13 June 2017

My story "The Bycatch Child" is in Sponge Issue 1

I've been so busy lately that there are various bits of news I haven't blogged. Time to start catching up!

* My story "The Bycatch Child" is published in the first issue of Sponge, a new New Zealand speculative fiction magazine. Check out the lovely cover:


I've also recorded an audio version of the story for Sponge - I'll update this post once that's up.

You can also follow Sponge on Twitter.

30 May 2017

Tuesday Poem: Messiaen Among The Dinosaurs


Messiaen Among The Dinosaurs

1. Old man with a notebook

They find Messiaen entranced in the magic hour
between dawn and the day’s heat
wandering the woodlands, skirting marshes,
annotating the contrasting calls

of pipit and nightjar. For many hours
he has been walking the forest fringes, lost
in the ecstasy of birdsong, until scientists,
deferential, insistent, come to fetch him home.

“Tell me again,” he says, Loriod
holding his hand. “Your Institute’s machine
will carry us backwards in time
to the epoch of dinosaurs, yes?

And you wish me to join you,
travel back, transcribe their calls?”

2. Such exotic birds

In the fern-enchanted glade, the composer
transcribes the calls of these gigantic birds,
their plumage flaring glamorously
along high necks and feathered rumps.

His guards are restless, watches
synchronised to the end of their brief window,
when time will snap back 120 million years
to the basement of the Institute,

fluorescents crackling overhead, experimenters
blinking like owls in the light of their return.
But Messiaen sits timeless, notebook on his lap,
oblivious to danger, the forest alive

with death’s roar, life’s fluting cry,
the staves and quavers of the dinosaurs.

3. At Clichy-la-Garenne

Death, three-clawed, yellow-eyed,
stalks the garden at Clichy-la-Garenne.
In the pale spring sunshine, notebook
fallen at his feet, sleeps Messiaen.

Loriod is at the piano, practising
Réveil des dinosaures for her next recital.
The notes attenuate among the cries
of great and lesser birds.

The authorities closed down the experiment
when the consequences became known.
Messiaen kept only memories, scores, scales,
the eggs he grew to fierce companions,

and the hymns of praise that throughout time
have soared from feathered throats.

Credit note: "Messiaen Among The Dinosaurs" was published in takahē 89. I'm reading that issue right now and there is lots of good stuff in there!

Tim says: After my poem about Dmitri Shostakovich's visit to America, which actually happened, I take the bird-obsessed Olivier Messiaen on a more science-fictional journey this time round. Why do I do these things to my favourite composers??

The real-life Messiaen, Yvonne and Jeanne Loriod, and Messiaen's remarkable music are all well worth exploring!

10 May 2017

My First Three Books Now Available As Ebooks: Extreme Weather Events

As I posted a month or so ago, Headwork has made my first three books available as ebooks through Lulu.com. Time to look at them individually:

Extreme Weather Events


Tim Jones – Extreme Weather Events Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.



Extreme Weather Events was my first short story collection. It was published in 2001 by HeadworX, as part of their now-discontinued Pocket Fiction Series. There are twelve stories in Extreme Weather Events:

Maria and the Tree
Wintering Over
The New Land
Flensing
The Kiwi Contingent
My Friend the Volcano
The Pole
The Lizard
Tour Party, Late Afternoon
Black Box
The Man Who Loved Maps
The Temple in the Matrix

To introduce a few, “Wintering Over” is set in Antarctica, where an isolated scientific party has an unusual visitor from the past: Titus Oates, that very gallant colleague of Captain Scott who went for a walk, and proved to be quite some time indeed. “The Pole”, also set in Antarctica, rewrites the struggle to be first to the South Pole. “Black Box” sees strange developments on the Wellington skyline, while “My Friend the Volcano” blows her top in Taranaki.

"Flensing" and "The Lizard" are pretty much the only two horror stories I’ve ever written. "Flensing" is set in South Georgia, which gives it a slight edge, I think. And "The Temple in the Matrix" pokes a few toes into the interstitial pond in a William-Gibson-meets-HP-Lovecraft-uptown kind of way.

The book got some good reviews and I still come across satisfyingly dog-eared copies in public libraries. Now you can buy it from Lulu.com.

19 April 2017

Takahē 89 Is Out And I'm Guest Poet


In late 2016, then-poetry editor Joanna Preston of takahē magazine asked me to be a guest poet for a forthcoming issue, and now that issue has been published! I really like the cover:



While I haven't seen the issue yet, I'm expecting the following poems of mine will appear in it:
  • Messiaen among the Dinosaurs
  • Composer
  • The Leningrad Symphonies
  • The Home of Country Music
  • Early Summer Music
  • The Hired Hand
They are all on a common theme (with variations), and as might be apparent from many of the titles, that theme is music. My musical tastes run from Schoenberg to Stormzy, but as I haven't a shred of musical talent, I'm much better suited to writing about music than making it. My first three collections all feature poems about music and musicians, but I took a break from that theme for my latest collection New Sea Land.

I was delighted to be asked to be the guest poet for takahē, and especially pleased that "The Hired Hand" was among the poems they accepted, as it's the longest poem I've written (84 lines) and my most sustained attempt at narrative poetry. Below, as a teaser for the issue, is the first stanza of "The Hired Hand". Subscribe to takahē to see the full poem and all the other fine work in this issue.

