Artistic Statement
Writing Tips
Below a rusting pile, of shotgun cartridges, the empty shells, of swans, lie along the lake's edge, long bones & long feathers, pressed into the wet earth, graceful necks curled, into a single loop, where bodies have folded, & fallen from the sky, the imprint of a bird, crushed, in the snowgrass
Artistic Statement
An "artistic statement" is another way of saying why, how, and what a poet writes about. The hardest one to answer is the first. I think that writing 'experience' plays a large part in the answer. Every artist – a carver, a sculptor, a photographer – likes to see their completed work observed and commented on by people. All of their works of art started as a simple idea, and now it is out in the open for others to enjoy. If you are a writer, the reward of seeing your work in print in many ways justifies your writing and encourages you to write again. There may be setbacks along the way but the important thing is to believe in your work. Believe in yourself and the way you write. Know that what you have written is good and does not need to be compared to other writers.

How I write refers to the practical way I approach my writing. All of my ideas go into a hardcover lecture book. I transfer these to the computer and then work on them. I have a smaller laptop which I take with me when travelling and then use a memory stick to put these onto my larger working computer. My first poems were written on a portable typewriter and just occasionally I like to bring it out – if only to listen to the sounds of the keys!

All poems have a subject. The problem is finding the subject to write about! Not everything that happens is poetic, and a simple statement or happening may not be that exciting. But you need to be aware constantly of being prepared to see an idea around you. It will be one that for some unknown reason catches your attention enough to be able to expand it and weave into a poem. The best way to find out what I write about is to read the books I have written, and see the different subjects I have written about – New Zealand history, conservation, the Antarctic, Maori language, art, sport, and whales. There is no limit to the kinds of things you can write about. As a poet you mix these ideas into your individual melting pot and hope that an exciting poem eventuates. After all that hard work you are entitled to say: "That’s a good poem!"