new zealand electronic poetry centre


Tapa Notebooks


Notebook - title page Notebook p2 Notebook p4 Notebook p12 Notebook p19 Notebook p20
Notebook p21 Notebook p25 Notebook p26 Notebook p29 Notebook p41 Notebook p50

Jack Ross is a New Zealand poet and fiction-writer. His latest book Celanie: Poems & Pictures after Paul Celan, a collaboration with artist Emma Smith, came out from Pania Press in November 2012. His other publications include three poetry collections, a trilogy of novels, a novella, and two volumes of short stories. He has also edited a number of books and literary magazines, including (with Jan Kemp) the trilogy of audio / text anthologies Classic, Contemporary and New NZ Poets in Performance (Auckland University Press, 2006-8). He teaches Creative Writing at Massey University's Albany Campus.

Jack Ross writes: 

I was given my tapa notebook in mid-2011. Michele asked me to use it to record my impressions of the Poetry & the Contemporary Symposium (Melbourne: Deakin University, 7-10 July) later in the year.

I started writing in it the day I left Auckland, Wednesday 6th July, and kept on using it after my return from Australia to record poetry-related events and materials until the end of February 2012, just as the new semester started at Massey.

Looking back, I can see that – once the Melbourne poetry and translation conferences were over – I used it mainly as a repository for drafts for two projects:

The whole text of the notebook (with scans) is now online at:

Here are a few – slightly tidied-up – verses and found poems from those I drafted there (from pp. 4, 12 & 50, respectively):

Brooklyn Arts Hotel

“one of those places you’ll be glad you found”

I dunno if I'm that glad I found it ...
So far it resembles some of the hotels
    I stayed in in India
more than a 'pensione' –
&, have you noticed, when you've been left
to cool your heels for half an hour
    (& it really is cold here)
have you ever noticed that it's somehow your
fault – & if you make any kind of
issue of it, you really end up as the villain ...



Paul Celan
(after Matt Hall)

revealing moments of absolute truth
the eradication of the subjective
evacuating lamentation rather than
         inhabiting it
violence at a personal and social level
an often desperate conversation with his accuser
the reader is led to the abyss
         that swallowed
         PAUL CELAN
doubly or triply resonant
the implicit power of sending one to their death
the story of Biblical creation
caught in the anguish of his own non-restoration
the real and absent cause of death
subjectivity arises from the fidelity of the situation

a naming of the void of history



Pity what you can’t change

 “I’m CEO, bitch”
 – The Social Network

How can one defuse
such personalities?

The girl with a grating voice
in your morning language class

The Machiavel manager
whose own thwarted career

as writer & researcher
has choked & foundered here

Deception is one way
Listen to what they say

with feigned sincerity
Perhaps you’ll start to see

admire what you despise
open – or shut? – your eyes





Last updated 14 March, 2013