Favourite titles

Favourite titles
Whether it is "Redefining literary techniques and devices", "Justifying Papua New Guinea Literature", or "Translating the Bible into Anuki", these offer valuable reading for the paperless student of literature, and indeed the best sort of literary entertainment you can get out of Papua New Guinea. Check them out either on Soaba's Storyboard or The Anuki Country Press.

Sunday, 17 June 2012



...must not the head of the vates be
severed so that he may continue to sing?
Must not the self be destroyed before a
new being can be born?

-          Chant of Saints

for the Villager

When Okonkwo committed suicide
we refused to touch the body
that was impure. Left it to
the vultures and crows carry on
with the Pacification rites
and we drove on to the hills of Taworakawa
and Rewai, where sidelong lofty glances
were cast at the now emptied fields
and at men that grope along the veins
of rivers that flow back. Heard yarns circle
then, as crows do after high savannah fires
above the head of a certain “madding crowd”
and we looked out for signs of appeasement
in the wings of raven sailing the wind
farther across the blue of the morning

Mornings never felt fresher then: sunlight
on ridges, the women gathered: with pots
baskets, and wood: and twigs; and leaves
that in cities once
spoke of villagers betrayed, were gathered
also; at the fires of our offerings –

This poem published upon the request of 50 literature students at the University of Papua New Guinea in protest against the sacking of the Storyboard by the Weekender editor of the National newspaper, the worst of atrocities done against a writer by an individual for no other reason than to express a personal grudge of hatred against that writer. In sacking the Storyboard the editor sacked the soul of the nation.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Parting ways
(Adapted from Parting ways in an upheaval by Jeffrey Febi)

Firmly tucked into mamas’ arms
Gaze of infants into mamas’ eyes
Breathing mamas’ exhaustion

In the belly of an evil Queen
Pregnant in a time of turmoil
With deceit, money and negligence

Listening to mamas’ frantic heart beats
 Hearing mamas’ confused cries
Feeling mamas’ grips loosen

Three idiots they came! And many separated
Parting ways in an upheaval
Each one to own an unmarked watery plot

Yet still dawn undresses the dark
Oh those companions of birds!
Their backs to the scorching sun

When next a sea bird, gull or tern
Sings frantically over the sea; probably
To them that play on the ocean floor

Of this poem Jeffrey Febi said:

On the morning of 30th April, while watching dawn spread its beauty across the sky, I thought it would have been really wonderful to accompany it with the music of the birds and the cry of a baby or child waking up from sleep. Then I remembered those unfortunate families whose children have perished that tragic night aboard MV Rabaul Queen.

Words may not be adequate to express my anger and feeling of disappointment; nevertheless, I found some sort of comfort writing this piece.


The Anuki Country Press found this poem so intriguing that we have decided to have it adapted here for the benefit of our readers. Note the deliberately blurred photo above to go along with the mood of the poem. The photo is in fact a shot of Mrs. Wendy Soaba and child Atticus, taken in 1986.

Friday, 8 June 2012


Photo by Ketsin Robert.
A short terca rima

I hear songs of hope
From across the bay
Focal and true in scope

Keeping all opposition at bay
As villagers gather
For Abel and Igara.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Storyboard's choice of a candidate


This year's general elections has a long list of candidates vying for the 109 seats in parliament.

Storyboard's choice and that of The Anuki Country Press is Jeffrey Febi.

Let us support our writers standing for the elections. It is a good gesture. They mean a lot to us and we must give every support we can.

More on Jeffry Febi's work as time goes on. Good luck Jeff!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

SICK BAY: "Knowing time"

I shall go to the hospital alone
sign the papers and then lapse
into unconsciousness. It shall be
dark in there, but I know
I will be happy.

When I have regained consciousness
I shall ask the nurse for the exact hour
and she will tell me.

There shall be no visitors for me.
Just the in-mates I shall come to know
as colleagues in the other beds.
Someone may come and say a prayer
to a bed or two next to mine
and a stranger will drop
a flower
at the foot of my bed.

The doctor will come and say:
"You won't make it, Paps."
And I'll say: "I know. It's time."

From KWAMRA: a season of harvest