Friday, July 18, 2008



The winners will be announced on Monday night at an awards ceremony in Wellington.
In view of the earlier significant fuss and alarm about the unprecedented decision of the judges to shorten their fiction shortlist I thought it was timely to reproduce the following poem which appeared in the New Zealand Listener issue of June 5-11, 2008. It is reproduced here with the permission of that magazine and the poet to whom I offer my thanks.
There has been much speculation among the literati as to whom may have penned this but to date no one has confided in The Bookman.

Pleading the Fifth

Lucky bastard, some say, leaping over the dock
before the judges entered, last seen running down
Rocking Horse Road. Looking for him, readers turned
over black earth, discovered Mr Allbones’ ferrets
and white bones, but not his. Ask the posts

of the house, they cried to everyone concerned.
Not playing friends, sentencing all save four,
proclaiming an act of love for literature
the booksellers were busy clearing the shelves
for trendy but casual titles. Tomorrow

after the dream and the quake, all will be beautiful,
coming up roses. Banished to an island
in wild latitudes, with consequences dire,
nothing but dry bread to suck on, the exiles
mutter, don’t you miss me a lot of?


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