Friday, March 02, 2012
The tyranny of distance
Bill Manhire is leaving the IIML at the end of this year, and his job has just been advertised.
In an interview for the US journal Shenandoah, poet and Fulbright Scholar Lesley Wheeler http://thecavethehive.wordpress.com/asked him for his thoughts about the future of the IIML.
“LW: One last question about the IIML. You have announced that you’re retiring at the end of 2012. What qualities would you like to see in the next director? What challenges and opportunities do you foresee for the Institute in its second decade?
BM: I guess the person needs to be a first-rate writer, with maybe some ability to move across genres. Someone who is very well read in contemporary literature, and doesn’t just “get up” a knowledge of New Zealand writers for a job application. Someone who can talk well about fiction and poetry and theater and film but isn’t lost to bombast. Someone who likes the fact that the code for all our courses is CREW. I’ve always attributed my apparent success as a teacher to my early training as bartender. Maybe that should also be a prerequisite for the job.
As for the Institute, I hope it can remain small and fairly independent—part of the university, but not lost inside some larger academic entity.
Perhaps more partnerships—or just friendships—with similar programs in the USA, the UK and Australia would be good, too. No one likes to say so, but the tyranny of distance is still fairly tyrannical.”
Bill Manhire photo above - DomPost