Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Love in a Bookstore or Your Money Back

This collection of verse was published back in 2003 but I have only just found it being drawn to it by the title. Published by AUP, it is still in print, and the rrp is $24.99

The poet is Sarah Quigley, another reason why I was attracted to it as I am a great fan of her fiction, novels and short stories, and was so astonished and disappointed when her simply marvellous 2011 novel, The Conductor, didn't win the fiction prize in the NZ Post Book Awards. In fact it wasn't even short-listed! One of the finest novels from a NZ writer in many years in my view.

Back to the collection of verse where we have the "cool contemporary voice of a young woman who travels, observes, falls in love, writes. In poised and elegant lyrics she reflects, remembers and speculates, at times speaking directly to a lover with wit and feeling, at others expressing tenderness for family and friends. Restless, unsettled, she knows loneliness, loss and grief; always she finds solace in reading and writing".

She sat for a lengthy, a looking time
knowing no on e but she
could solve it

and in so doing she became
the clock, the night,
the closing doors,
the words on the page
and the white hush between the words.

Born in New Zealand, Sarah Quigley, (left, photo credit Sebastian Schrade), has a D Phil from the University of Oxford and lives in Berlin. Her successful collection of short fiction having words with you (1998), was followed by her debut novel, After Robert, which was released in Britain in 2000 and in Germany in 2001. She has been awarded the Sargeson Fellowship and the inaugural CNZ/DAAD Berlin Writer’s Fellowship, and has won the CLL Writer’s award and the Robert Burns Fellowship. Her novel Shot is published with Virago, The Conductor by Vintage and her poetry appeared in 1999 in the first volume of Auckland University Press’s New Poets series. My American friends would call her multi-talented !

Here is the title poem for your enjoyment, I love it:

Love in a bookstore or your money back

I stood
in a bookstore
successfully picking up
poet after poet,

even Frank O’Hara
and T. S. Eliot, who had
always attracted me

Their spines felt good
in my hands

and suddenly I realised:
this was a guarantee.

Love is always to be found
in bookstores.

1 comment:

transpressnz said...

Unfortunately the omission of "The Conductor" from those awards isn't the only example of unfathomable decisions by judges.