Full text of Doc Drumheller's Tapa Notebook [PDF: 7MB]
Doc Drumheller: was born in Charleston, South Carolina and has lived in New Zealand for more than half his life. He has worked in award winning groups for theatre and music and has published ten collections of poetry. His poems have been translated into more than twenty languages, and he has performed in Cuba, Lithuania, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Japan, India, China, Nicaragua, Mexico, El Salvador, USA, and widely throughout NZ. He lives in Oxford, where he edits and publishes the literary journal Catalyst. His latest collection is: Election Day of the Dead, Seventy Haiku from the Americas, Cold Hub Press 2020.
Doc Drumheller writes:
Tapa Notebook BEYOND THE BORDERLANDS, A Balkan Odyssey
Haiku, Poems, Songs, and Ephemera by Doc Drumheller
I was honoured to receive an invitation from Michele Leggott to participate in the Tapa Notebook project for the Auckland University Library and New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre. I used this opportunity to present the haiku from my book Beyond the Borderlands, with the poems, and songs that were inspired by the same trip to the Balkans. I have also included ephemera I collected on my journey.
In August 2013, I represented New Zealand at the 7th International Haiku Festival Constanta, and travelled with my friend Petar Tchouhov to: Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, and Greece. We presented a selection of New Zealand poets in Sofia's Literary Newspaper, and a selection of Bulgarian poets in Catalyst, at a live show with his band La Text on the same night that protests erupted around the parliament building.
The Balkans have been defined and divided for millennia and it is fascinating to witness the differences and similarities between the countries while crossing these borders. To have the opportunity to see the marvels of the ancient and modern world inspired me to fill a pocket notebook of ideas for each country that we visited.
I wasn't expecting to develop such an affinity for the stray cats and dogs that we encountered on our journey, and have dedicated a section of this book to their transitory empire.
In Romania we met up with our friend Marius Chelaru at the festival in Constanta. This was not our first time meeting each other at a festival. Petar, and I met in 2009 at the 5th World Haiku Association Conference and The Druskininkai Poetic Fall in Lithuania. I was familiar with his work already, and we quickly became friends and organised to meet again the next year and travel to Bulgaria. Petar, and I met Marius in 2010 when we participated in the World Haiku Festival Pécs, Hungary. Together we hatched plans to publish New Zealand poets in Romania, and Bulgaria, and Bulgarian, and Romanian poets in New Zealand. Over the past five years work has been published in Catalyst (New Zealand), Kadō (Romania), and Sofia's Literary Newspaper (Bulgaria).
This Tapa Notebook travelled with me to Bulgaria again, where I was invited to represent New Zealand at an international haiku forum at the Metropolitan Library in Sofia, June 2016. Petar was able to include handwritten text of his translations of the haiku, and we played another concert together on the night of my birthday.
It is a pleasure and honour to be able to collaborate with Petar, and Marius, as they are both prominent poets and editors in their respective countries. I hope that our plans continue to blossom, as we publish and perform our poetry Beyond the Borderlands.