The Word, The Reckoning & The Rose
Henry Ludbrook, Rose Michel von Dreger & Mark Raffills (Mohua Golden Bay)
Whether it is written or spoken, read or listened to, poetry has the power to ignite our spirit, stir us to courage and give to love a depth unfathomed. The poet in society is the guardian of all things just and righteous, the herald of the inner reckoning; the poem is the world scrawled on subway walls. The Word, The Reckoning and The Rose brings together three Nelson poets with diverse styles, genuine voices and a love for the written and spoken word.
Henry Ludbrook started writing poetry at the age of 16, then stumbled upon the poems of James K Baxter and Sam Hunt. “I loved the sound of their words without necessarily understanding the poems,” he says. “Until then, I felt like an outsider, but Baxter and Hunt seemed to me to be writing from the margins in various ways and that’s where I was.” Henry writes about his life as a young man on the road. Poems such as ‘Zen’ and ‘The Art of Apple Picking’ and ‘Honest Dirt’ illustrate his fresh, intimate approach to autobiography. “I think we all carry somewhere deep inside of us a ‘man on the side of the road’,” he says. “In a sense, we are all homeless, all poor in one way or another and to capture that empathy is important if you are going to try and change the way things are.” Read Henry’s poems on his blog, River Deliver Me.
From the east of her native Canada to the west of the South Island, Rose Michel von Dreger uses the landscape of the stars to paint the landscape of the heart. Often you will find Rose working out of her ‘office’ at a local cafe, a soy latté in one hand, a pen in the other, sifting through the stream of words upon the page, making poetry. “Some poets write in solitude; I write in cafés for background noise – it keeps me from thinking too much,” says Rose. “Painters have themes and motifs that keep coming out in their art and writers are the same. I write about the sea, constellations, and light, and our place in it all. Golden Bay is a great place to write about the wilderness of the heart.” Rose was part of the Poets in the Schools programme in the US and taught poetry workshops in Takaka. Her poetry has been broadcast on Fresh FM, published in Canadian journals, and her manuscript is currently in circulation in New Zealand.
In another lifetime Nelson Mail reviewer Matt Bowler wrote of Mark Raffills, “The live poet is obvious; the words have both a lyrical and rhythmic quality. There is a depth to the poetry but at the same time, its heart is on its sleeve.” “It’s what I do pretty much,” nods Mark in agreement, “Wear my heart on my sleeve, hang my poems and stories out for all to see; tell them raw, so to speak!” Mark has toured and performed throughout NZ including Waitaki and Nelson Arts Festivals, NZ and Nelson Fringe Festivals and Poetry Live. He has been a finalist in NZ Poetry Slams, self-published three books of poems, while his weekly video poems on Facebook have attracted over 120,000 views in the last five years.
Mark Raffills is also appearing in Wash Away the Stains on Sun 17 March at 7:30pm.