and teacher, has a growing reputation nationally and overseas. An accomplished performer of her poetry, she has built a considerable oeuvre of poetry and prose since the 1990s.

Around 1996, I started corresponding with Powell via JAAM magazine and sought to collect her work. She had an original way of saying that stood out from the many submissions I received in those years and was a graduate of John Dolan’s writing class at the University of Otago. Our exchange culminated in Powell’s first collection Sweet Banana Wax Peppers being one of the first titles to be published by my publishing company HeadworX in 1998.

A prolific poet and collaborator with other writers, Powell has now published eight collections of her poetry (with HeadworX and Cold Hub Press respectively) and two collaborative poetry books with others, Double Jointed and Locating the Madonna. In 2016, Otago University Press published Powell’s first prose work The Case of the Missing Body. This year, she has published a new collection on the painter Rita Angus, Meeting Rita.

It’s great to continue our publishing connection of 23 years by featuring her work in broadsheet. Powell has chosen new work specially for the issue and has written a brief statement for her poetry presented here.

I began writing about birds for a display at the Dunedin Botanic Garden. During this time, a secondary school biology group participated in a science activity at a local lagoon. 12 swans were dead. Being tuned in to bird life (and now death), it was a poem waiting to be written. The school borders on a harbour inlet where Royal Spoonbills seasonally visit. They waded into a poem that was hatched during a day of staff development. Finally, conversation with a friend during a walk around the Leith River outlet to Otago Harbour prompted the longer poem, meandering, as in our walk, in shadows under bridges and lighter patterns on water, arriving at a new cycle overbridge. 

As with previous broadsheet features, I have worked with Powell to select some of her friends and editors to appear alongside her. It’s great to have many familiar faces back for this special issue. The Central Otago writer Annie Villiers (outside of the Powell feature) also appears in broadsheet for the first time with two prose poems.

Mark Pirie,

Wellington, November 2021″

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