Q&A with Elixir & Star Press (aka me)

I’ve had a few people ask, ‘Where did the name Elixir & Star Press come from?’

‘Elixir’ was Reuben’s 2015 Totems album, and ‘Star’ was his first word. 

The other question has been, ‘How come you’re doing this?’

After researching (a lot) about grief whilst writing A Counter of Moons, I quickly noticed the dearth of resources in Aotearoa centred on the expression of grief. Most other countries have either a dedicated platform or imprint, so I’ve decided to start one here.

ESP*’s first anthology will be print-based, because it feels vital to create a physical taonga that can be shared with others during difficult times, whilst also making space to pause, read and reflect. 

As you may or may not know, publishing is expensive and creatives often receive very little remuneration. Since we all need to eat and pay rent, I’ll be applying to Creative New Zealand for funding, and will also run a crowdfunding campaign alongside this, to enable me to pay all contributors. 

It’s my turn to give back, in response to all the support you’ve given Reuben and me with our creativity.

Nui te aroha,

Iona xx

Elixir & Star Press is launched today!

Introducing Elixir & Star Press ~ a small, independent publisher based in Te Wai Pounamu, created in memory of my tama Reuben Winter, and as a dedicated space to explore grief in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

After researching (a lot) about grief whilst writing A Counter of Moons, I quickly noticed the dearth of resources in Aotearoa centred on the expression of grief. Most other countries have either a dedicated platform or imprint, so I’ve decided to start one here.

Our first anthology will be print-based, because it feels vital to create a physical taonga that can be shared with others during difficult times, whilst also making space to pause, read and reflect. 

The inaugural Elixir & Star Press 2023 Almanac will open for submissions 20th April – 20th May 2023.

If you’re still with me, thanks for reading. Thanks too for your support of me, and Reuben, as creatives. Now it’s my turn to give back, and I hope you’ll consider joining me on this new waka (and we’re on social media too) x

Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing

It’s the month of poetry publications! Massive shout outs to Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing for publishing ‘Inhalations’ ~ another toikupu from my poetry manuscript (she who awaits the fearless publisher).

If you’d like to read this wonderful journal, here’s the link for purchasing a copy https://www.snapdragonjournal.com/subscribe

Video reading

LOVE in the time of COVID have published two new toikupu, Cadences and To cleave the elements ~ both are from the manuscript of grief poetry sent off to publishers last week (fingers crossed).

The video reading below is dedicated to Annette who passed last week, aroha to her whānau as they navigate their grief.

https://fb.watch/fVH3k12cl5/

Nui te aroha, much love, Iona x

CLNZ/NZSA 2022 Writers’ Award

https://www.copyright.co.nz/about/news-and-event/25000-clnz-nzsa-writers-award-awarded-to-otepoti-writer-and-poet-iona-winter

My deepest gratitude to Copyright Licensing New Zealand and the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa for the CLNZ/NZSA 2022 Writers’ Award. Thank you for seeing the importance of this mahi, and for facing into the subject matter alongside me.

It’s particularly poignant being this year’s recipient in the month Reuben died, and it also being suicide prevention awareness month. As many creatives will attest, it’s rare to be paid for what we do. This award means that I can write (without the stress of having to deal with certain government departments for a year) and complete A Counter of Moons.

Much aroha to everyone who’s held me gently, loved me fiercely, and continued to encourage me to write. Reuben, this one’s for you bub, e kore e mimiti te aroha mōu, my love for you will never wane xx

Blackbird

Posting a link, to a reading of ‘Blackbird’ https://fb.watch/eTYV5IhZm-/ as published this month in takahē Magazine Vol.105 https://www.takahe.org.nz

They’ve made this issue accessible for all, so you can also read the poem there, plus check out loads of other wonderful literary delights too.

Massive thanks to takahē Magazine for selecting my toikupu, and to Reuben for the continued inspiration to write.

Nui te aroha,

Iona x

An epic poem and audio…

Last month I was invited to write a creative response to Songs of Rupture by David Green, an incredible exhibition/installation held at Anteroom Project Art Space in Koputai, Port Chalmers.

Below is the link for my epic poem Heartbeat (with audio), as published with Vernacular. I’d encourage you to listen, alongside reading it, and perhaps with a cup of tea. https://vernacular-online.nz/heartbeat

Massive thanks to Charlotte Parallel, David Green, Orissa Keane and Robyn Maree Pickens.

2022 NZPS International Poetry Competition

So, this happened today.

I’m feeling absolutely blessed that ‘Heavy-limbed tree after rain’ placed 2nd, and ‘Ara Toi’ was commended, in the 2022 NZ Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition. Massive thanks to NZ Poetry Society judge Nicola Easthope for selecting my poems, and for not shying away from the subject of suicide bereavement.