Kiwi poet pub­lished in in­ter­na­tional mag­a­zine

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PASLEY

A late bloom­ing Auck­land poet has been pub­lished by an in­ter­na­tional arts and cul­tural mag­a­zine.

Mt Eden res­i­dent Maris O’Rourke’s poem Spells to Tame Chil­dren made a short­list of 60 po­ems from 2500 en­tries sub­mit­ted to United King­dom’s Aes­thet­ica mag­a­zine.

Emerg­ing and es­tab­lished writ­ers com­peted for a spot from more than 40 coun­tries in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, Canada, the USA, France, Ger­many, Ja­pan, China, Ire­land and the UK.

The idea for O’Rourke’s poem came af­ter study­ing her fam­ily his­tory and re­al­is­ing she had ques­tions for her late mother and then won­der­ing if her own chil­dren had ques­tions for her.

O’Rourke in­ter­viewed her sons about their child­hood mem­o­ries, the best and worst things that hap­pened, what sort of mother she’d been and ques­tions they’d like to ask her.

Her sons’ an­swers were ‘‘dis­tilled down’’ into the win­ning poem.

‘‘It was very hor­ri­ble, very hon­est, very direct,’’ O’Rourke said.

De­spite the suc­cess of her poem O’Rourke came to po­etry late, af­ter spend­ing more than 30 years work­ing in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

O’Rourke is now work­ing on a mem­oir called Zigzags and Leapfrogs and just grad­u­ated from Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy with a masters in cre­ative writ­ing.

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