Poetry competition winners for 2013

We have the winners of our National Poetry Day poetry competition! Congratulations to Irena Tojcic and Daniel Bartlett. The judge said:

We had an overwhelming response to the poetry competition and every single entry was outstanding. It was a hugely difficult task to pick a winner out of the nearly 130 poems entered. It was even more difficult to pick a winner out of the top 10 shortlisted poems as each one was moving and/or thought provoking. I kept coming back to two poems in particular and after much angst chose this one as the overall winner.

Here are the winning poems:

Untitled by Irena Tojcic (Winner)

I touched the ground
Underneath your shadow,
Warm it was.
I turned around and
Met your name,
Familiar it was.
I kept silent,
Holding tightly
A pulsating fish of my heart,
Not letting it escape
Into your river.

Birthday Party by Daniel Barlett (Runner up)

It’s pretty dark
And only getting darker
So put on your parka
And close your front door

You’re looking great
And I’m a mess
But nevertheless
I’ll be trying my best
To keep it together

And keep you interested
For at least
The next ten minutes

And when we get to town
When we get to your friend’s house
As I’m sure we will

I’ll let go of your hand
As you push ahead

And I’ll want to say your name
But instead
I’ll say nothing

I’ll just wait
For the security light
To click on

Letting your shadow

Measure the distance between us

The Minack Theatre: a worthy bucket list addition

Two photographs caught my eye when I was flicking through a very old copy of the National Geographic magazine.

The first was a photograph of the Minack Theatre (a famous open-air theatre in Britain):

Photo of Minack Theatre
The Minack Theatre, courtesy of the Minack Theatre
Photo of Rowena Cade relaxing in a wheelbarrrow
Rowena Cade relaxing in a wheelbarrow, courtesy of the Minack Theatre

The second photograph in the same article was of an elderly woman, Rowena Cade, sitting in an upright wheelbarrow. I’d never thought of using a wheelbarrow as a seat, but it looks pretty comfy!!

Between 1931 and 1983 (when she died) Rowena Cade planned, built and financed the Minack (in Cornish this means ‘a rocky place’) Theatre. This stunning theatre is carved into the granite rocks of Porthcurno in Cornwall.

An extract from the Minack Theatre’s website describes how this was built by Rowena Cade and two men:

“During that first winter of 1931-32, she laboured as apprentice to her gardener Billy Rawlings and his mate Charles Thomas Angove. Using the skills of the two men, granite was cut by hand from a pile of tumbled boulders. Stones were inched into place. The terraces were in-filled with earth, small stones and pebbles shovelled down from the higher ledges. All this work took place on the slope above a sheer drop into the Atlantic.”

Rowena had a superb mix of qualities including creativity, foresight, ingenuity, and sheer determination. She overcame so many obstacles: a challenging location; physical constraints; a world war where resources, money and materials were scarce; and age (she worked on the theatre until her mid-eighties!).

What an inspiring woman and what a remarkable achievement! Just the sort of inspiration many of us in Christchurch like to hear about now that we are faced with a long rebuild journey ahead of us.

The Minack Theatre has been added to my bucket list. If you have included an inspirational addition to your bucket list lately I’d love to hear about it.

Logo of the National Geographic Virtual LibraryAside from the National Geographic magazines that you can find in our libraries, library members can also access the digital archive of the National Geographic magazine. Coverage is from 1888 onwards up until the most recent issues and includes articles, maps and photos. The National Geographic Virtual Library is a fantastic resource to browse through.

Thank you to Phil Jackson, Theatre Manager of the Minack Theatre, for providing permission to use the images contained in this blog post.

This week in Christchurch history (26 August – 1 September 2013)

28 August 1890
“Great maritime strike” (the first of New Zealand’s 3 major waterfront strikes) spreads to Lyttelton.

31 August 1959
Princess Margaret Hospital opens.

Cashmere (later Princess Margaret) Hospital, shown under construction
The land for the hospital had been bought from the Cracroft Wilson estate by the North Canterbury Hospital Board in the 1930s. Construction began in May 1952 and the hospital was opened 31 Aug. 1959 by the Governor-General, the Viscount Cobham (1909-1977) and officially named The Princess Margaret Hospital. At one stage it was assumed that it would become Christchurch’s main hospital but it was too far from the town centre.
31 August 1974
Death of Prime Minister Norman Kirk, M.P. for Sydenham. He had earlier been M.P. for Lyttelton, and Mayor of Kaiapoi.
Search our catalogue for Norman Kirk.
View the DigitalNZ set The life and death of Norman Kirk.

View image of Norman Kirk's coffin
Alongside the coffin of the late Prime Minister Norman Kirk at Parliament House, Wellington. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/4-021782-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22870322
Christchurch chronology
A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More August events in the Chronology.