A Dunedin Day

Thursday is normally one of my days off but I owed work two hours so I popped in this morning for three – well it’s nice to have an hour up my sleeve!

After leaving work I wandered along to the University Library as I remembered from an earlier conversation with John Holmes that he planned to be working in the Otakou Press Room. John is the 2012 Otago University printer in residence.

John at work today in the Otakou Press Room

Finding no one about I headed back down the stairs reprimanding myself for not contacting John last night to check when he was going to be there. But to my delight I met John and Donald Kerr, the University’s Special Collections Librarian, at the bottom of the stairs. I retraced my steps and spent a fascinating hour in the Otakou Press Room. John is printing some of Kevin Cunningham’s poems which have been selected by Bill Manhire.

I’ve arranged to catch up with John at the Press Room again next week for my final When North meets South artist interview. John promised he’ll make his haiku selection this weekend and then he’ll be ready to start work on his book for the exhibition. I didn’t ask whether he worked better under pressure – I’m just presuming he does! But I’m relaxed – there’s still 24 days to the exhibition opening.

John introduced me to Rob Lamb as Rob wandered into the Otakou Press Room. Rob is the guy behind Gum Tree Press. He has two 115 yr old letterpress printing machines and uses them to print poetry books. John and I had a great chat and while talking I was forming an idea to link Rob’s skills with Poems in the Waiting Room. I mentioned my idea to Rob and he liked it so…..watch this space or rather keep an eye on the Poems in the Waiting Room blog early next year.  Rob was very excited about his new venture – Mirror City Letterpress  – which he is setting up in Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct.

Rob Lamb in the Otakou Press Room

Otago Festival of the Arts, a biennial event, is on right now in Dunedin so we’ve been treated to a vast array of amazing theatre, art, music,dance …….. I’d arranged to meet my best mate outside St Pauls at 12.40 but I was early so I wandered through Hoyts Lane and watched the artists working on the mural designed by Daniel Mills. If you live in Dunedin – go take a look, it’s fantastic. I’m planning to revisit it on Sunday when it’s due for completion.

And then a brisk walk along to Mint Gallery to watch Anneloes Douglas transforming what was a blank canvas last Friday into an enormous artwork. It’s due to be auctioned on Saturday at 12 noon. I then raced back to St Pauls and spent an enjoyable 45 minutes listening to Brian Turner reading from his latest book Elemental with several poems from older books thrown in as bonuses.  An unplanned but wonder full art filled day.

(I started writing this for When North meets South but it has the poetry link and a slight touch of Poems in the Waiting Room so I’ve decided to post it in both blogs!)

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