The Incubator talks to the people behind the Poetry Incubator: Dhaivat Mehta, Freddie Buijin and Hella Bauerwhich. The Poetry Incubator had its inaugural meeting last month. Seventeen people, from high-school student to over-70, turned up to share their love of poetry by reading, reciting or singing their own or others' words, enjoying the company, snacks, wine and encouragement over two hours on a late-summer evening

Is there still room for poetry in the modern world?


You could ask the same question about love and intimacy - yes, yes and yes. Poetry will always have a place as long as we exist, it may adapt and evolve, like language itself. I think right now we are in the visual age. Poetry has long been combined with music in song lyrics.


Is poetry for old people and weirdos only?


YES, absolutely!


I've come across people who think that poetry is still reserved for some kind of "elite''. And that is certainly not the case. Nor do poems need to adhere to any particular structure ... which may also be a misconception. Poetry comes in many forms, each one is unique to their writer.

Poetry will always have a place as long as we exist, it may adapt and evolve, like language itself. I think right now we are definitely dealing with the visual age however, and something can be poetic, without being poetry.

You are Hella Bauer, Dhaivat Mehta and Fred Buijin, using poetry, how do you describe yourself?
Fred: "A man harassed by indolent ideas and stubborn women."
Dhaivat: "I am the anomaly."
Hella: I'm an accidental poet - I've been introduced to poetry by my creative writing tutor, who said "if you can write poetry you can write anything". I love how poems present a snapshot, situations and emotions are expressed in a few well selected words.

How did the three if you connect and how did the idea of the incubator come about?
Hella: We connected through the Incubator, when I discussed the option of starting a poetry night with Simone (Anderson) she was all supportive and facilitated our connection. Coming from Nelson, which has a well-established Nelson Poets live. I've loved the monthly meetings that allow for inspiration, new ideas and connections, and am delighted that the Incubator provides the space and community to create something new in Tauranga.
Dhaivat: I went to a poetry recital where Fred was performing, sometime in 2013 @ the TGA Art Gallery, so was great to see him again, I met Hella through the INC's "Writing Incubator" initiative, however, I have performed at the incubator before (on numerous occasions), so was honoured (once again) to be a part of their offshoot poetry initiative.


What attracts you to writing poetry?
Fred: Poetry allows me to express thoughts and feelings that I struggle to articulate in any other way.
Dhaivat: Someone once told me that poetry is the language of God. If that's the case then I am definitely a believer. Can't exactly say what attracts me to it per se ... other than the absolute freedom of expression I feel when I am writing.
Hella: Poetry is the language of emotion, a whole world is expressed in few words. Ernest Hemingway conveys unbearable grief in six words: For sale, baby shoes, never worn.
If you had to choose only one, who would be your favourite poet, what would be your favourite line of a poem?
Fred: Line: Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free - Leonard Cohen.
Dhaivat: Poet: Jim Morrison. Poem: Celebration of the Lizard by Jim Morrison & The Doors. Line: I had a splitting headache, from which the future's made - from The Ghost Song.
Hella: My favourites change depending on the day and how I feel. Billy Collins, an American Poet Laureate, is definitely a favourite for his sense of humour and clear perception. His poem the trouble with poetry contains all that is weird and wonderful about reading and writing poetry. This is closely followed by his poem Monday. Favourite Line: Walking along Papamoa beach, the line how many windows do you need to see the sea pops into my mind. In one poetic line describe poetry.
Dhaivat: "Poetry is the music of words."
Hella: Archibald MacLeish said "a poem should not mean but be."

* The next meeting of the Poetry Incubator is on Tuesday, 26th of April 26, from 7-9 pm at the Incubator in the Historic Village in 17th Ave. If you have any questions, contact Hella at