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.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Linda Blincko report on the launch of Red Woman Poems
On Sunday I attended the launch of Denys
Trussell’s new book, “Red Woman Poems”, two poems after paintings by Dean
Buchanan, a small publication, 12 pages only, but profound.
It comprises two figurative paintings by
Dean (attached above), photographed by John Miller. Unlike the ‘active,
stylized landscapes paintings, muscular and charged with vivid colourings’ he
is known for these 2 small studies of women, nevertheless exhibit his same
‘strength of definition.’
The two accompanying short poems are
elegant, describing the conception, birth and lives of these women, who,
according to Denys are quite unlike as subjects. “One is Everywoman and carries
the history of the feminine. The other isolated – the psyche of a troubled
singularity..” The exquisite and assured crafting of each poem appears as a
definitive history, made unequivocal in its detail;
“You could not be mistaken
Your zeitgeist is the
perhaps that short bloom
for a woman living
of urbane mind – Weimar’s Germany,
in any other time.
the angle of your body
its opened and radical theatre
as an instant of history;
sheltering between two wars.” (Modernity as an Ode To a Young Woman Painted in
However, the marvel of this publication is Denys’ democratic approach to
the paintings, these 2 red women. He assumes no ownership of them by virtue of
interpretation. Observing our tendency as readers to absorb without question a
single interpretation he exhorts us to take advantage of their ability,
‘as strong compact images to carry many interpretations.’
It is both empowering and challenging for a reader/viewer to take on the
role of interlocutor. It’s not generally something writers encourage; critique
perhaps but not alternative interpretation.
The result is an engaging work, not a collaboration, but a juxtaposition
of four exemplars in their own disciplines; Denys Trussell, Dean Buchanan, John
Miller and John Denny of Puriri Press.