Monday, May 16, 2011

Feeling brave? The Best of the Best NZ Poems.

I bought this book the other day and am thrilled with it. Damien Wilkins' introduction is a delight, the poems are stunning examples of the best of NZ poetry taken from ten years of the Best NZ Poems website, and the write-ups at the back about the poet and the background of the chosen poem are fascinating.  

There are old friends here e.g. Michele Amas' 'Daughter' and Andrew Johnson's 'The Sunflower', acquaintances I'm pleased to get to know better like James Brown's 'University Open Day', and complete strangers whose hands I've finally got to shake.  I haven't, for example, engaged with Jenny Bornholdt's collection The Rocky Shore, and now know - after reading her unbelievable 'Fitter Turner' - I must. Anne Kennedy's 'Die die, live live' has reminded me to read more of this astonishing writer (more more). My hat is off to the editors for including poems that fill not just half a page (gems like Jennifer Compton's 'The Threepenny Kowhai Stamp Brooch') but seven pages, eight pages, nine pages ... 

The Best of the Best NZ Poems is also simply an excellent book to pick up and hold and read, with its Faber-like cover, it's just-larger-than-the palm size, and open, clear layout. Reading it has been like swimming in the sea in Autumn - it's left me feeling fresh and vigorous, excited and brave. 

Highly recommended. 


Catherine said...

Thanks for alerting me to this - I will try and get to a real bookshop and get a copy.

Jennifer Compton said...

am gobbling this book up like lovely coloured sweeties - rarely liked a book of poetry more - i am going to lend it around to aussie friends as a kind of boast and a challenge