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Connecting kindred tribes, David Eggleton

Black Marks on the White Page
Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti (eds)
Penguin Random House, $40.00,
ISBN 9780143770299

Billed as a guidebook to the contemporary literature of Oceania, Black Marks on the White Page is not quite that; it’s too eclectic, too much of a hotchpotch for a start, sweeping erratically back and forth across the Pacific to locate, we are told, “the best new and uncollected fiction” generated out of the rolling identity revolution of Pasifika peoples in the 21st century. You could make a very long list of “the best” that is not included. What this anthology is is a sampling: it contains 29 examples of “story-telling” by 25 writers, complemented or contextualised by images of nine artworks by nine artists.

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Posted in Art, Literature, Maori, Non-fiction, Pacific and Short stories

On men of a certain age, John Horrocks

The Conch Trumpet
David Eggleton
Otago University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781877578939

Wonky Optics
Geoff Cochrane
Victoria University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780864739810

Half Dark
Harry Ricketts
Victoria University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780864739841

Feeding the Birds
Kevin Ireland
Steele Roberts, $20.00,
ISBN 9781927242810

The job of reviewing poetry may one day be redundant. A neural-net programme could conceivably learn enough from previous responses to collections of poetry to make critical judgements, even write passable poetry. A large data set would be essential. Harry Ricketts, Geoff Cochrane, Kevin Ireland and David Eggleton have now produced a total of 55 books of poetry, a formidable starting-point even for a computer.

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Pressing on, David Eggleton

On Song: Stories behind New Zealand’s Pop Classics Simon Sweetman Penguin Books, $65.00, ISBN 9780143568162 Any anthology is a work of exclusion, constructed to emphasise or establish a particular narrative. In the case of anthologist Simon Sweetman’s On Song: Stories

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Posted in Music, Non-fiction and Review

Draft 17 anyone? David Eggleton

Dunedin Soundings: Place and Performance Dan Bendrups and Graeme Downes (eds) Otago University Press, $40.00, ISBN 978 877578229   With the possible exception of Chris Knox, the “Dunedin Sound” was never driven by charismatic personalities. Instead, it consisted of a

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Posted in History, Music, Non-fiction and Review

Strip-mines and elegies, Mark Houlahan

Slip Stream Paula Green Auckland University Press, $24.99, ISBN 9781869404628   Crumple Vivienne Plumb Seraph Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780473177171   Time of the Icebergs David Eggleton Otago University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9781877578021   The Radio Room Cilla McQueen Otago University

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

A rather slippery flower, David Eggleton

The Frangipani is Dead: Contemporary Pacific Art in New Zealand Karen Stevenson Huia, $60.00, ISBN 976189693251 “The Frangipani is Dead” is a curious phrase to use as a title for a survey of contemporary Pacific art in New Zealand. Actually,

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction and Review

Poem — David Eggleton

Christchurch Gothic   Summer’s Avon spelt the names of atua in green, and through trees sun shafts dug at dappled lawns, as if to unearth a circuit-board of worm-holes, the universe beneath the labyrinth, the silent presence of mountain shingle

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Slow exposure, Alan Knowles

Into the Light: A History of New Zealand Photography David Eggleton Craig Potton Publishing, $59.99, ISBN 1877333549 A history of New Zealand through photography: at long last the poor cousin of art and literature has crawled out from the black

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Posted in Non-fiction, Photography and Review

Insolent bassists and mad drummers, Mark Amery

Ready to Fly: The Story of New Zealand Rock Music David Eggleton Craig Potton Publishing, $49.95, ISBN 1877333069 I have a confession to make. I’m not much of a reader – at least not in the always-head-in-a-novel kind of a

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Posted in History, Music, Non-fiction and Review

Poem — David Eggleton

The Book Reviewer   His tatty raincoat conceals a country, rolled-up sleeves reveal many wristwatches. He airily waves away rainbows of neckties and pulls a smoke from a dark pocket. But his book-side manner is a corrupt text, for, though

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Posted in Poem
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