Thursday, February 22, 2007

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,

Frank Worsley,

who at the age of ten

wagged school

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,

my love,

like this one, I reckon

we'd be much better off

with Shackleton,

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!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

12 JUne 2007

A silver sky

ripe for the mirror.

you can not see yourself in this mirror

you can only see others

moreover, you can only see what others choose to expose.

Their houses, their boats, their sea-doos.

Birds skimming low over the water could

like as not

see them selves if they were to look down

as they skim low over the water

but they never do.

Rather they allow their reflections to chase them

quick and sharp over the still, glistening waters

while the bird's mind remains ever fixed on

food, or other birds, or escaping those damn noisy humans.

A dense forest impenetrable as a gaze.