The Hired Hand [first of six stanzas]

I

The news breaks along the Oregon Trail, their van
panting up I-84 in the thin continental air,

coverage intermittent, Suzie snoring
last night’s last three drinks away.

Whether to call, or text, or let things
simmer for a while. Whether to bang her head

against the dashboard. Whether to look at the road
instead of synching and resynching her phone.

Boise: gas, toilet, then McDonalds. Suzie mumbling
like a broken boxer, mountain light stinging her eyes.

Then as coffee takes hold: “An album and a reunion tour?
And they didn’t call you about it? Again?”

“They might have kind of called,” she says.
Suzie calls her a fool and takes her hand.


Read the rest in takahē 89!

06 April 2017

My First Three Books Are Now Available To Buy As Ebooks, Thanks To HeadworX


Tim Jones – Extreme Weather Events Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.



Tim Jones – Boat People Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.



Tim Jones – All Blacks’ Kitchen Gardens Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.


My first three books were all published by Wellington publisher HeadworX:

Extreme Weather Events (short story collection, 2001)
Boat People (poetry collection, 2002)
All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens (poetry collection, 2007)

Other than a few copies of each that I produce with a flourish* to put on the sales table when I do readings, these books have been long out of print. But I'm pleased to say that, through the tireless work of HeadworX publisher Mark Pirie, these books and a number of other have now been made available as ebooks in epub format, and you can buy them at Lulu.com.

(Epub format won't work on an Amazon Kindle without version conversion, but it will work on most other ebook readers, laptops and tablets.)
You can buy these books, plus cricket anthology A Tingling Catch, edited by Mark Pirie, which contains my poem "Swing":

Mark Pirie – ‘A Tingling Catch’: A Century of New Zealand Cricket Poems 1864-2009 Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

For a full list of the books by HeadworX authors available on Lulu/com, visit the HeadworX shop.

Books by the following authors - including hardbacks, paperbacks and ebooks - are currently available:

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell
Alistair Te Ariki Campbell and Meg Campbell
Tony Chad
Andrew Fagan
Michael O'Leary
Alistair Paterson
Mark Pirie
Vivienne Plumb
Jenny Powell
Helen Rickerby
Harry Ricketts

MaryJane Thomson
F W N Wright

That's quite a list, and shows what a great contribution HeadworX has made to publishing New Zealand poetry and fiction.

With all but one of my published books now available in at least one format, this seems like a good time to run through them all, from oldest to newest - so over the next few months I'll put up a series of posts that take you all the way from Boat People (2001) to New Sea Land (2016).

*for a given value of flourish.

04 April 2017

Here Is Where We Wash Up: "New Sea Land" reviewed by Kay McKenzie Cooke in Landfall Review Online




My latest poetry collection New Sea Land has got some good reviews already, but I'm particularly happy about the excellent review by Kay McKenzie Cooke that has just appeared in Landfall Review Online.

Kay reviews both my collection and another fine collection from Mākaro Press, I am Minerva by Karen Zelas, which I recently read, and recommend.

Talking about New Sea Land, Kay says lots of nice things, but I especially appreciated this comment:

This is a passionate, sincere collection of poems on a concerning subject, but nonetheless peppered with playful aspects, twists and turns. Jones has lightened the load of concern and care that the subject of ecological disaster engenders, with welcomed measures of humour and well-constructed, imagined worlds, both past and future.

It's great to get such a good review which engages with both the content of the collection and the intention behind it - all the more so when the review is by a poet and author I greatly admire. Thanks, Kay!

How to get a copy of New Sea Land

New Sea Land is available in selected booksellers nationwide (the link is to a directory of booksellers).

If the book isn't in stock at your local bookseller, you should be able to order it using this information - especially the ISBN:

ISBN 978-0-9941299-6-3
Publisher: Mākaro Press
Paperback, 150x190mm, 74pp poetry collection
RRP $25

and overseas readers can also order the book from Mākaro Press.



24 March 2017

Aotearoa Reads Podcast / Vote for Helen Lowe in the Gemmell Legend Awards


The New Zealand Book Council were kind enough to ask me to take part in their Aotearoa Reads podcast series, and the podcast I took part in, the second in the series, went up this week. Check out both Aotearoa Reads podcasts - I think you'll find them interesting:

PODCASTS


During that second podcast, I mention that there are many highly successful New Zealand authors who are mentioned less often in the literary conversation here than they should be, because their work is published overseas. One such author is Helen Lowe, whose novel Daughter of Blood has been longlisted for a Gemmell Legend Award for Fantasy alongside authors such as Guy Gavriel Kay, Brandon Sanderson, and N. K. Jemison.

If you'd like to support Helen, here's how to vote for Daughter of Blood to make the shortlist. Voting closes Friday 31 March:

1. Go to http://www.gemmellawards.com/award-voting-2017/

2. See the heading “Vote for your favorite Legend award nominee (2017 longlist)” 

3. Scroll down the list of titles until you reach “Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe”

4. Click in the circle to the left of the title.

5. Go the bottom of the Legend Award list of titles and click “Vote.”


And it's done!