Sue Wootton


When I emailed Sue to say John Holmes was one of our exhibition artists and he wanted  to include her poem in his work she replied, Hi Ruth, I’m chuffed that John Holmes would like to work with Turf Wars. He does exquisite things.

I opened Sue’s email after arriving home from a busy day at work so Dear Superwoman was exactly what I needed. I immediately claimed it for you readers, so sit back, and enjoy.

Sue Wootton is a Dunedin writer and poet whose most recent publication is the short story collection, The Happiest Music on Earth (Rosa Mira Books).  Other publications include the children’s story, Cloudcatcher, and three collections of poetry. A handset portfolio of new and selected poems is forthcoming from Canberra-based letterset artist Caren Florance of Ampersand Duck Press.  Further information about Sue is available on her website

Favourite place to write? The room-of-my-own at the back of my house. Trees, birdsong, harbour; the sea and an ever-mobile sky…lovely.

Dear Superwoman

I am an ordinary tired woman, Superwoman, and I
want to know how you do it. Not just the flying
(though that too, I’d like to fly) but you always look so  trim
(well I guess flying tightens the abs) but what hints
can you give me Superwoman, how to be lithe, buxom,
unlined, kick-ass drop-dead gorgeous, oh yeah, and smart too.

Oh, there you are Superwoman: in the Board Room
wearing a tailored suit. And the meeting drags on.
What a view from the Board Room, Superwoman!
See the sky darkening over the city, and the city
flicking its lights on. Tell me, how do you sit at the polished table
while the meeting drags on? What about your kitchen table
with the morning newspaper still strewn on it, its galaxy
of toast crumbs – that whole milky way. Can’t you hear
your children’s tummies rumble? Can’t you feel their hunger?
The sky’s fully dark now. Don’t you want to close
the curtains, turn on the heating, read them a book?

Ah, and there you are Superwoman, at the supermarket,
briskly buying brisket for your basket. And over there,
at the movies, Superwoman – no, in  the movies – oh,
and funding the movie, and moving and shaking and –
dear Superwoman, who’s got the time, especially with the brisket
defrosting and the children hammering the table
and the boardroom meeting droning on and

I’m so sorry Superwoman, I fell asleep while I was writing this.

There you are Superwoman, in your study
writing your novel, and in the bedroom
adjusting your g-string for Superman
and on the sofa hearing the kids’ spelling
and there you are Superwoman
doing 60 laps of the pool before breakfast and practicing Italian
for your forthcoming super-gourmet super-tour of Tuscany
and mending a hole in the brisket and hammering
a hole in the boardroom table and wallpapering the kitchen sink
and putting the full stop on your MBA thesis
and graduating in a fur-lined cape – oh, there
you are Superwoman, dear Superwoman. Oh dear dear,
dear, are those tears? Ah, super-compassion, of course.
Orphans and dolphins, Antarctica and Africa.

Dear Superwoman, drop your hints in my hint tray
as you sprint away. Spirulina, Superwoman, is it that?

Sue is chairing our Four Poets event on September 15. Click on The Exhibition and Events to read all about this if it’s NEWS to you. When I next have a cafe catch up with Sue  I’ll be looking skywards and have a spirulina drink at the ready!

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