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.
Friday, January 11, 2019
Praise for the prose poem
Literature's most flexible form........................
prose poem — “literature’s most flexible form” — appears to be having
something of a resurgence in 2019: Jeremy Noel-Tod’s “essential”
Penguin Book of the Prose Poemgarnered a string of positive
reviews across the weekend’s press.
The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Smith-Laing described the collection as
“a wonderful alternative history of modern poetry”, declaring “it is hard
to know how it could possibly be bettered”. The Guardian’s Kate
Kellaway was similarly enthusiastic — “by the end, my copy of the book
was bristling with bookmarks” — helping the title land an impressive 4.25
average weighted BIM score.
Another non-fiction title favoured by the critics is Jonathan Conlin’s
“excellent” biography of “the world’s richest man” Calouste Gulbenkian, Mr
Five Per Cent. The Times’ Gerard DeGroot was impressed by
Conlin’s “remarkable” ability to unravel the elusive figure, notably “not
an easy subject”, concluding that “the oil tycoon’s ruthless pursuit of
wealth is a lesson in the pathology of greed”.
Finally, the eagerly anticipated short story from iconic writer Sylvia
Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom, has hit the shelves. Written in
1952, with Plath on the brink of the turbulent year she would go on to
document in The Bell Jar, Mary Ventura… is “a masterly ratcheting up of
tension over 40 pages”. There is “plenty to admire”, says the Sunday
Times’ Leaf Arbuthnot, describing the title as “essential reading for