Tag Archives: Radio New Zealand

The Island and the Albatross — Episode Three, Res Publica, Live on Radio NZ

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand Nine-to-Noon

Listen now.

You can read notes on the previous episode here.

In this third episode, Arcady wonders how his parents — such loving parents — could have kept from him, for so many years, the fact that he was adopted.

He explains how, after learning this truth about his birth, he gave up all his ambitions and committed himself to a life of idleness; which is how he ended up drinking lots of beer and volunteering on a chasing boat for Team New Zealand, and how he ended up alone at sea that day, where we left him in the previous episode, sleeping, dreaming and drifting away.

Suddenly he awakes to a knocking sound against the stern of his boat. It’s night. There’s been a storm. He’s in the middle of the sea, and yet, when stepping out of the boat, his feet touch solid ground!

He muses about what it means to step upon some unexpected earth, someplace no one else has ever stepped before. He looks around, describes the tiny moonlit island on which he’s landed, and sees an albatross flap its wings and lift into the darkness, leaving him all alone.

This is where Episode Three ends. Episode Four will be broadcast on Monday, 10:45am, Radio NZ “Nine-to-Noon”.

A note about the verse structure:

Twelve-line tetrameter stanzas, with a mostly iambic cadence (although the rhythm is varied), and a rhyme scheme of abbaccddeeff. Some lines, of course, were cut or altered to fit the audio segments.

An example of a stanza from Episode Three:

The air was warm, my clothes were wet,
without a trace of salt. To the West
soft thunder answered in anapest
a pressing question. And new ones beget:
My mates? Perished? What absurdity!
On a different boat they must surely be!
Slowly my thoughts (I snoozed through a storm?)
diffused like sea from the low landform
which caused me to stand, and from the stern climb,
and question that morning’s rapid “burn-time,”
and whether my brain had sizzled while I slept.
But lo! On ground my feet had stepped!

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The Telltale Baby Photo — Episode Two, Res Publica, Live on Radio NZ

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand Nine-to-Noon

Listen now.

You can read notes on the previous episode here.

In this second episode, Arcady, our narrator, is alone and asleep and drifting in a boat. He has a dream — a dream he’s often had — in which he’s standing amongst a crowd of people, when suddenly everyone sprouts wings and flies up to the heavens, leaving him abandoned.

The meaning of the dream seems obvious to Arcady:

He’d always had the perfect life. Kind, devoted, broad-minded parents. A loving, extended family. A natural gift for sports and academia (including a scholarship to Harvard). A recent marriage to a beautiful, sophisticated woman from a very wealthy family.

Then one day, not long after the wedding, while he and his new wife were examining his family album, a photograph fell to the floor. In the picture, his doting parents were holding Arcady as a baby. With a cajoling tone of voice, Arcady’s wife commented on how, in the photo, her new mother-in-law looked unusually fit and vibrant for a woman who’d just given birth.

Arcady couldn’t help noticing how these comments caused his assembled family members to glance uncomfortably, all at the same time, at his mother. And this synchronized glance made him wonder if perhaps they all knew something about him he didn’t know; some secret they were afraid to reveal.

Episode Two ends here, with Arcady promising to reveal the secret in Episode Three, broadcast tomorrow on Radio NZ “Nine-to-Noon” at 10:45am.

A note about the verse structure:

Twelve-line tetrameter stanzas, with a mostly iambic cadence (although the rhythm is varied), and a rhyme scheme of abbaccddeeff. Some lines, of course, were cut or altered to fit the audio segments.

An example of a stanza from Episode Two:

A photograph: My mum with plaited
black hair adorned in marigolds
and frangipani. She hugs and beholds
her newborn babe. My father, hatted,
suited, can’t control his imperious
pride, his wild eyes, his delirious
grin, his gentle fingers caressing
my dimpled chin. Such doting, obsessive
parents are rare in this world. Nor
has a son admired his parents more
than I admired mine. I vowed
a single ambition — making them proud.

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Several Hundred People Dead — Episode One, Res Publica, Live on Radio NZ

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand Nine-to-Noon

Listen now.

In this first episode we meet the narrator, Arcady Robinson, who insists that the story he’s about to tell — of “seven years and fifty weeks of his life” — is absolutely true. Indeed, he has proof. Two pieces of proof:

First, that a bunch of strange debris was found on a vacant beach in Mercury Bay (and if his listener wishes to search further, several hundred people can be found dead at the bottom of the sea, at a location to be described in Episode 5).

And second, that he doesn’t know how to make things up; because if he did, well, then he’d be an official “writer,” that is, a published writer (which he isn’t), and the New Zealand Board of Arts (which has rejected his grant application) has made it very clear to him: one can’t be acknowledged as a writer, and receive a grant, without being published first.

In fact, claims Arcady, not only is his story true, but it’s a story known around the world, which of course — in our modern age of “typus excessus” (a.k.a. blogging) — threatens its very truthfulness.

He now begins his tale: About how he found himself alone one day on a boat in the Hauraki Gulf, and how he fell asleep and had a dream. This is where Episode One ends, with Arcady promising to reveal more in Episode Two, broadcast tomorrow on Radio NZ “Nine-to-Noon” at 10:45am.

A note about the verse:

Twelve-line tetrameter stanzas, with a mostly iambic cadence (although the rhythm is varied), and a rhyme scheme of abbaccddeeff. Some lines, of course, were cut or altered to fit the audio segments.

An example of a stanza from episode one:

O! That moment of immeasurable ease
which comes on gently rocking boats
in warm contented weather! One floats
as if on Time’s eternal seas,
a million years slip by with every
lurch and lulling pitch. A reverie
held in wobbly balance between
a savage sleep (pre-Pleistocene)
and playful, sweet Arcadian reason;
that moment between our circadian seasons,
half-Somnus, half-genius! Asleep and awake.
To live in that balance, what poets we’d make!

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Epic New Zealand Poem to Hit the Airwaves on February 9

Res Publica, an Epic Novel in Rhyming Verse

Res Publica, by Zireaux

Just wanted to let you know that Radio New Zealand will begin broadcasting Zireaux’s epic novel in rhyming verse, Res Publica — read by the acclaimed Kiwi actor Stuart Devenie — on Wednesday, February 9, at 10:45am.

“Seldom does Radio New Zealand really ‘do’ poetry or verse even on a small scale,” says Executive Producer, Adam Macaulay, who admits to being unsure how Res Publica will be received by Radio New Zealand’s listeners. “But we just had to do it. From the moment I began reading the book — and discovered I couldn’t put it down — I knew we should risk it.”

Here at ImmortalMuse.com we’d like to thank Radio New Zealand for taking this risk. We encourage poetry-lovers around the world to listen to the episodes (we’d love your feedback), and hope it will make broadcasters more receptive to poetry productions in the future.

Stuart Devenie

Acclaimed Kiwi actor Stuart Devenie reads the part of narrator, Arcady Robinson

Res Publica tells the story of “seven years and fifty weeks” in the life of Arcady Robinson, an intelligent, gifted, recently married — and recently disillusioned — young poet who one day makes a revolutionary discovery at longitude 175 58′.35E, latitude 36 16′.10S, off the eastern coast of New Zealand.

The poem will air in 11 episodes, with each episode made available for free download on the Radio New Zealand website.

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