R.S Thomas Selected Poems: having been raised nominally Christian these poems really spoke to me. God present in an impoverished Welsh countryside. The hollowed-out chest of faith really comforted me in my own struggle with the giant white Christ and his expectations. There is still one poem that I go back to often called ‘January’ with a line that sticks to me like a stain when referring to blood; ‘Soft as excrement, bold as roses.’
Beast Feast by Cody-Rose Clevidence: the first time I ever read another nonbinary poet. This book is a mess of tangled syntax and language-poop. It made me feel seen in form and message in a way I hadn’t felt before. ‘Queerness necessitates a radicalised language’ – this line still guides the poetry I write.
The Silences Between by Keri Hulme: I think I read most of this in a local bookstore and it was my introduction to Keri Hulme’s work. The use of conversation in the poems, and the movement between stanzas as their own call and response, is magic. I love how she uses setting in her poetry; we are dipped in the sea and pushed along the sandbars. A question that sticks with me is one Rowley Habib asks in the book ‘Where are your bones’ and this is driving the work I’m doing now, both the sentiment of the question and the act of making connections with other Māori poets/work. This book plays with connection and alienation, and lives inside the strange, which is a place I live in and want to live in with my work.
essa may ranapiri: (Ngāti Raukawa | they/them/theirs) if they die before the end of the settler colonial nation state of NZ you owe them a revolution [their first book of poetry ransack out from VUP in 2019.
Victoria University Press page