Blog Archives

Jewels and binoculars, Murray Bramwell

Blood Ties: New and Selected Poems 1963–2016
Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Canterbury University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781927145883

Dylan Junkie
Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Mākaro Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780994137807

It is a harsh fact that we live in a world where there is far more published poetry than people willing or able to read it. Over the past 50 years, poetry has ceased to be a common currency. It is less often a core component of literary studies in either high-school or university curricula. For most people, poetry has become esoteric and increasingly formidable. Few nowadays have ever read more than a handful of poems, let alone committed lines to memory. There are many reasons for this. A significant one is that since the 1960s some of the best poetry has gone to live in Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song”; the canon is now plugged into the body electric. Of course, lyrics still matter for people, but only when encased in melody and beats.

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Theatre for life Lisa Warrington

Rebellious Mirrors: Community-based Theatre in Aotearoa/New Zealand Paul Maunder Canterbury University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781927145456 Twenty New Zealand Playwrights Michelanne Forster and Vivienne Plumb Playmarket, $40.00, ISBN 9780908607471 Though differing in approach, tone and content, there are strong connections between

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Plays and Sociology

A quality of incision, Megan Dunn

Lateral Inversions: The Prints of Barry Cleavin  Melinda Johnston Canterbury University Press, $55.00, ISBN 9781927145470 Lateral Inversions: The Prints of Barry Cleavin contains over 120 colour plates and is a beautifully produced book that affords serious consideration to Barry Cleavin’s

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction and Review

How to live in the woods, Don Aimer

Outsiders: Stories from the Fringe of New Zealand Society Gerard Hindmarsh Craig Potton Publishing, $35.00, ISBN 9781877517723 Christchurch Crimes 1850-75: Scandal and Skulduggery in Port and Town Geoffrey W Rice Canterbury University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9781927145395 Google maps don’t have

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review and Sociology

Telling stories Catharina van Bohemen

Singing Historian: A Memoir Edmund Bohan Canterbury University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9781927145319 Sarah Vaughan Is not my Mother: A Memoir of Madness  Maryjane Thomson Awa Press, $35.00, ISBN 9781877551802 Where the Rainbow Fell Down: A New Zealand Memoir Lynette Robinson

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

Cracking up, David Cohen

Taming the Tiger: A Personal Encounter with Manic Depression Michael Morrissey Polygraphia, $39.00, ISBN 9781877332968   Sing No Sad Songs Sandra Arnold Canterbury University Press, $35.00, ISBN 9781927145067   Michael Morrissey’s account of his long encounter with mental affliction begins

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Posted in Autobiography, Memoir, Non-fiction and Review

A certain political autism, Simon Upton

Palmer: The Parliamentary Years Raymond Richards Canterbury University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781877257926   For Geoffrey Palmer, politics was a serious business. It was about legislating for a better society and demanded the serious-minded attention of elected politicians. This sense of

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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review

Public work, private life, Grace Millar

Looking For Answers: A Life of Elsie Locke Maureen Birchfield Canterbury University Press, $69.95, ISBN 9781877257803 Writing a biography of someone with broad interests and a long and well-documented life is a real challenge. Lives are messy and sprawl without

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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction and Review

Paddling on, Harvey Molloy

A Canoe in Midstream: Poems New and Old Apirana Taylor Canterbury University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9781877257797 This year I taught a class of bright year nine students an introductory unit on poetry based on Jewels in the Water, an anthology

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Something out of Dante’s Inferno, David Grant

Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War  Mark Derby (ed) Canterbury University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781877257711 For the great bulk of New Zealanders between 1936 and 1939 the Spanish Civil War was like any other civil war; it

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review and War
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