Birdspeak is Arihia Latham’s debut collection of poems (published by Anahera Press) where birdcall and nature resound throughout the collection.
In many ways the book is a beautiful and poignant culmination of all the life experiences and places – physical, spiritual and intellectual – that have influenced and created Arihia as a creator up to this moment in time. Life experiences such as being an advocate for Māori and Pāpātuanuku, being a rongoā practitioner, as a māmā, as Kāi Tahu and her life as a creator.
This beautiful collection of poetry is both political and personal, tender and fierce. That weaves in the subjects, such as dismantling the patriarchy and its gender binary and decolonising / re-indigenising our history, as well subtly balancing tone and time, the universal and the everyday.
The collection is deeply steeped in Māori culture and is timed to be released to tie in with the Matariki celebrations.
The collection will be launched on Wednesday 12th July 6pm at Unity Books
When the opportunity to interview Arihia about Birdspeak and her creative practice arose, we jumped at it! We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Arihia for taking the time to answer our questions; for providing such an illuminating insight into her creative life, world and work; and also, for giving us a fabulous reading of the title poem ‘Birdspeak’.
Artwork by Natalie Couch. All art used in this interview is by kind permission and strictly copyrighted.
You can watch the video of our interview below, or on our YouTube channel.
Arihia Latham (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) is a writer, rongoā practitioner and cultural advisor. Her work has been widely published and anthologised in publications such as Huia, Landfall, Oranui, Foodcourt, Te Whē, Awa Wāhine, The Spinoff and Pantograph Punch.
She has presented at Verb festival, NZ Festival of the Arts and Te Hā and is a regular arts columnist for The Post and recently featured in the Lōemis festival reading poetry on a beach by firelight under the stars. She lives with her whānau in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Arihia’s collection Birdspeak will be available to borrow from the library soon.
Huia short stories 7 : contemporary Māori fiction
“This collection of short stories and novel extracts follows the 2007 Pikihuia Awards for Maori Writers. The biennial awards and their subsequent publications have become well-known and much-anticipated, as they bring more undiscovered gems to the attention of the reading public. This years awards were judged by James George, Barry Barclay, Kelly Ana Morey and Wena Harawira.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Huia short stories 10 : contemporary Māori fiction
“Here are the best short stories and novel extracts from the Pikihuia Awards for Maori writers 2013 as judged by Sir Mason Durie, Hana O’Regan and Reina Whaitiri. The book contains the stories from the finalists for Best Short Story written in English, Best Short Story written in Maori and Best Novel Extract.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Vā : stories by women of the moana
“Stories that tell Covid how we really feel, where a centipede god watches on with wry humour and wrath, where a sexy Samoan goes on a hot Tinder date in Honolulu, where a New Zealand doctor is horrified to be stuck at her cousin’s kava drink up in Fiji, where moana people travel the stars and navigate planets, stories where ancestors and atua live and breathe. Stories that defy colonial boundaries, and draw on the storytelling and oratory that is our inheritance. Immerse yourself in the intrigue, fantasy, humour and magic of beautiful strong stories by 38 writers from across the moana.” (Adapted from Catalogue)