Blog Archives

A swarm of poets, Airini Beautrais 

Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems
Philip Temple and Emma Neale (eds)
Otago University Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9780947522469

 

New Zealand poetry in English has a long and complex tradition of politically-charged work: from colonial balladeers, through 20th-century heavyweights like Allen Curnow (as himself and as Whim Wham) and James K Baxter, to more recent poets including Bill Sewell, Robert Sullivan, Dinah Hawken and Hinemoana Baker. Despite this tradition, and perhaps in line with a neo-liberal mood-shift towards individualism and consumerism, an attitude has existed in recent years that there isn’t much political content in our poetry, or that it doesn’t belong there. Sullivan, in his 2010 sequence Cassino: City of Martyrs, bluntly calls such an attitude out in the lines “New Zealand / and its official status quo disdain / for political verse as if it was anything but.” Appearing against this historical and contemporary backdrop, Philip Temple’s and Emma Neale’s Manifesto anthology is a timely and welcome project.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

“The push and pull of parenting”, Catriona Ferguson

Billy Bird Emma Neale Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9780143770053 Emma Neale’s sixth novel, Billy Bird, probes the life of a troubled family – Liam, Iris and eight-year-old Billy. They are all reeling from a series of tragedies that have befallen their

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Prodding the boundaries, Janet Hughes

Work 
Sarah Jane Barnett,
Hue & Cry Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780473333331

Tender Machines 
Emma Neale
Otago University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9781927322345

Soundings of Hellas 
John Davidson,
Steele Roberts, $20.00, ISBN 9781927242957

Looking out to Sea
Kevin Ireland
Steele Roberts, $20.00, ISBN 9781927242926

I’m looking at another pile of rich, rewarding collections of poetry, looking for commonalities so that I can do them some kind of justice in the allotted space. I see that Emma Neale glosses her title by quoting two poets who likened a poem to a machine. Don Paterson is deprecatory: a poem is “just a little machine for remembering itself”; while William Carlos Williams throws the possibilities wide open with another craftily small claim: “A poem is a small (or large) machine made of words”.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

As if shadows could whisper, Emma Neale

Dear Neil Roberts
Airini Beautrais
Victoria University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780864739735

How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes
Chris Tse
Auckland University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781869408183

Both collections under review here act as witness to politically charged historic events. One pivots on a suicide, one on a murder. Despite the way each book edges towards psychological release, the deaths of Joe Kum Yung and Neil Roberts unsettle still, as if shadows could whisper: “Listen: / there’s a hunger in the air. It’s reciting prophecies” (‘(Static, Spool)’, How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes).

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Poem — Emma Neale

(more…)

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Poem

Green thoughts in green shades, Hugh Roberts

The Truth Garden Emma Neale Otago University Press, $30.00,  ISBN 9781877578250 The Bengal Engine’s Mango Afterglow Geoff Cochrane Victoria University Press, $25.00,  ISBN 9780864737618 Warm Auditorium James Brown Victoria University Press, $28.00,  ISBN 9780864737649 From Manoa to a Ponsonby Garden

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Something nobody counted on, Murray Bramwell

Travesty  Mike Johnson (graphic art, Darren Sheehan) Titus Books, $39.00, ISBN 9781877441134   Fosterling Emma Neale Vintage, $29.99, ISBN 9781869794859   Wulf Hamish Clayton Penguin Books, $30.00, ISBN 9780143206491   Like many futuristic nightmares, the naming of the nihilistic Gaia

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Poem — Emma Neale

Satellite Our six-year-old watches me dress as we talk about the planets, where rockets have landed, where people can’t go, how the surface of some distant Earth is unknowable at the moment and he frowns and stares with a mathematician’s

See more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Poem

Words for music perhaps, Emma Neale

Museum of Lost Days Raewyn Alexander Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, $15.00,  ISBN 9781869421045 My Iron Spine Helen Rickerby HeadworX, $24.99, ISBN 9780473135966 Beauty of the Badlands Cliff Fell Victoria University Press, $25.00,  ISBN 9780864735836 Get Some Sonja Yelich Auckland

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Movement is all, Paula Green

Magnetic South   Sue Wootton Steele Roberts, $24.99, ISBN 9781877448232 Spark   Emma Neale Steele Roberts, $24.99, ISBN 9781877448195 The Propaganda Poster Girl   Amy Brown Victoria University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9780864735744 The World’s Fastest Flower   Charlotte Simmonds Victoria

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature and Poetry
Search
Search by category