Poems reflect life of roaming
Putting pen to paper helps Maris O’Rourke look back on a fascinating life story, with chapters from even the smallest corners of the world.
After releasing a children’s book the author is turning out her first collection of poetry.
As an international education consultant she has visited more than 50 developing countries.
Some of the poems in Singing With Both Throats are inspired by her travels. Beijing Boys is a case in point. In 2011 Ms O’Rourke took a train trip from Beijing to Berlin with some friends.
Before setting off from Beijing they visited a park beside the Forbidden City.
‘‘I looked around and realised there was only boys, there were no girls in there at all.
‘‘Each of the boys had four or five adults running around after them while they were basically creating havoc,’’ the Mt Eden resident says.
China’s one child policy has led to a number of parents aborting pregnancies when they find out the baby is a girl.
The term Little Emperors was coined to describe children born under this policy who are able to command the undivided attention and affection of their parents
‘‘I’ve spent quite a lot of time in China over the years and I started to think, what does all this mean for the future of this country?’’
Other poems in the collection simply reflect moments and memories from her life.
Spells to Tame Children appears to be an ode to parenting while Tangi Time is a set of instructions for her sons to follow when she dies.
Ms O’Rourke is a former chief executive of the Ministry of Education and education director for the World Bank.
Singing With Both Throats is the product of five years work. ‘‘I’ve always loved writing. ‘‘If you think about it poetry cuts right down to the essence of things. I’m not much of a reflector, but it is a great way to reflect.’’
These days she has given up her consultancy work and writes fulltime.
Next on her list is a follow up to her first book Lillibutt’s Big Adventure, which was released last year.
The children’s story is about the fun a pig named Lillibutt has while walking the 1600 kilometre El Camino pilgrimage trail from France to Spain.
Lillibutt’s next adventure will take her along the Te Araroa walk which stretches from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
Ms O’Rourke has been gradually completing the walk with her partner since Christmas.
‘‘We’ve done 900km so we’ve still got a really long way to go, but it’s an amazing trip so I thought Lillibutt could have this little Te Araroa adventure as well.’’
The front cover of Singing With Both Throats is an art work by Claudia Pond Eyley, who also illustrated Lillibutt’s Big Adventure.
Changing tack: Children’s book author Maris O’Rourke is releasing her first collection of poetry.