Shortly after Sport arrives in my box, I get a bright new issue of Landfall. My little list below maps my ‘loves’ so far — like little ‘like’ ‘share’ ‘favourite’ or ‘retweet’ buttons. Editors might compile a journal with an arc of contours (aural, thematic, emotional pitch, genre, experimentation, quietness and so on) as I have always done with an anthology so you move through shifting readerly experiences from start to finish. However, I never read a journal like this. It’s dip and delve.
1. Straight to the review section to books I have missed, and books I have reviewed. Ha! I Have missed (all meanings intended) reading Ian Wedde’s The Grass Catcher: A digression about home (Victoria University Press). Martin Edmond’s scintillating review meditates on the implications of writing the past alongside his critique of Ian’s illuminations of his own. ‘Home’ was a key notion that came under scrutiny within my doctoral thesis and within the context of Italian women writing novels in the twentieth century. It still fascinates me. This review has sent me scuttling to buy the book. In particular: ‘This is not one of those writer’s memoirs that says: here is how I became the resplendent creature I am today. It is too multi-faceted, too in love with the world, you might say, to serve such a purpose.’
2. Rata Gordon’s poem ‘Tinkering’ is like an electric train on electric tracks. You get to the end and you want to travel that route again. Wow!
3. Discovering Michael Harlow picked Sue Wootton’s poem, ‘Luthier,’ as the winning entry in The Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize (2015). This poem is sumptuous in detail and that detail evokes mood, music, character, place in a transcendental kind of way. I would love to hear this poem read aloud to hear the poet lift and connect and pause, the hit of certain words on the line (flitch, slink, Sitka, bedrock). Sue demonstrates the way a poem can take a small moment/thought/action/thing and then open out intimately for the reader. A word that comes to mind and that is so overused when speaking poetry is luminous. But this poem is utterly and breathtakingly luminous.
4. Discovering Christina Conrad still writes poems.
5. Short poems can be very very good. So much happens in the white space that holds them This is the case with Louise Wallace’s ‘Mirage/Arizona.’
6. Tina Makeriti’s essay, ‘This Compulsion in Us.’ Strikes a chord because I am fascinated by museums too; enthralled by the things that stick to the objects that only you can see or hear or feel. Loved Tina’s exploration of a museum’s paradox, in that it preserves treasures yet ‘also captures and immobilises things that make sense only in motion, that should breathe and transform.’
7. Runner-up in The Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize (2015), the opening lines in Jessica le Bas’s ‘Four Photographs from a Window’ : ‘The first is a shot in the dark/ buttoned up and black suited’
8. An Elizabeth Smither short story that underlines what an exquisite hand she has when it comes to fiction (‘The Trees’).
9. The way Sue Reidy’s poem, ‘The primitive,’ became etched on my skin.
10. Lots more delights but I have to mention the Unity-Books, standout ad. A child reading a book, thank you!