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Cold Hub Press ~ Jenny Powell

Publication date: 08 June 2021


Jenny Powell

ISBN: 978-0-473-57186-3

Softcover, 80 pp, 210 x 148mm


Jenny Powell's MEETING RITA is a collection of forty-seven poems inspired by New Zealand artist Rita Angus (1908-70). Rita has shifted in time to become the poet's friend. As Powell says: "Rita and I had much in common. We might have enjoyed each other's company." Within the poems they converse. There is a poetic response to Rita at a number of levels. Many of the poems reference specific paintings and actual episodes in Angus's life and in a series of imagined encounters poet and painter share experiences and have a dialogue about things that are of importance: clothes, love, place, painting, poetry, the meaning of life. At times the poems translate art and music into an over-arching layer of language, with responding patterns, rhythms and tones. Other poems seek to explore and express ideas and images that might lie beneath Rita's creativity, or the dual creativity of artist and poet. In this way, a fresh direction evolves. MEETING RITA offers a unique insight into the creative process and the spiritual, intellectual and emotional camaraderie that art offers both to the artist/writer and the viewer/reader.


Jenny Powell is a Dunedin writer who has published seven individual and two collaborative collections of poems, the most recent, South D Poet Lorikeet in 2017. In 2016 she wrote The Case of the Missing Body; a non-fiction account of a woman who has no sense of her body (OUP). Her two collaborative theatre pieces had successful debut seasons, and she has since been commissioned to write a piece with Anthony Richie for young people's choir and orchestra. In 2020 she was an RAK Mason Writing Fellow and performed poems at the 2020 Festival of Reading 'Yarns in Barns', Wairarapa, and was part of the inaugural performance 'Southern Writers' at Te Awe Library, Wellington. Also in 2020 she was a support poet for Poet Laureate David Eggleton at his inauguration at Matahiwe Marae. Powell was nominated by Takahe Literary Magazine for the international 2020 'Best of the Net' anthology.

Meeting Rita     

Hanging around in the gallery

for a ticket-only discussion

of fashion, we were singles

leaning on opposite walls.

Judgement flicked like a whip

and we couldn’t change a thing.

Rita and I

were wearing the same coat.

Colour of deer in tussock terrain

we thought

we were camouflaged

in high-country cover.

Corrugations of hills


into our sleeves, tumbled

to the flat plains of cuffs.

Coats stripped of scrub,

of border protection

between out and in,

we faced each other.

Self Portrait, 1936–37, Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

© Jenny Powell 2021