from Issue #8: Poetry by Kerrin P. Sharpe

Photo (CC) steve p2008 @ Flickr

Photo (CC) steve p2008 @ Flickr


to qualify as a search diver

she releases her hair
plants candles in the sea

grows fins of broom
and toi-toi imagines

her husband on a shore-line
somewhere say bay head beach

his thin face shaved
by small tongues of spume

imagines him the complete
angler with the anatomy

of a salmon imagines
how sirens of krill

tow his dinghy the mad hun
into a sound drowned valley

so the road home never darkens




to see Venice you only need a mask

even though Turner’s mask
was a thin wash of lilac rain
the artist always longed
to set fire to Venice

at first he dragged
undiluted paint across paper
then scratched out
any impression of water

his father known
for his spare ribs
remembers the smoke of stars
strokes of people
luminous hollow hair

refugees of Venetian history
doctors who didn’t quack
doges horologists glassblowers
became flames of tonal lilac

there was no need
to add body colour
Venice was an inferno
and what his painting forgave
from this fusion of embers

remained behind
the confessional grille
with the lilac Priest




photos of Raymond

though there are photos
of Raymond’s academic
surgery and lab gowns

he still shouted doctor
when he discovered
his son in the pool

though Raymond gave us a fridge
an unknown illness
still swallowed his wife

there are photos of Raymond
at the cemetery
with 100 blue moon roses

the morning my mother
couldn’t wake Raymond
I dreamt there were photos

of all his pills
on polka-dot saucers
whenever I think

of Raymond’s photos
there’s always a blackbird
I call the doctor

at my window




KERRIN P. SHARPE’s first book, three days in a wishing well, was published by Victoria University Press in 2012. A group of her poems also appeared in Oxford Poets 13 (Carcanet).  A second book, there’s a medical name for this, was published by Victoria University Press in 2014. At present, she is completing her third collection, rabbit rabbit, with the assistance of a Creative New Zealand grant. Kerrin lived for many years in Wellington, New Zealand, where she completed the Victoria University course (IML) in creative writing. She now lives in Christchurch and, as well as writing herself, teaches creative writing. Her students have had many writing successes and she is very proud of them all.

New Double Issue launch on 10 April!

Contrappasso Double Issue, April 2015

Contrappasso Double Issue, April 2015


Roll camera…

Contrappasso starts its 4th year with a DOUBLE ISSUE.

Writers at the Movies, edited by Matthew Asprey Gear and guest Noel King, brings together many kinds of artists who have been captivated by film: its imagery, history, personalities and political edge. Across essays, fiction, poetry, interviews and photography, the contributors are James Franco, Emmanuel Mouret, Sarah Berry, Barry Gifford, Michael Atkinson, Luc Sante, R. Zamora Linmark, Richard Lowenstein, Anthony May, Michael Eaton, Jon Lewis, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Scott Simmon, Clive Sinclair and the late, great Richard Hugo.

Companion issue Contrappasso #8 takes the journal’s adventures in international writing further and wider, with its biggest selection of new fiction and poetry, from nine countries.

There’s an interview with Filipino authors F. H. Batacan and Andrea Pasion-Flores, plus stories by Pasion-Flores, US authors Rick DeMarinis and Kent Harrington and, in a Contrappasso first, a long-overdue translation of Argentine modernist author Roberto Arlt (with translator Lucas Lyndes)…

…plus the most poetry in any Contrappasso issue, with work by Nicaragua’s Blanca Castellón (translated by New Zealand’s Roger Hickin), Spain’s Alicia Aza (translated by J. Kates), China’s Lu Ye and Geng Xiang (translated by Ouyang Yu), New Zealand’s Kerrin P. Sharpe and Mary Macpherson, the UK’s Bill Adams and Richard Berengarten, the USA’s Floyd Salas and J. Kates, and Australia’s Elias Greig, Philip Hammial, Travis McKenna, Sascha Morrell, Tony Page, Sarah Rice, Frank Russo, Page Sinclair, Alex Skovron, Paolo Totaro, Lyn Vellins, Luke Whitington – and one of the last poems by the late, much-missed Morris Lurie.

This Contrappasso DOUBLE ISSUE presents the most writers so far, across the widest range of fields.

And… cut.