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OK, with 2009 already a distant memory, here is part 3 of poetry books I read and enjoyed last year. No doubt I’ve missed a few along the way, but here goes:
‘Firesprung‘ and ‘Keening with Spittal Tongues’ by Kathleen Kenny (Red Squirrel Press). We saw Kathleen read at the South Shields Museum last August and I really enjoyed hearing her poems. You can read a couple on the Red Squirrel website. http://www.redsquirrelpress.com/index.php?firesprung
‘Further Convictions Pending’ – Vincent O’Sullivan (VUP) – I confess I hadn’t read much of Vincent O’Sullivan before. I won this in an NZ Book Council giveaway (thanks Book Council!) and am now on a very pleasant voyage of discovery.
‘The Song of Lunch’ (CB Editions) and ‘A Scattering’ (Arete Books) by Christopher Reid. Christopher Reid read at Te Papa last year. A Scattering is a sad, but beautiful book, about his grief at the death of his wife (more on that here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/6957867/Christopher-Reid-a-poet-who-was-inspired-by-grief.html)
Lighter and more fun (but still with its dark side) is The Song of Lunch, about a man who meets up for lunch with a former girlfriend but things don’t turn out as he imagined.
‘Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand’ (Interactive Press, edited by Mark Pirie and Tom Jones) – well I have to mention Voyagers, seeing as I’ve got a poem in it. See here for more details and sample poems. Lots of gems in this book. One of my favourites is Vivienne Plumb’s The Last Day of the World which begins “That will be the day none of the eggs will cook. There will be strange phenomena” .
‘On the Eve of Never Departing’ by Richard von Sturmer (Titus Books). Not a poetry book (more of a memoir), but his language is so lyrical and beautiful, I thought I’d sneak it in. There’s an account of the launch here: http://readingthemaps.blogspot.com/2009/09/titus-turns-twenty-one.html I remember seeing Richard and his partner performing as the Humanimals in Auckland back in the early eighties and being terribly impressed.
Also not a poetry book per se is Sam Hunt’s ‘Backroads’ (Craig Potton Publishing) which Peter got me for Christmas – again it’s a memoir, but with lots of great poems (other people’s – like James K Baxter’s - as well as his own) and great photos.
Peter also gave me Glenn Colquhoun’s latest: ‘North South’ (Steele Roberts) – with illustrations by Nigel Brown, a tale of Celtic gods and goddesses meeting their Māori counterparts. http://steeleroberts.co.nz/books/isbn/9781877448638
So – that was 2009. Here’s wishing everyone a poetic 2010!