THE PONIES Bernadette Hall Victoria University Press
The covers, both back and front, on this anthology are quite stunning pieces of work by Dunedin visual artist Kathryn Madill. Unfortunatley my computer generated image does not do justice to the art.
In the extensive, and most interesting, notes at the back of the book we learn that in December 2004 Hall and Madill shared an Artist in Antartica Award. They joined up down there with two other artists; David Trubridge from Havelock North, " a designer, furniture maker and passionate advocate of sustainability in art and the way communities live";and Kirsten Haydon, a jeweller.
The poems are divided into three groupings and not surprisingly one of these groups features poems about Antarctica. And how interesting they are. Hall was obviously hugely affected by her experience on the ice.
Here is a tiny excerpt from a longish poem about the team on the Shackleton Expedition. Titled "The Irishman", it really appealed to me:
and the Kiwi,
who at the age of ten
and, on a raft he'd built
from manuka sticks,
using a shirt
for a sail,made it
right across the Akaroa Harbour.
So,in a tight spot,
like this one, I reckon
we'd be much better off
The back cover blurb suggests , accurately," that the poems range from the hazardous beauty of Antarctica to the urban nightmare of London, July 7 2005. From love in the 60's to Wellington's lively contemporary scene."
Author photograph by Robert Cross.
I previously only knew Hall through her work as the editor of the wonderful "Like Love Poems:Selected Poems" by Joanna Margaret Paul, and co-editor with James Norcliffe of the popular anthology of Canterbury poetry "Big Sky" which I mentioned on my blog of 31 January this year under the heading Holiday Reading.
Now having read this collection I am a fan!