From the Henderson House: eight poems is an exquisite chapbook penned by Jenny Bornholdt and Gregory O’Brien. The first 18 copies feature a cover design lovingly handprinted by Brendan O’Brien on an Merlarue etching press at the Henderson House in Alexandria. The remaining 40 copies feature covers designed and printed by Brendan at Fernbank Studios in Wellington.
The eight poems were written while Jenny and Gregory enjoyed a year-long artists’ residency thanks to the Henderson House Trust. Each double page is like a set of open palms – with Jenny’s poem on one side and Gregory’s poem on the other. A loving couple. Here are the titles:
On drinking water
Styx Crossing, Upper Taieri
En plein air
Two burning cars, one afternoon
The poems rise from contemplation, from lengthy time in a place of beauty, from the small but fascinating detail. To read the poems is to absorb place; to delight in the ability of poetry to transport you physically to the uplift of elsewhere. Yet the poems also transport you along rebounding ideas, particularly along the verb ‘to be’. These are poems that speak of existence.
As I read I am thinking of a slow poetry movement (in keeping with the slow food movement) and that slowness extends to reader as well as writer. I travel from hawk to water to trees to autumn to fog to river to horse to burning car. I am taking my time and it is so very nourishing.
Trees lose their content
to the river.
Down it comes to us
story borne by currents
all the weird logics
loose upon the water.
We were among
the unkempt arrivals, undecided
star-shaped, mid-air. Leaves
of an unaccustomed tree.