In this episode I spoke with one of my favourite Wellington poets Nina Powles. I first spent time with Nina around Helen Rickerby’s table where a group of us were hand-binding copies of her first collection Girls of the Drift
Nina is an outstanding poet, non-fiction writer and zinemaker. She is half Malaysian-Chinese, half Pākehā. Nina has an MA in creative writing from Victoria University of Wellington and won the 2015 Biggs Family Prize for Poetry for the first draft of Luminescent. She is the author of the chapbook Girls of the Drift (Seraph Press, 2014) and several poetry zines.
Nina’s new work Luminescent is an extraordinary work.
The five colourful chapbooks that make up Luminescent are intended to be read in any order and are gathered together in a cover folder evocative of the night-sky. Each section loosely explores the life and context of a New Zealand woman, from the famous, such as celebrated writer Katherine Mansfield (Sunflowers) and cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley (The Glowing Space Between the Stars), to the possibly fictional school ghost ((Auto)Biography of a Ghost); in between is early settler and whaler’s wife Betty Guard (Whale Fall), and ill-fated dancer Phyllis Porter (Her and the Flames), who died after her dress caught fire onstage at Wellington’s Opera House.
Nina is appearing at LitCrawl next week.
Better off Read will also be at the pop-up making two live podcasts.
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Episode 51: Pip Adam talks to Nina Powles about her new work LUMINESCENT