new zealand electronic poetry centre

Sonja Yelich 

Friday 23 August  7.30-10pm  once and for all
Saturday 24 August  11.45 – 1.00pm  breaking ground, preserving ground

Sonja Yelich lives in Bayswater/Devonport, Auckland. She has published her work in literary journals for many years and has studied creative writing under Witi Ihimaera.  

AUP New Poets 2 (AUP, 2002) is her first book. These poems piece together colourful pictures of a New Zealand childhood haunted by a harsh European past and she adds to the mix the voices and dramas of her own children in contemporary Auckland.

Sonja  likes to twist and turn words in much the same way as she heard them spoken as a second language, and always with the sea somewhere in the back of her mind. She says dialogue, when going between one language and another, can make a whole new tongue for which there is no dictionary. 

Her four small children are beginning to provide her with yet another language, another way of talking, a new set of accents, where everything has a meaning but is sometimes lost in translation. Things have come full circle. 

western springs zoo

At the zoo my mother is from 1972.

Our TV is black & white with knobs.

The school bander prints in violet ink.

We have a v dub BJ1476.

My mother is 26 no more.

in a red halter neck that does up

under the fanny part.

With cork heels

& skirt.

My pigtails are in rubberbands.

I wanted plaits but never got them.

The Americans say braids.

We were somewhere by the polar bears

in a pair.

There’s the fizzing of water & concrete

icicles which drip concrete icicles.

You cannot see me ~

I am gripping my brownie camera in hard plastic

which was an adventurous buy for my parents.

It will only ever take one film

of 12 shots

in its whole whole life.


© Sonja Yelich 2002


Last updated 18 July, 2002