Friday, April 23, 2010

Never write a post before rushing to the bookshop

This is Stephen Oliver (NZ poet):

Not this:

The man above doesn't look a lot like the small photo of Oliver on the Phantom Billstickers poster there, but I thought perhaps a shave, perhaps a toupee, perhaps glasses?

Okay, I was hurrying to work at the bookshop, as I do every Friday, and assumed - for the purposes of a blog post on the Phantom Billstickers - that what the Billstickers people had sent me was proud poet and poem when it was in fact proud librarian and poem. An Iowan librarian what's more - a Mr Martin Schmidt. Apologies to both men.

Meanwhile, I realise that I must never have seen Stephen Oliver read a poem or appear at a writers' festival or other sort of event, which seems strange given his body of work. But scooping through the internet, it appears he might be living in Sydney (which sort of explains it.) Although he did grow up in Brooklyn, Wellington, where one of my best friends lived.

I also found an astonishing review of his collection Harmonic, which makes me want to read it.

Nicholas Reid from Antipodes writes: 'Stephen Oliver’s new book, Harmonic, is a tour de force, and I doubt that Australasian letters will see a more important volume of poems in this decade. If his gift in the past has been for the beautifully crafted lyric and the brilliant image, here we have the series of major poems that should cement his reputation, once and for all. ...the volume as a whole has an architectonic, a movement from an early crisis of metaphysics to a final home-coming, in a brilliant series of poems that celebrate the real.

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