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With each song there was something extra, something that takes you into a new world which perhaps can’t be written down on a score

William (Bill) Direen is best known as a poet and musician who has combined his talents in numerous publications and performances in New Zealand and overseas. Direen’s collections of poetry include, Inklings (1988), Crappings (1993), and New Sea Land (2005). He has also written scripts and lyrics for theatrical productions, and a wide range of his fiction has appeared in literary journals and magazines. Bill Direen continues to publish across genres, including poetry, short and long fiction, theatre, and music. (NZ Book Council)

In this Cultural Icons programme William and good friend Scott Hamilton discuss William’s early life growing up in Christchurch (where he set up the small alternative theatre-gallery; Blue Ladder Theatre); his literary and musical influences including the languages he has learnt, French, German and Latin; his experiences as a ‘intermediary citizen’ moving between New Zealand, Germany and France, where he now lives. They also discuss Percutio, the international journal William founded and edits:

“The aim of Percutio is to publish work in its language of creation so that each contribution may gain meaning from and offer meaning to surrounding works –be they drawings, photo-essays, meditations, extracts from writing-in-progress, travel notes, transcriptions or poetry. This “trans-cultural” issue draws from the work of historians, poets, painters and researchers whom I have come across in New Zealand, Germany and France. Where possible, translations accompany the original texts. I wish to thank everyone who took the time to provide their own translations and those who took part in the collaborative task. It is hoped that Percutio, in partnership with Titus Books, will provide a useful and encouraging platform”.


William’s most recent publication ‘Devonport: A Diary’ launches The Signalman’s House series, published by Holloway Press, which celebrates the work of writers who have been awarded a fellowship at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport.

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