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2021 Summer

Literary Journal

This is the fourth issue of The Three Lamps (T3L), an online literary journal from the University of Auckland.

T3Stories features the work of Tracey Sharp, Todd Barrowclough and Russell Boey, while in T3Essays you’ll find creative nonfiction by Olivia Wright, Yashmita Bharat and Angus Smith. In T3Poets we showcase the work of Han Mai Nguyen, Isabelle Johns and Daren Kamali. T3Shorts (of exactly 300 words) are by Jack Remiel Cottrell and Alexandra Stinson. T3Books features excerpts from three recent books by Auckland writers: Fake Baby by Amy McDaid, The Telling Time by P.J. McKay and Taking Pagoda Mountain (By Strategy) by Michael Wilson.

© A woman fast asleep with devil on stomach: Iconographic Collections2021 SummerT3ESSAYS

The Incubus

One night a goblin told me I was going to die. Unusually for me, I awoke on my back, immersed in blue light. My mind had woken up before my body, so all I could do was stare past my open door into the hallway, at the bureau with the…
Angus Smith
March 16, 2022
Olivia Wright. Uncle Alan and motorbike, Reeves Road.2021 SummerT3ESSAYS

Reeves Road

The kauri tree didn’t last long. They scattered Alan’s ashes on a rosebush at Purewa, but Dad wanted a gravestone, or a plaque – something permanent, closer to home. Across the road from Howick Fire Station, leaves withered up into smoky carcasses, blew away with the wind. The soil, Dad…
Olivia Wright
March 16, 2021
Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash2021 SummerT3ESSAYS


They buried my brother before I was born. Four years, nine months and twenty-eight days is the space between his last and my first breath. I was flesh, a beating heart, chubby-cheeked with a permanent frown, an extension of his name, presumably cocooned in cotton-candy pink at Lautoka hospital’s maternity…
Yashmita Bharat
March 16, 2021
Sea-spray Over the Rocks, 1907, by Fred Brockett. Purchased 1957. Te Papa2021 SummerT3POETS

Three Poems

Egg Timers this basement   of dreams             distorting          contorting                     bloating                          sand               …
Han Mai Nguyen
March 5, 2021
Our first xmas at 'Woodside'. December 25, 1916 [1914-1917] Levin, by Leslie Adkin. Te Papa2021 SummerT3POETS

Three Poems

Bedtime Story For Grown-Ups There’s a snake that I ate. It’s a winding black mamba laying eggs in my gut.   I used to go running the kind where my hair was salt-crusted and my hands full and wet dropping pipi shells all down the shoreline   Recently, I’ve gone…
Isabelle Johns
March 4, 2021
© Suva, Fiji, 1920s, Fiji, by Harry Gardiner. Te Papa (PS.002824)2021 SummerT3POETS

Three Poems

Under the mango tree This is Lovers' Spot 12 o'clock on the dot Every weekend night   Pandanus mat spread on tarpaulin Fiji Bitter bottles cling together Whispers of Taki mai carried by the night draught   Old village tales entails Shallow promises - deep secrets and lies All disappear…
Daren Kamali
March 4, 2021
2021 SummerT3BOOKS

Excerpt from The Telling Time

Luisa — 1989, Yugoslavia The no-frills train pulls into Florina station. The simple wooden building is scuffed at the edges and spattered with graffiti. A lone guard paces the platform. Even the tracks have reduced to a single line. ‘Jeez, check out the station,’ says Bex. ‘What a dump.’ ‘Give…
PJ McKay
February 21, 2021
2021 SummerT3BOOKS

Excerpt from Fake Baby

Jaanvi Gilfillan needed to go to the supermarket. The fridge was empty in a western-world kind of way, the freezer overloaded with six- month-old breast milk in thin plastic bags, and the pantry contained only staples that couldn’t quite make a meal: flour, cumin, some weevil-ridden oats and a torn…
Amy McDaid
February 21, 2021
© Fleischl house and property in Karori, Wellington, 1949, Wellington, by Eric Lee-Johnson. Purchased 1997 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. © Te Papa. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (O.011300)2021 SummerT3STORIES

Slip Sliding

You’ve just blown back into town and you’re at The Salty Dog this one sweaty night with your best mate Jonesy and a few other guys you haven’t seen in a while. Jonesy, he’s been around longer than anybody. He’s a big lad, both broad and tall. Coloured ink writhes…
Tracey Sharp
February 16, 2021
© Photo by Cherry Lin on Unsplash2021 SummerT3STORIES


4. Will, a Samoan man prone to bouts of obsessiveness, made a vow: today, this very Sunday, he’d remove himself from the internet. For most of the week, he’d argued with someone about the correct way to make palusami in the comments section of an article on Facebook. Will was…
Todd Barrowclough
February 16, 2021
© Dominion Day Carnival, 25 September 1907, by Fred Brockett. Purchased 1957. Te Papa (B.027793)2021 SummerT3STORIES

Nineteen Seconds

Clear. Sometimes I have this nightmare that I can breathe underwater. I don’t realise immediately. I hold my breath as the cold gnaws and I kick down. Below me his ankle circles in languid orbit, brushing on tangleweed. Deeper. Breath disappears with the last beams of light, but I don’t…
Russell Boey
February 15, 2021
Poster, 'If you must travel', Early 1940s, London, by Henry Hildesley Ltd., H.M. Stationery Office. Gift of Mr C H Andrews, 1967. Te Papa (GH015847)2021 SummerT3SHORTS

Auckland Shorts II

They probably play the viola   Kia Ora Students, University administration has noticed higher-than-normal numbers of time travellers appearing this semester. The Vice-Chancellor’s Office would like to take this opportunity to reassure students that Everything is Fine. The Head of Department for Physics, Dr Amanda Wu, is keeping us informed…
Jack Remiel Cottrell
February 10, 2021
Storm, Wanaka, 1920s-1930s, Dunedin, by George Chance. Purchased 1999 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa2021 SummerT3SHORTS

Auckland Shorts

Land of the Rising Sun   We thought Honolulu had been nuked, as if that could happen without at least a twitter feud first.   Wind pinked our six faces off the back of the ship we called ‘a boat’ to the dismay of the loyal crew. The mushroom cloud…
Alexandra Marie Stinson
February 10, 2021