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“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

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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”.

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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).

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Poem — Emma Neale

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Posted in Literature and Poetry

Various elsewheres, Michael Hulse

Degrees of Separation Laurence Fearnley Penguin, $28.00, ISBN 0143020579 Relative Strangers Emma Neale Vintage, $27.99, ISBN 1869417828 Work in Progress Paul Thomas Black Swan, $27.99, ISBN 1869418255 Shanghai Boy Stevan Eldred-Grigg Vintage, $27.99, ISBN 1869417933   If I didn’t know

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