Blog Archives

Jewels and binoculars, Murray Bramwell

Blood Ties: New and Selected Poems 1963–2016
Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Canterbury University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781927145883

Dylan Junkie
Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Mākaro Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780994137807

It is a harsh fact that we live in a world where there is far more published poetry than people willing or able to read it. Over the past 50 years, poetry has ceased to be a common currency. It is less often a core component of literary studies in either high-school or university curricula. For most people, poetry has become esoteric and increasingly formidable. Few nowadays have ever read more than a handful of poems, let alone committed lines to memory. There are many reasons for this. A significant one is that since the 1960s some of the best poetry has gone to live in Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song”; the canon is now plugged into the body electric. Of course, lyrics still matter for people, but only when encased in melody and beats.

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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Lucky to survive, Nicholas Butler

Greece Crete Stalag Dachau: A New Zealand Soldier’s Encounters with Hitler’s Army
Jack Elworthy
Awa Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781927249123

The Lost Pilot: A Memoir
Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9780143568766

There is a void at the heart of both these WWII memoirs. In Greece Crete Stalag Dachau, it is the time Jack Elworthy spent in Stalag VIIIB, four of his five years at war but given just eight pages in the book, a time he’s tried to forget. In Holman’s book, it is the space left by his father, lost first to the Navy, then to the war, and later to drink, gambling, prison and, finally, cancer.

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

The ties that bind, Jane Westaway

The Lie That Settles Peter Farrell Ocean Books, $35.00, ISBN 978192721708 The Lost Pilot Jeffrey Paparoa Holman Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9781742539201 A History of Silence Lloyd Jones Penguin, $38.00, ISBN 9780143569473 “The cradle rocks above an abyss,” writes Nabokov in

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

When worlds collide, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

Guns and Utu: A Short History of the Musket Wars Matthew Wright Penguin Books, $42.00, ISBN 9780143565659 From the time the first accounts of New Zealand’s native inhabitants began to reach Europe, Maori pugnacity and military prowess have featured high

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Posted in History, Māori, Non-fiction, Review, War

Truth eating, Harry Ricketts

Inside Outside Brian Turner Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780864736536   Coming Ashore Peter Bland Steele Roberts, $19.99, ISBN 9781877577499   Fly Boy Jeffrey Paparoa Holman Steele Roberts, $19.99, ISBN 97818544125   “I seek to honour/the truculent/genesis of living,” states

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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

The unhistoric story, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

Tupaia: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook’s Polynesian Navigator Joan Druett Random House, $55.00, ISBN 9781869793869   One of the great virtues of Joan Druett’s style of historical writing in this extensive reassessment of Tupaia’s role in Pacific history, is

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Mist and myth, Julia Millen

Best of Both Worlds: The Story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau Jeffrey Paparoa Holman Penguin Books, $40.00, ISBN 9780143008422 Until the early 1960s the source for almost everything we learned at school and read in The School Journal about the

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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review
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