Earnest but elusive, Hannah Newport-Watson

Under Glass
Gregory Kan
Auckland University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781869408916

It’s common to talk about the “emotional landscape” of a book. Gregory Kan’s second poetry collection Under Glass transforms that figure of speech into something more – yet not entirely – literal. A series of prose poems unfold in a landscape described as if it were a real place, with a river, a “colossal jungle” and ground that is “dry and sandy”. We move cinematically through the landscape – to a house, to the coast, to a lighthouse like a “tiny finger thrust up against the horizon”. It is an ominous, searching journey into uncharted territory reminiscent of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which Kan cites as a key source of inspiration.

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