Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Discovering Pablo Neruda
An Ode to the
Captain: Discovering Pablo Neruda Casey Rocheteau On Writers
Pablo Neruda found
me in a strange way. I was still a teenager, obsessed with the Beats and
pouring over Whitman in English class. I enjoyed writing poetry, but did
not yet take it seriously. I was standing in the poetry section of the
Barnes and Noble in the Cape Cod Mall, with my boyfriend, who was also an
aspiring poet, trying to discern what new book to bite into. An older man
who looked identical to Charles Bukowski, down to the mole on his face,
appeared from around the corner of the shelf. Returning a book to the
shelf, the man said, "This is what you should be reading. That's the
good stuff." As he walked away, I looked to see what he had put back.
It was a bilingual edition of The Captain's Verses. Incredulous, I asked my
boyfriend "did Bukowski's ghost just tell us to read Neruda?"
Sky John Freeman and
Adonis In Conversation
The poet Ali Ahmed
Said, better known by his pen name, Adonis, was born in a mountain village
of a few hundred people in Northwestern Syria in 1930. For the past
thirty-some years, Adonis has lived in Paris, but continues to write in
Arabic. His poems of exile and longing reflect a long life spent, for
political reasons, outside of his native Syria. He despairs of the war that
rages there now, and does not see easy solutions. During a free-ranging
conversation in New York City at the PEN World Voices Festival last spring,
the spry, eighty-four-year-old poet explained how the forces behind his
modern voice are actually centuries old. He also spoke boldly against the
force of organized religion within the Middle East and Syria.