Poet wins res­i­dency in the States

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SAMAN­THA SMITH

It all started when Daren Ka­mali found him­self busk­ing in cen­tral Auck­land.

The Fi­jian-born poet, writer and mu­si­cian be­gan his ca­reer 16 years ago, read­ing po­etry on the streets.

Now 38, he’s the first Pa­cific writer from New Zealand to be ac­cepted into one of the world’s longestrun­ning in­ter­na­tional writ­ing pro­grammes.

He will be at­tend­ing a three-month writer’s res­i­dency at the Univer­sity of Iowa from Au­gust to Novem­ber.

The Auck­land res­i­dent says it will be full on but well worth it.

‘‘Thirty of us from around the world are com­ing to work to­gether, teach, present and learn off each other.

‘‘It’s not just all writ­ers; there are pub­lish­ers, trans­la­tors, edi­tors and we will also be work­ing with the­atre and dance.

‘‘So they will be tak­ing our words off the pages and on to the stages.’’

Ka­mali will also use the op­por­tu­nity to write a col­lec­tion of Pa­cific po­ems to com­plete his third book Ink Fish Writes Again, which will com­plete his tril­ogy Squid­lu­mi­nar­ies.

‘‘I also want to work with a trans­la­tor, Span­ish, French or even Asian, to get my books out to the masses,’’ he says.

‘‘And I want to find in­ter­na­tional pub­lish­ers and make net­works and con­tacts.’’

Ka­mali has lived in New Zealand since 1992 and says his work draws on his up­bring­ing both here and in Fiji.




Pa­cific po­etry – it’s about the is­lands and the city, the old and the new.

‘‘Po­etry is im­por­tant to me as it’s a genre I can ex­press my­self in and it’s some­thing I can re­late to. It speaks truth in so many ways.’’

The co-founder of the South Auck­land Po­ets Col­lec­tive and Niu Nav­i­ga­tions com- pleted a de­gree in creative writ­ing from the Manukau In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy this year.

And his ad­vice to as­pir­ing writ­ers?

‘‘Stick to what you are do­ing, get a writ­ing de­gree and keep writ­ing.

‘‘You need pas­sion, tal­ent and dis­ci­pline.

‘‘A good writer is a good reader. I started in 1998 busk­ing, do­ing street po­etry.

‘‘If I can do it then any­one can do it.’’

Po­etry first: Writer Daren Ka­mali, is look­ing for­ward to the three months he will spend at the Univer­sity of Iowa.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to hear Jour­ney by Daren Ka­mali.

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