Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday August 29
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thursday, August 29, 2013 --- 3 123209 By DANIEL SILVERTON EMMA Shi’s writing can bring tears to the eyes of those reading her multi award-winning work. The year 13 Pakuranga College pupil won the National Schools Poetry Award presented by Victoria University for her work, inadequately blue. The 16-year-old was inspired to write the poem by the sight of the sun early one morning. “I was sleepy, but the sky was so pretty and it was slowly getting brighter,” says Emma. “The situation struck me with a sense of inadequacy about being human. “Inadequately blue is about how small we are, with all our limits, along with the things we could, and wish we could do – if only we were, perhaps, as great as the sky.” Emma wasn’t aware of the compe- tition when she composed the poem. “I write almost every day. Poems I like, I try to write like that. I have more of a rambling style.” The competition judge, poet and Victoria University lecturer Anna Jackson, says Emma’s is a very assured poem, from its arresting opening image, through its three poised and shapely stanzas. “This is a poem about an origami feeling, with the image of the origami cranes at once suggesting the care, the attention, the patience it takes to ‘fold and fold and fold’, and at the same time the lack of pretension, the artlessness, the simplicity of writing all in the lower case about nothing more than a feeling.” Emma is proud of the feedback, saying: “It felt really good because it’s the one thing I’m most passionate about. “To have someone say I’m good is really amazing.” Emma and her teacher, Pakuranga College head of English Vanessa Scott, had to wait a week before they could spread the word of Emma’s achievement. “It killed me,” says Mrs Scott. “I’m very aware of Emma’s talents, but I have to say, the frst time I read inad- equately blue I cried, and I cried the next 10 times I read it. “Emma’s writing has the ability to touch your emotions and has as much sophistication and resonance as any professional writer I have read.” The winner’s prizes include $500 and a trip to Wellington for a poetry master class at Victoria’s Interna- tional Institute of Modern Letters. In June, Emma also won the sen- ior poetry section of the Write Off Line competition organised by Tau- ranga Writers, for her poem, a little bit empty. Judge Marcel Currin says: “An amazing piece of work. Emma’s poem makes a fantastic impact on the audience with its steam-punk ele- ments. It terrifes me how good she can write.” A little bit empty will appear in the Write Off Line anthology to be pub- lished later this year. Last year, Emma tried her hand at short story writing and won a contest for her piece, Blue, Blue Eyes. The competition was run by American author Ripley Patton and Emma’s story will feature in Mrs Pat- ton’s next book, Ghost Hunt. “Blue, Blue Eyes was poetic and haunting with a beautiful use of lit- erary techniques that tied the whole story together,” says Mrs Patton. Emma hopes to continue her crea- tive writing as a career, after study- ing in Auckland or Wellington. WORDSMITH: Pakuranga College pupil and prize-winning writer Emma Shi, right, with the school's head of English, Vanessa Scott. Times photo Daniel Silverton Teenage writer racks up awards inadequately blue by EMMA SHI the sky folds open every morning like origami and i fold out with it, like butter- fies, like pretty birds, lifting away, only to be caught in the creases of the ocean. they say that if you make one thousand paper cranes, you get a wish. if my fngers did not ache, i would fold and fold and fold until i got not one wish, but a mil- lion, and i would scatter them across the sea and kiss the feathers that wash up on the shore each year. my lipstick stains are stuck on the softest things in the world like clouds and the boy who didn’t say goodbye. he dipped his fnger into sunsets and painted my eyes red, orange, fre, and i would spread that burn out across the ocean but my fngers shake and nothing comes out of my mouth but air.
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