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Full fathom five, Kevin Ireland

My Father’s Island: A Memoir Adam Dudding Victoria University Press, $35.00 ISBN 9781776560820 When Edmund Gosse pioneered a new category of personal, interrogating biography, with Father and Son (1907), he framed painful questions and set down intimate dilemmas that won

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction 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”.

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

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

Good returns, Cilla McQueen

Table Talk Kevin Ireland Cape Catley, $25.99, ISBN 9781877340246 Africa Alistair Paterson Puriri Press, $36.00, ISBN 9780908943364 The Lakes of Mars Chris Orsman Auckland University Press, $24.99, ISBN 9781869404086 The Worm in the Tequila Geoff Cochrane Victoria University Press, $25.00,

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Intimations of mortality, Michael Hulse

Blame Vermeer Vincent O’Sullivan Victoria University Press, $25.00,  ISBN 9780864735515 The Black River C K Stead  Auckland University Press, $25.00,  ISBN 978869403850 Sol Andrew Johnston Victoria University Press, $25.00,  ISBN 9789864735492 The Ponies Bernadette Hall Victoria University Press, $25.00,  ISBN

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

The ones that didn’t get away, David Hill

How to Catch a Fish Kevin Ireland Awa Press, $24.99, ISBN 0958253862 How to Drink a Glass of Wine John Saker Awa Press, $24.99, ISBN 095823582X Discussing Aldous Huxley’s On the Margin in his 2002 biography of that now untrendy

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Posted in Essays, Non-fiction and Review

One-night stands, Christine Johnston

Next to Gods: A Cleaner’s Story  Don Franks Four Winds Press, $14.95, ISBN 0958251487 On Getting Old  Kevin Ireland Four Winds Press, $14.95, ISBN 0958251479 On Going to the Movies Peter Wells Four Winds Press, $14.95, ISBN 0958251460 I have

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Posted in Essays, Non-fiction and Review

Cantankerous, laconic and weird, Margot Schwass

Getting Away With It Kevin Ireland Hazard Press, $29.99, ISBN 1877270792 Butler’s Ringlet Laurence Fearnley Penguin, $28.00, ISBN 0143019198 A Man Who Eats The Heart Josh Greenberg Victoria University Press, $29.95, ISBN 0864734824 Together, these three novels suggest that the

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Posted in Fiction, Literature and Review

Here’s looking at you, kid, John O’Connor

Gallery: A Selection Mark Pirie Salt Publishing, $29.95, ISBN 1876857242 Toku Tinihanga: Selected Poems 1982-2002 Michael O’Leary HeadworX, $26.95, ISBN 0473090066 Walking the Land Kevin Ireland Hazard Press, $21.95, ISBN 1877270520 We live in the age of celebrity. This has

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review

Falling on his feet, Patrick Evans

Backwards to Forwards: A Memoir Kevin Ireland Vintage, $29.95, ISBN 1869414993 Some time in 1986 (I think it was), Kevin Ireland turned up at the University of Canterbury English Department as writer-in-residence. What returns to the memory is a series

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