'NZTOTSN' is an exploration of placeness and of belonging and non-belonging to a place. This project imitates the poems of Adam Warne’s pamphlet length Suffolk Bang; but where Warne writes about rural Suffolk where he comes from, I am writing about Nelson in New Zealand, where I have been attempting to settle as an immigrant. The style is fragmented yet uncannily coherent nonetheless, the character of the place and the lyric subject’s being in that place emerge as the result of an accumulative effect, where both place and lyric subject are found in the interstices between apocryphal fragments. I've found myself at the mercy of chaotic forces, events and spaces that constantly pass over and through this thing called Nelson, but I've also found myself using that same material to hack out a space for myself. It feels like a fight, where to fight is to constantly expose myself as outsider.


This voice has been especially easy to slip into, as if the lingering disquiet of a coalesced place is the same regardless of location, though characteristically unique to each location. The action of being alternately abjected and claimed through a sort of cosmic process, might also be common, at the very least between me and Adam, as two friends and poets concerned, for now, with places. Though I've noticed just how strongly our different characters and attitudes towards the world assert themselves. While Adam and I are probably just as sad as each other, I'm angrier, meaner. Adam admirably maintains his lamb-like softness, like leaves quietly mulching (we also share a common love of Monty Don) but I am so easily disenfranchised, cornered and overwhelmed by my situation in the world. We seem to both inhabit the world nervously, but as such different people, in different ways, alone but not.

Poems from 'NZTOTSN' have been published in Kiss Me Hardy, a Nelson-based arts journal. Others have been published by Burning House PressRead some below.



sunflowers are bullshit but

his spirit’s illiterate

and would starve to death

another grubby little bitch

in a sensible fleece

no homeless and

much sunshine

is a damp draughtiness

to perish in


More Artists per Capita

no double glazing

where a conservative

dog tied to a post

is dragged into the 21st century

I’m sick, you know

though very angry

at the library which

imagines a garret existence

getting organised


Serial Offender

My heart to pieces where

the wild oats are sown

brother hand

I’ve tarot with Geraldo

in The Wasteland

before he had his coffee

ours the second time

was breath-taking

at home, all the bone-coloured corn



are in the residential

just screaming

people live here

sudden is the driven dust

and the motor vehicles

of a preventable

don’t know the half

O refresh my soul

Craft Beer Depot, immediately


Sausage Dreams

you need to go home girl

or get arrested

hippy capitalists and

regular capitalists

must be the yoga

see everyone knows a Shifty Col

to understand its people

rascally and bitter blown


Flesh is a furious shore

Yang Lian

translated by Brian Holton and Agnes Hung-Chong Chan