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Personal freight, Elizabeth Crayford

Wild Like Me
Elizabeth Nannestad
Victoria University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780864738813

One Human in Height
Rachel O’Neill
Hue and Cry Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780473257569

Other Animals
Therese Lloyd
Victoria University Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780864738820

Dark Sparring
Selina Tusitala Marsh
Auckland University Press, $28.00,
ISBN 9781869407865

Wild Like Me is Elizabeth Nannestad’s third book, published after a 17-year hiatus. If He’s a Good Dog He’ll Swim appeared in 1996, and Jump was joint winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry in 1986. Born in Auckland in 1956, Nannestad, according to the cover notes, “worked as a forensic psychiatrist, then became a homeschooling mother. Now redundant.” This book charts the territory of the empty nest, an intensely felt rite of passage that alternates between grief and a new-won freedom. Thus, in “That Creepy Old Woman Over There”, the protagonist longs for the touch of “a warm hand”, but more than anything else she longs for “my one child near”. Meticulously observed flowers, insects, birds and domestic animals become metaphors for transience, loss and the departed child; the absent butterflies in the first poem, whose beauty went unremarked, leave “only the flinty sunlight / it’s colder, the lavender is plainer: they’re gone.” In “A Woman Walking”, migratory birds “wind-ruffled, feeding, edge away and cry weep weep.” Hand in hand with mourning these absences is the sometimes terrified glance into the future, as in the aptly titled “One Good Reason to Keep a Cat”, which imagines “some smelly old woman / living alone in a small cheap flat.”

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Same notes, different tunes, Jenny DeBell

The Six Pack: Winning Writing from New Zealand Book Month 2006  John Campbell (introduction) New Zealand Book Month with Whitireia Publishing, $6.00, ISBN 1877192279 The Best New Zealand Fiction 3 Fiona Kidman (ed) Vintage, $34.99, ISBN 1869417976 Sunday 22: The

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Short stories

A distinct voice, uncovering others Selina Tusitala Marsh

where we once belonged Sia Figiel Pasifica Press, $24.95, ISBN 0 908597 27 4 It’s all about giving voice to a whole generation that is voiceless,” Sia Figiel has said about where we once belonged. 1 And voices we hear.

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