Blog Archives

In command of his talent, Lydia Wevers

The Ballad of Fifty-one  Bill Sewell HeadworX, $19.95, ISBN 0473092540 A couple of years ago I wrote a favourable review of Bill Sewell’s long poem Erebus (1999). He rang and thanked me after he read it; part of what he…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Writing us up, Tom Brooking

Country of Writing: Travel Writing and New Zealand, 1809-1900 Lydia Wevers Victoria University Press, $39.95, ISBN 186940271S New Zealand’s extreme isolation has always made it 
attractive to travellers. As the most remote destination on the globe it has always held…
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Posted in History, Literature, Non-fiction, Review

Out of the picture, Lydia Wevers

Lady Travellers: The Tourists of Early New Zealand  Bee Dawson Penguin Books, $39.95, ISBN 0141004150 Lady Travellers is a successor to Bee Dawson’s Lady Painters, which appeared in 1999, and makes me wonder if there’s a series planned – Lady…
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Posted in Gender, History, Non-fiction, Review

Erebus in the frame, Lydia Wevers

Erebus: a poem Bill Sewell Hazard Press, $21.95, ISBN 1 877161 46 2 Is Erebus one of those events like Gallipoli, a bloodied trench, an oil stain in the white wastes of our forgetting? Like most people I remember where…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

“Plant imperialism”, Lydia Wevers

Lady Painters: the flower painters of early New Zealand Bee Dawson Penguin, $69.95, ISBN 0 670 88651 3 In 1981 the Royal Commonwealth Society disposed of 40 “exquisite” watercolours, found bound into a volume of New Zealand Company papers entitled…
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Posted in Art, History, Non-fiction, Review

Mucking in, Bill Sewell

Travelling to New Zealand  ed Lydia Wevers Oxford University Press, $59.95, ISBN 0195584112   It was literally the sort of pub where the conversation stops when a stranger walks in. Only there were just three customers, plus the proprietor, in…
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Posted in Essays, History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Light that fire, Lydia Wevers

Big Smoke: New Zealand Poems 1960-1975 eds Alan Brunton, Murray Edmond, Michele Leggott Auckland University Press, $49.95, ISBN 869402308 A thick black-and-white book with a beautiful cover illustration by Patrick Hanly taken from the second issue of Freed, Big Smoke…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Mapping the citadel, Lydia Wevers

The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature in English Roger Robinson and Nelson Wattie (eds) Oxford University Press, $79.95 ISBN 0 19558348 5 The publication of this book should have been timed for the millennium. If there is going to…
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Posted in Language, Non-fiction, Review

Energy, compost and mulch, Lydia Wevers

Just Another Art Movement. It’s a cunning phrase, suggesting a knowing self-deprecation but also the tiny beginnings from which the noble bush of a future literary landscape might grow.Something has already grown, as I look at the pile of JAAMs…
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Posted in Literature, Review

Very carefully sidelong postmodernism, Lydia Wevers

Songs Of My Life Bill Manhire Godwit Publishing, $24.95, ISBN 0 99008877 82 x I don’t think there’s any New Zealand writer who is as unanimously applauded as Bill Manhire. The inside cover of Songs of My Life is filled…
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Posted in Literature, Review, Short stories
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