Self-effacing kiwis, end of the world where we might disappear when the tide comes in, a snake and a lizard, a haka in a black watery space, images of, yes, more water, rangi and papa, some words emerging from a watery, starry universe…. There was a puzzling disconnect, as Witi has it, between who we are, what we could and should have said and presented about NZ at last night’s formal and pavilion openings at the Buchmesse. Why bother saying it again, but if you are going to present a country and it’s literature to a German audience, then you have to take it and them seriously, give them something to grapple with to chew on, to discuss. One onlooking German politico actually asked what the pavilion presentation was all about. Disconnect, between theme, presentation and audience.
Publishers don’t mind. Anything is OK to get attention. They tell me this place is all about business and deals, writers add entertainment. As Chad Taylor nicely put it, we are the equivalent of the bikini clad models leaning on the cars at a motor show.
NB IIML a gridlock on the poetry. Schade. What could have been.