List #7: NEW ZEALAND POETRY
Have a look through this selection of a dozen New Zealand poetry books we are recommending for summer reading and as seasonal gifts. Use the 'click and collect' function on our website to reserve your copies.
If you don't find what you're looking for here, come and talk to us: we have many other interesting books on our shelves.
Anchor Stone by Tony Beyer $40
Beyer's poetry has a clarity and space that allows meaning and association to orbit the lines and create patterns of resonance indicative of hitherto inaccessible levels of experience, both of society and the natural world.
Short-listed for the poetry award in the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Pamper Me to Hell and Back by Hera Lindsay Bird $22
"Love, death, Bruce Willis, public urination, being a woman, love, The Nanny, love. This pamphlet of poetry by Hera Lindsay Bird is a startling departure from her bestselling debut Hera Lindsay Bird by defying convention and remaining exactly the same, only worse. This collection, which focuses on love, childish behaviours, 90’s celebrity references and 'being a woman', is sure to confirm all your worst suspicions and prejudices."
Selected by Carol Ann Duffy: "Without doubt the most arresting and original new young poet - on page and in performance - to arrive."
Short Poems of New Zealand edited by Jenny Bornholdt $35
"I've begun to think of short poems as being the literary equivalent of the small house movement. Small houses contain the same essential spaces as large houses do. Both have places in which to eat, sleep, bathe and sit; they're the same, except small houses are, well, smaller." -Jenny Bornholdt
A beautifully presented and thoughtful selection of short verse from well-known poets, new voices and rediscovered poets.
The Friday Poem: 100 New Zealand poems edited and introduced by Steve Braunias $25
An excellent selection of poems that have appeared weekly in The Spinoff, including established names and new voices.
Edgeland by David Eggleton $28
Eggleton's new collection "possesses an intensity and driven energy, using the poets recognisable signature oratory voice, strong in beat and measure, rooted in rich traditions of chant, lament and ode. Mashing together the lyrical and the slangy, celebrating local vernaculars while simultaneously plugged in to a global zeitgeist of technobabble and fake news, Eggleton recycles and repurposes high visual culture and demotic aural culture."
Poems assailed by blankness, by ice, by erasure, by exhaustion, by the dissolution of form.
"The work takes full advantage of the white pages on which the words appear. In particular it plays with ideas of erasure, as if all our words, like any evidence of human presence, can be extinguished by a fresh fall of snow." - Bill Manhire
Recipient of the 2017 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award.
Are Friends Electric? by Helen Heath $25
The first part of Helen Heath's new collection is comprised largely of found poems which emerge from conversations about sex bots, people who feel an intimate love for bridges, fences and buildings, a meditation on Theo Jansen's animal sculptures, and the lives of birds in cities. A series of speculative poems further explores questions of how we incorporate technology into our lives and bodies. In these poems on grief, Heath asks how technology can keep us close with those we have lost. How might our experiences of grieving and remembering be altered?
>> Helen Heath - Standing room only.
>> Ask Gary Numan.
Nowhere Nearer by Alice Miller $25
Is nowhere a place we can get closer to? How does history prevent us from seeing the present? These excellent poems are a fertile and dangerous confluence of cultural streams.
"Alice Miller looks hard at history's terrifying straight lines, yet time and again turns to the obsessive, sometimes redemptive circlings of art. She knows that in a universe ruled by time and death, words can both rescue and destroy us, sometimes in a single utterance." - Bill Manhire
A selection of poems from his ninth decade: sharp, learned, playful, poignant, looking back on a long life and forward to the mortality that has claimed so many of his literary fellows and now waits for him. If anything, Stead continues to improve as a poet, his lines scattering resonance across the page from a central point of intensely intelligent watchfulness.
Walking to Jutland Street by Michael Steven $28
Steven's gifts as a poet include the ability to isolate ordinary details as connective routes between times, places and modes of experience. His poems bristle with the particulars of life in the shabby backstreets of Dunedin, but pull with them an allegorical load of illuminating subtlety.
Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble $20
"This collection speaks about beauty, activism, power and popular culture with compelling guile, a darkness, a deep understanding and sensuality. It dives through noir, whakamā and kitsch and emerges dripping with colour and liquor. There’s whakapapa, funk (in all its connotations) and fetishisation. The poems map colonisation of many kinds through intergenerational, indigenous domesticity, sex, image and disjunction. They time-travel through the powdery mint-green 1960s and the polaroid sunshine 1970s to the present day. Their language and forms are liquid—sometimes as lush as what they describe, other times deliberately biblical or oblique. It all says: here is a writer who is experiencing herself as powerful, restrained but unafraid, already confident enough to make a phat splash on the page." —Hinemoana Baker
>> "I always assumed Denis Glover was talking about some other Johnsonville."
>> 'For a Cigarette and a Blanket.'
>> Read Stella's review.
He's So Masc by Chris Tse $30
An acerbic, acid-bright, yet unapologetically sentimental and personal reflection on what it means to perform and dissect identity, as a poet and a person.
Sphinx by Cat Woodward $20
Each poem in this excellent collection pits its voice both against silence and against the deluge of other voices suspended above it, waiting for an opportunity to smother it. Every word is effective and surprising, the whole geared so that the humour and the blades rotate in opposite directions. A form-bursting collection from a poet recently moved to Nelson from the UK.
>> Read Thomas's review.
>> Find out about the 5-session POETRY LABORATORY course Cat will be teaching at VOLUME in February (hint: this would make a good present).