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Siobhan Harvey reviews a alternative of beginning New Zealand balladry to appear afterwards lockdown.

“Poetry,” wrote Audre Lorde, “is not alone dream and vision; it is the skeleton architectonics of our lives. It lays the foundations for a approaching of change.” It’s auspicious how, back faced with adversities like the lockdown, bodies angry to books for abundance and sustenance. It’s auspicious additionally to see that the ability of the chat to accommodate alleviation and acumen continues to flourish, with the absolution of a deluge of New Zealand balladry titles.

Take, for instance, award-winning Dunedin columnist Kay McKenzie Cooke’s adorning third collection, Upturned (The Cuba Press, $25). Here’s a book that moves lyrically amid calm landscapes like Dunedin, Gore and civil Otago as able-bodied as the abroad alcove of the Baltic bank and the melting-pot metropolis, Berlin. The splendour the columnist finds in fauna and flora everywhere becomes a criterion for anapestic adventure and claimed sustenance. Ditto, in balladry like Standing at the lights, relationships with developed accouchement and the slivers of memories which amble from accomplished lives. Upturned is a alternation of deeply-mulled reflections aloft self, adaptation and wellbeing.

It’s been about a decade back Rhian Gallagher’s aftermost book won the New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry. So admitting her latest, Far-Flung (Auckland University Press, $25), has been a continued time coming, it’s able-bodied account the wait. Like McKenzie Cooke, Gallagher is an columnist acutely abiding in advertent abstruse activity acquaint in New Zealand cartography and the accustomed world. For instance, a actual asylum inspires balladry actuality like Kāhu and Small Bird after a Sky, birds a aqueduct to poetically exploring terrains from Taranaki to Stewart Island and the abysmal memories begin there. Gallagher’s abstract affiliation of acquaintance with ambience and wildlife endures into Far-Flung’s evocative additional section, “Seacliff Epistles”, in which affiliated belief of Victorian Ireland allegorize the abiding appulse of displacement and agony aloft abreast souls.

Christchurch biographer Philip Armstrong’s Sinking Acquaint (Otago University Press, $28) won the celebrated Kathleen Grattan Award for Poetry. The author’s cadent, impressionistic book composes activity in affluent yet deeply abstinent ways. Shipwrecks, strandings, chill adventures and abyss explorations are a abyssal date for Armstrong’s anapestic reimagining of fables featuring Orpheus, Frankenstein, Scheherazade and his own family. The abounding standouts accommodate Eel Dream and Book of Beasts. The aftereffect offers the ocean’s accent as legend, accomplishment and ecology barometer, as able-bodied as an outstanding aboriginal collection.

The creation is brood for Rata Gordon’s Additional Person (Victoria University Press, $25). Actuality are contemplations about the weight of neutron stars, the Big Bang Theory, the Age of Mammals and motherhood as airy and evolutionary concepts. Here, too, are affectionate moments involving pīpīwharauroa, kāka and huia, the claustrophobia of alone activity and an OE in India. The accomplished is an broad-mindedness in which science meets poetry, Gordon’s concise, adroit accent and anatomy alloyed to a mindset at already attentive and investigative.

Robert McLean’s beefy Enduring Love (Cold Hub, $40) offers a arrangement of calm balladry that acquisition affection in localities abreast and far, commonplace and extraordinary. The concrete ambit of McLean’s agreeable ruminations extend from the Canterbury Plains and Lake Coleridge to Rome, New Orleans and Crete. These are interlaced with re-imaginings involving a broadcast degree of the intelligentsia, including Anne Sexton, Charles Fourier and Andrei Tarkovsky. These are balladry that are ballsy in anatomy and adapted in style; everywhere abyss reigns.

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