RIP Michele Amas (1961 -2016): a little poetry sampler

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This is sad news. After a long battle with cancer, Michele Amas died on Boxing Day. A poet and actor, her first collection of poetry, After the Dance, was published in 2006 and was nominated for best first book of poetry in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Her poetry is an exquisite meeting point for domestic experience, self and flickering shards of the wider world. Each poem satisfies, so very much, with images that surprise, juxtapositions that spark and a delicious clarity of line. There is a tenderness, a maternal chord that feeds the poems and ignites every mother cell in your body as you read.

My thoughts go out to friends and family.



A sample from After the Dance (Victoria University Press, 2006):


from ‘One way to read her’:


Above her, look for the angle

of clouds,

deliberate, weather stretched



from ‘Daughter’:


Get off my back


this is not dancing

you have sharpened your spurs.



from ‘Golden Delicious’:


She is sunny

She is sunny side up, my girl

running to meet me.



from ‘Reasons for ladders’:


I climb on Gaudi’s shoulders

to a windowsill overlooking

Barcelona, but still I see

the daughter from the corner

of my eye.



from Temporary beds’:


I will bring an umbrella ceiling

to hold over you at night

to keep the dark from falling.



from ‘The Caversham Project (ii)’:


I never liked the srtory

Edna told me of her wedding day,

how Charles took her aside

after their vows

making her promise

never to contradict him.




from ‘After the dance’:


After the dance

a quiet love

settles, sleeps

in collars, in clothes

thrown over a chair.

The house is dreaming.



from ‘The Caversham Project (iii)’:


Why do her only two regrets –

never learning

to ride a bike

never spending a night

in a tent –

shake me.



from ‘Repair’:


I am taking all the women

in this family to Japan.

Dead and alive we will

travel by bus

up the archpelago

to sit under the cherry blossom.



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