Landfall 228 highlights

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The latest issue of Landfall contains the essays by the winner (Diana Bridge) and runners-up (Sarah Bainbridge, Simon Thomas, Scott Hamilton) of the 2014 Landfall Essay Competition. Judge, David Eggleton, selected 11 finalists (all listed) from 39 entries before selecting the winners. He is also publishing the essay by another finalist, Tina Makareti in Landfall 229. Having read the judge’s comments, I am now interested to read the essays themselves.

What I have done though is read all the poetry. Four poems particularly stood out for me.

Carolyn McCurdie’s ‘Hut’ The opening lines are tremendous: ‘If I come back as a building/ it will be as a tramping hut.’ The poem deposits you in in its heart which is the heart of the hut. Right there in a place where words so frequently stop, yet Carolyn’s lines are memorable.

Reihana Robinson’s ‘And Blessed Be’ The lively word play of this poem is utterly infectious.

Semira Davis’s ‘White Girl: Māori World’  The poem has a razor-sharp edge that stops you in your tracks. Is it okay for a skinny white girl to speak Te Reo?

Rhian Ghallager’s ‘The Speed of God’ is a stunning example of poetry that is original (yes!), breathtaking, spare and refreshes repetition. Some poems rise above all the pother poems we write, and for me, this is one of them. Here is the opening stanza:

‘What if God had slowed down after making the grass and the stars and the

whales and let things settle for a bit so the day could practise leaving into the

arms of the night and the tides tinker their rhythms and the stars

find their most dramatic positions.’

I was capitivated by Michele Leggott’s essay, ‘Self-Portrait: Still Life, A Family Portrait.’ It is both inventive and moving. I don’t want to say anything more but let it unfold for you as you read it.

Oh and I also loved the portraits by Lorene Taurerewa. One features on the cover.

And as for the fiction, that is part of my summer reading.

Great issue, David Eggleton.

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