In the hybrid zones, Airini Beautrais

How To Live
Helen Rickerby
Auckland University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781869409050

Ransack
essa may ranapiri
Victoria University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781776562374

Conventional Weapons
Tracey Slaughter
Victoria University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781776562206

In a literary sense, genre is problematic. While it’s convenient to categorise texts for the purposes of libraries, book awards and so on, drawing a line between poetry and fiction, fiction and non-fiction, or poetry and essay is evidently reductive and arguably somewhat pointless. Given that poetry and fiction stem from root words meaning “to make” and “to form”, historical distinctions have been primarily formal, linked to the emergence of these modes at different points in the history of writing. After 60-odd years of poetry being dominated by free verse, in which formal divisions are based on visual more than aural units, and given the perennial ubiquity of prose poetry (something of a dubious term itself), these distinctions appear narrower and less relevant.

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