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Prodding the boundaries, Janet Hughes

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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A lonely Orpheus, Liam McIlvanney

The Snake-Haired Muse: James K Baxter and Classical Myth Geoffrey Miles, John Davidson and Paul Millar Victoria University Press, $50.00, ISBN 9780864736581   “What happens is either meaningless to me, or it is mythology.” Though James K Baxter’s vatic pronouncement

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Posted in Literature, Non-fiction, Poetry, Review

The commonplace sublime, John Davidson

The Commonplace Odes Ian Wedde Auckland University Press, $19.95, ISBN 1869402480 The Commonplace Odes is Ian Wedde’s first collection of  poetry to appear since The Drummer (1993), and to a significant extent it owes its existence to the Roman poet

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Stead among the Romans, John Davidson

The Right Thing C K Stead Auckland University Press, $19.95, ISBN 1 86940 221 9   On the dust jacket of his 1972 collection Crossing the Bar can be read the words: “C K Stead is not a prolific poet;  this

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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review
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