Blog Archives

Keeping it in the family, Tina Shaw

Necessary Secrets
Greg McGee
Upstart Press, $38.00,
ISBN 9781988516639

Loving Sylvie
Elizabeth Smither
Allen and Unwin, $37.00,
ISBN 9781988547114

Two recently-published novels explore inter-generational stories, yet there couldn’t be two more different treatments.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Paradoxes of knowledge and knowing, Nicholas Wright

Dinah Hawken (drawings by John Edgar)
The Holloway Press
ISBN 9780986461880

Ruby Duby Du
Elizabeth Smither (Kathryn Madill illus)
The Cold Hub Press
ISBN 9780473268305

Gathering Evidence
Caoilinn Hughes
Victoria University Press
ISBN 9780864739261

On opening Dinah Hawken’s latest volume of poetry, one is struck by its materiality: for a volume of such spare poems, it is a heavy book, a beautiful thing. This sense of the material is evident also in the impressions made by the letterpress-printed words in the pulp of the cut pages. Nostalgia materialises, one might say, in the page’s imperfect absorption of the ink, suggestive of a saturated past all but lost except for its tracing in these spectral letter-figures that, ruin-like (or like the runes of John Edgar’s accompanying stone rubbings), evoke the fullness of the world and all its constituting otherness through their very imperfection.

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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Late style, Michael Hulse

The Yellow Buoy C K Stead Auckland University Press, $28.00, ISBN 9781869407353 The Blue Coat Elizabeth Smither Auckland University Press, $25.00, ISBN 9781869407360 Collected Poems 1956-2011  Peter Bland Steele Roberts, $46.00, ISBN 9781877577994 These writers are past their three-score-and-ten –

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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Raw surfaces of a mind, Elizabeth Smither

Your Unselfish Kindness: Robin Hyde’s Autobiographical Writings Mary Edmond-Paul (ed) Otago University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781877578212   It’s natural in a densely-packed book to look at the photographs first. Robin Hyde was intensely interested in houses and rooms and their

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Posted in Autobiography, Non-fiction, Review

Putting yourself on the line, Christine Johnson

The Commonplace Book: A Writer’s Journey Through Quotations Elizabeth Smither Auckland University Press, $34.99, ISBN 9781869404765 How the Land Lies: Of Longing and Belonging Pat White Victoria University Press, $35.00, ISBN 9780864736383 “[A] memoir is how one remembers one’s own

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Tea and sympathy, Paula Morris

Lola Elizabeth Smither Penguin Books, $30.00, ISBN 9780143203650 Elizabeth Smither’s last novel was called Different Kinds of Pleasure, and its title offers a clue to the approach she takes in her fiction, and also to what she expects of her

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Poem – Elizabeth Smither

Restaurant, stars We had dined; we came out. The stars were above, high and bright. ‘Look …’ someone started but we started the car instead. In their autumn positions the stars – one noticed the displacement of a constellation –

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Snapshots, Christine Johnston

The Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 4 Fiona Farrell (ed),  Vintage, $34.99, ISBN 9781869418779 The Girl Who Proposed: New Short Stories Elizabeth Smither Cape Catley, $29.99, ISBN 9781877340130 Here and There, Now and Then Isa Moynihan Earl of Seacliff Art

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

Pebbles at the window, Elizabeth Smither

Elizabeth Smither urges writers to recognise the rewards of rejection.  I once spoke to a writer who assured me he had never had a rejection slip. Years later I met an editor who told me he had received frequent submissions

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Poem – Elizabeth Smither

Naming a telescope (for David Hill)   What to call your new telescope? Presuming like a ship it must be female though its shape suggests otherwise and the way you aim it definitely male the fiddling to set it up,

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Posted in Poem
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