Lembas Cafe in Raumati South continued its tradition of bring New Zealand’s top poets to Kāpiti with the recent performance of Vincent O’Sullivan.
The award-winning O’Sullivan is latest in a line of literary stars to appear at Lembas including Dinah Hawken, Bill Manhire and Jenny Bornholdt, Gregory O’Brien and Denis Welch. Local poets to feature include Glenn Colquhoun, Julie Leibrich, and Martin Sanderson who, with his wife, Wanjiku Kiarie, was guest poet shortly before his death late last year.
In 2006, O’Sullivan was awarded $60,000 for poetry at the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement, which recognises writers who have made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature. Prime Minister Helen Clark said, ‘Vincent O’Sullivan’s poetry, which is what we are honouring him for tonight, goes to the heart of life’s big themes love, politics, philosophy, literature and history. He is one of the 12 New Zealand writers currently at the French literary festival Les Belles Etrangres and the invitation extended to us this year by that festival illustrates how highly regarded our writers are internationally.’
Further Convictions Pending, the definitive collection of Vincent’s celebrated poetry of the last decade, was published by Victoria University Press in 2009.
Lots more about Vincent O’Sullivan at www.bookcouncil.org.nz/Writers/Profiles/O‘Sullivan,%20Vincent
Blame Vermeer by Vincent O’Sullivan
A woman of thirty pours the inch or so of milk
left in a jug, sets the jug high on a shelf
inside a small cupboard because the children
from next door are to stay the night, she’ll
not risk their picking at its precious glaze.
She takes her ring from beside the tap,
slips it back onto her third finger.
She hears steps on the path.
will happen after every painting for a long
time yet. It may have been war,
a sudden wrenching of implacable grief,
diseases arrived from the unburied,
children clattering in only days until
they are shunted east.
And the stranger
announcing, ‘There is something here,’ and her hand
on the lip first then the jug’s smooth curving,
it was lifted, so Jug & Woman
may have been the title again as it was and was
how many hundred times in that small
kitchen, its imagined canvas, the deluging back
of ordinariness so lovely, to what can one
compare it? And the steps always arriving.
It will happen next.