Tag Archives: pat white

A poem from Pat White’s Watching for the Wingbeat: new and selected poems


There’s much more going on here

for Hone Tuwhare


From where we sat talking the hills take on a painter’s

tone, light and dark, valley and ridge, bush at night

with the small owl sounding far enough away. Both of us

a bit deaf, we shout observations across the back porch


two old gramophones not quite used to listening. Today

stumbling across that ridge, half-lit seen at dusk last night

it’s different, each step testing mud-slide sheep track

fallen trees, such subtle geomorphology, rough slopes facing


north, telling how little distant perspective gets to know

of that hare bursting from beside your foot, fooling

with your sharp-eyed observations about literature

of landscape borrowed from an unpaid library book.


Old Bess the bitch would have given chase once, but today

she thinks better of activities meant for puppied bounce

the silliness of charging off up hill when there’s perfectly

good bones back home rotting under the macrocarpa


it’s enough to be out there, reading the breeze. I watch

you stop, lay a flat hand against grass bruised and bent

by the hare’s body warmth, her form hid beside dead thistle

stalks, dry and buff coloured in winter, it is still warm.


This hare has learned to be elusive, still, till instinctive

urge to flight has her bursting away, past the skylark’s nest

through the rusting fence, pushing the heart’s capacity

to run. We romance the hills from our chairs, our beer


out of the sun’s heat, the rain’s beat, knowing

next to nothing. The risk of leaving our bones out there.


©Pat White  Watching for the Wing Beat: new and selected poems Cold Hub Press, 2018)




Pat White is a writer and artist living near Fairlie. He has an MFA from Massey University, and an MA in Creative Writing from IIML Victoria University. In August 2018 Roger Hickin’s Cold Hub Press published Watching for the Wingbeat; new & selected poems. In 2017 his biography/memoir of the teacher, author, environmentalist, Notes from the margins, the West Coast’s Peter Hooper, was published. An exhibition Gallipoli; in search of family story has been shown in museums and art galleries a number of times in recent years.


Cold Hub Press page

Poetry Shelf, Poet’s Choice: Fiona Kidman makes some picks

sweeping the courtyard cover      Being_Here_cover__66009.1423089464.140.215


There have been  many wonderful new books about this year. But isn’t it always the way? You come to the point of saying, this is my pick, and they all come flooding along saying pick me. So, as it’s been a sensational year for South Island poets, perhaps I will make them my point of reference.

I had the privilege of launching Vincent O’Sullivan‘s Being here:Selected Poems (Victoria University Press). The beautiful hardback satisfies at every level, both from the aesthetic point of view of book production to the selection of poems which is never random, but designed to carry the reader from one place to another, as if all the poems are brand new, and speaking to each other. It includes one of my all time favourite O’Sullivan poems, ”Waikato-Taniwha-Rau” (originally from ‘The Rose Ballroom’ 1982). It begins:

We have a fiction that we live by; it is the river

that steps down, always down, from the pale lake

to the open jaws of land where the sea receives it


I had equal pleasure from Sweeping the Courtyard, the selected poems of Michael Harlow (Cold Hub Press) (and yes, yes, I grant that I am responsible for some cover comments, but they come from the heart). The music of language has long been a preoccupation of Michael Harlow, and his poems invite the reader to share nocturnes, harmonies and song. Thus,
“Song for two players” commences with the lines:

Are you by any chance a piano key?

she asked, reminding me

in our heart to hand affair, that not

all is black and white –


Fracking and Hawk by Pat White (Frontiers Press) is an elegant little book with a powerful voice. White is not afraid to address political issues without losing the tone of a poetic voice. The beauty of the hawk is reflected in the title poem, but also reminds us that time is running out for the earth.

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Emma Neale‘s new collection has already attracted so much comment  that there is little left to say, except that I, too, love Tender Machines, (Otago University Press). Her eloquent plangent voice just gets stronger with time.

And, just to move outside this, admittedly, rather artificial boundary for a moment, there is  a poet whose work has carried me through six decades of reading poetry. She is the late American writer, Louise Bogan. The Blue Estuary Poems 1923 -1968 collects her finest work. Her poems are about yearning,the lives of women, survival. I read her every year, her work never far from the bedside table.


Fiona Kidman


9780473326364  1522562



Pat White’s new poetry book will raise money for a Creative Writing Award for senior students at Mackenzie College



To be launched on 28th August, National Poetry Day, 2015 at Mackenzie  College & Community Library, Fairlie, by Jillian Sullivan. Fellow poets Michael Harlow and Sue Wootton will attend the launch and read.

Frontiers Press is pleased to announce the publication of Fracking & Hawk, poetry by Pat  White.

These poems, writes John Horrocks, ‘draw on a lifetime of immersion in the natural world and its rhythms’, and follow on from Planting the Olives (Frontiers, 2004). In Fracking & Hawk, the poet has added a strong sense of disquiet to his well-known observation of rural life and nature. This ‘deep engagement’ is described by Sue Wootton as being, ‘beautifully crafted, intelligent, and full of heart’.

The proceeds from sales of the book will be going towards setting up a Creative Writing Award for senior students at Mackenzie College.