Tag Archives: Landfall Review Online

Landfall Review Online offers bilingual review of Tātai Whetū

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‘The ‘stars’ of Tātai Whetū, a collection of seven poems by seven Māori women poets, take the reader on a wistful journey that traverses the boundaries of the spiritual and physical realms. The poets who composed these poems will inevitably pass on from this physical world – he tātai whetū ki te whenua, ngaro noa – but their words and thoughts are hung in the metaphysical space of the heavens above as guiding lights never to be extinguished – he tātai whetū ki te rangi, tū tonu.

A highly charged current of feminine strength underlies the poems in this collection. Māori history is rich with narratives featuring strong female figures who defy the odds and are a powerful force to be reckoned with: ‘I heard their karanga, the dawn voice, centuries of women rising up in a vocal wiri from the motu …’ Anahera Gildea reminds us that we are a continuation of those who have gone before us and our karanga will add to the resounding echoes of quivering voices that will be heard for generations to come.’


‘Ko ngā whetū o te pukapuka nei, Tātai whetū, he kohikohinga o ngā rotarota e whitu kua tuhia e ngā kaiwhakairo kupu wahine Māori tokowhitu. Ka kawea te kaipānui e ā rātou kupu i tētahi haerenga whēnakonako e whakawhiti ana i te ao wairua me te ao kikokiko nei. Tāria te wā, ka matemate haere ngā kaiwhakairo kupu nei – he tātai whetū ki te whenua, ngaro noa – engari ka whakairia ō rātou whakaaro, ā rātou kupu ki te rangi hei tohutohu i a tātou mō ake tonu – he tātai whetū ki te rangi, tū tonu.

He roma mana wahine e rere ana hei pūtaketanga o ia rotarota i tēnei kohikohinga. E hia kē nei ngā kōrero pūrākau a te Māori e whakanui ana i te mana o te wahine, i tō rātou kaha, i tō rātou ūpoko mārōtanga i tā rātou i kōkiri ai. ‘… I heard their karanga, the dawn voice, centuries of women rising up in a vocal wiri from the motu …’ Ka whakamaumaharatia tātou e Anahera Gildea, he uri whakaheke tātou nō rātou kua mene atu ki te pō. Ka āpitihia ā tātou karanga ki ā rātou karanga e whakapaorotia ai i ngā reanga e haere ake nei.’


Full review here







A gorgeous trio of poetry reviews by Anahera Gildea at Landfall Review Online

‘He waka eke noa: we’re all in this together’


Go here to read 3 divinely crafted reviews of new poetry collections from

Tayi Tibble, Sam Duckor-Jones and Jan Fitzgerald.  Best review treat in an age.


A taste of Sam’s review:

If the waka analogy holds, then Duckor-Jones’s waka is his tribe, his allied kinship group, and in this case his golems. ‘Bloodwork’ is easily the most arresting piece. It’s a sequence of 20 poems that speak to the ‘making of a man’. Throughout his work, the poet evokes tropes of masculinity like lovers: dandies, brutes, pools boys, dudes, blokes, Jeff and more. These crowd his pages, but it’s the hoard of clay men that affix in my mind, along with the keen instructions on creation:

to wield the tools

to make an eight-foot man

to make him look like he’d sweat






Elizabeth Heritage reviews Diana Bridge, Mary Cresswell and Natasha Dennerstein for Landfall Review Online

9780473327828 cover 


Elizabeth Heritage

In the Supplementary Garden by Diana Bridge (Cold Hub Press, 2016), 192 pp., $39.95; Fish Stories by Mary Cresswell (Canterbury University Press, 2015), 132 pp., $25; Anatomize by Natasha Dennerstein (Norfolk Press, 2015), 74 pp., US$14.95

I’m not sure what the technical term is for when a poem hits you in the brain; when you read a particular phrase and your whole mind stops and goes: ‘… huh’. And it’s like the light on a square moves, and you realise it’s actually a cube. Whatever that is, Diana Bridge does it. A lot. From ‘A book of screens’:

She celebrates herself

in an arc of tea …

(Ever since I read that, each time I pour out a cup of tea, I think: I am celebrating myself.)


For the rest of the review go here

Nick Ascroft on CK Stead’s The Yellow Buoy at Landfall Review Online– this review is sizzling!


Landfall Review Online is one of the best sources of poetry reviews currently available to us. Here, a reviewer gets to write in depth on a single volume of poetry, taking whatever style or manner of critiquing they like. Not all books get reviewed (understandably) but those that do get reviewed well. Nick Ascroft has just written a sizzling review on CK Stead’s most recent poetry collection. If someone were to write about my work with this keenness of engagement and propulsion of ideas I would be utterly flattered — whatever they thought of the my poetry. This is the sort of review that raises fertile questions but that also sends you to the most important thing at hand, the poetry itself. It is an exhilarating and stimulating read. Thank you!

I have posted a brief extract with a link to the full review below:

The Yellow Buoy: Poems 2007–2012, by C.K. Stead, (Auckland University Press, 2013), 144 pp., $27.99

The poems of C.K. Stead ‘get poetry’. If I could choose any archetype for all budding poets to emulate it would be he who is perhaps the last of the double-initials-and-surname poets. The kind of adjectives one attaches to his style sound unflattering: honest, sturdy, reliable, unembellished, intelligible, sober, unfestooned, humble, un-baroque-or-rococo. Words are used artfully, but not deferred to or privileged above sense. The sound of words is not forgotten, but the poems are never in search of euphony. Images and metaphor abound, but again are precisely observed. Nothing seems exaggerated; nothing tries overtly to be or seem impressive. The subject has been selected because the poet knows it is interesting as is. Avoid ambition, poets. Avoid – ugh – flash. Avoid post-modernism. Embrace discipline. Stead’s durable archetype is of a poet like a plumber, no self-importance attached, just another well-functioning toilet at the end of a day’s work.

But there is no one ‘poetry’ to ‘get’ of course. Instead, it comes in many forms, equally as deserving of the word ‘poem’, and is equally admired – by opposing groups of readers, often. Every attentive reader has a set of poems they have read and admired: a set of ‘poems that get it’. A set of poems they are prepared to promote and defend. To me this is what a critic does, defending as one braying voice in the wilderness, clutching a poem ‘set’ and asserting an opinion. I admire critics that speak to their vision of the truth. I think their judgements, often more sharply drawn and decisive than our own, help us to shape or frame our own thinking. We may vehemently disagree, and perhaps even be hoodwinked by rhetoric to agree when perhaps we shouldn’t, but either way the conversation shapes us. The best critics to my mind are both curmudgeons and creeps: challenging the reader all the way. Accordingly, I have defaced my way through Stead’s latest collection, The Yellow Buoy: Poems 2007–2012, drawing creepy and curmudgeonly faces in the margins.

Review here.