Tag Archives: Iain Lonie

Poetry Shelf, poet’s choice; Murray Edmond makes some picks

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Mais pourquoi entre parenthèses? Four Highly Mentionable Items from the Poetry Year

A long poem, a magazine, a collected poems and a set of translations.


I had the pleasure of giving the champagne-cracking speech to launch Roger HorrocksSong of the Ghost in the Machine (Victoria UP, 2015) in the first half of 2015. This is a single poem of nearly 70 pages. Lovely to read a long philosophical, meditative poem, which pays homage to Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (first century BC).

The third issue of Ika from the Manukau Institute of Technology Faculty of Creative Arts is edited by Anne Kennedy. It includes prose and fine arts design and photography, but poetry is the mainstay of the magazine. MIT writing students are featured, but you will also find work by Tusiata Avia, Courtney Sina Meredith, Kiri Piahana-Wong, Chris Tse, Anna Jackson, Emma Neale, Kent McCarter, and Michael Steven among a host of others. Attractive production.

Collected poems tend to go on-line these days (eg. Kendrick Smithyman’s), but David Howard’s editing of the poetry of Iain Lonie (1932-1988) has produced a well-ordered, hard-cover volume from Otago University Press: A Place to Go On From: The Collected Poems of Iain Lonie (2015). There’s a Preface, a Chronology, A Memoir and an Essay to bind the collection together, with Sources and Notes and Indexes of Titles and of First Lines. The layout is generous. Lonie’s output at just under 300 pages was not large and it is here contextualized and clarified by excellent editing.

Pam Brown’s selection of poems Alibis (Societe Jamais-Jamais: Sydney), translated into French by her partner Jane Zemiro, actually appeared in 2014, but I wanted to mention it for Kiwi readers. The poems are selected from four earlier volumes by Brown and include the poem ‘One Day in Auckland/Un jour à Auckland with its lines:


I’ve woken up early

In Auckland,

New Zealand (Aotearoa)

(why bracket that?)


“Mais pourquoi entre parenthèses’ indeed. Nice to read an Australian poet waking us up. There is a Preface from Brown and Zemiro about translation. An earlier version of this Preface appeared in Ka Mate Ka Ora: A New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics, No. 11 (2013) www.nzepc.auckland.ac/kmko/index11.asp

For the poet, the translated poem gives the poet an alibi, ‘slightly displaced,’ having been somewhere else at the time of the translation.

Murray Edmond


Poetry Shelf, Poet’s Choice: Emma Neale’s favourite poetry reads 2015


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My poetry treasures for this year:  Some people say they’ve travelled, or fallen in love, or moved house, as the measure of a year’s alterations: for me, 2015 was the year I read Iain Lonie’s A Place to Go On From: The Collected Poems. The depth and frankness with which this plumbs love, grief and staring into the void is so unstinting that reading it has felt like a life event. As an act of scholarship from the editor David Howard and the author of the introduction Damian Love, it deserves to be celebrated.
I also loved seeing the fresh direction Joan Fleming has gone in with Failed Love Poems and how quickly she takes up new role models (eg Mary Ruefle, erasure poetics) and rearranges and ‘re-aspirates’ these.

Because as a student I always used to write far too much and get reprimanded for exceeding the word limit, I have to add here Bones in the Octagon by Carolyn McCurdie – see particularly her poem about the Brothers Grimm – and oh please just one more to add – two Hungarian poets have dazzled me this year: Ágnes Nemes Nagy and Ferenc Juhász.

Emma Neale

Bones in the octagon front cover copy