to the untrained eye
starfish have no front or back
but village women know better
these days they cut stencils
from discarded x-ray plates
create whole beds of starfish
on bark cloth and cotton sheets
when you cut x-rays
they utter a peculiar cry
but starfish split silently
make more of themselves
to fill up empty spaces
something the lonely could do
- Serie Barford, published in Tapa Talk (Huia Publishers, 2007)
It is that time of year again when Canterbury poets and poet lovers enjoy the Canterbury Poets' Collective spring reading series, stretching over more than two months. One of this year's guest readers' was Serie Barford, whose work I enjoyed very much.
Serie is a poet and short story writer with a strong interest in performance poetry. She was born in Aotearoa/New Zealand to a German Samoan mother and palagi father. She has published three collections of poetry (with another book forthcoming) and in 2011 was awarded the Seresin Landfall Residency. A much fuller bio is found on the New Zealand Book Council website, which I have linked to above. The collection "Tapa Talk" was inspired by her time on the mainland and various other islands of New Caledonia, along with poems based on her Samoan background. Serie says:
In Samoa the templates cut from x-rays were used for design making on siapo (tapa cloth). They don't do tivaevae but they do make fala su'i, a kind of bedpread that's made by emboidering pandanus mats with wool. My next book (Entangled Islands) is based on this concept and each emboidered panel is metaphorically based on a cluster of poems and short stoies.
Entangled Islands is published by Anahera Press and is due out in December of this year.
For more Tuesday Poems visit the main hub site and check out all the bloggers in the side bar.