Sunday, 4 November 2007

'She'd Forgotten The Meaning of Snow'

The New Zealand poet on my mind today is: Graham Lindsay.
There are so many poets in New Zealand - in fact I wonder if we have the most poets per capita in the world? I wouldn't be surprised at all if we did. The fact that we have an abundance of poets, makes it hard to choose who to write about.
I will alternate between female and male poets. Maybe I will limit the poets to lesser-known poets ... but then, maybe not. Let's see how it unfolds.
Graham Lindsay has published seven poetry books; all exceptional.
I enjoy his poetry for its unpretentious use of language and for the way he highlights life's ordinary (indeed, often overlooked) corners. Whether he's writing about the landscape, or elderly relatives or his baby son, he writes with a fondness for the people and the land, lacing it with subtle humour, and yet keeping the reality intact. It's never sugar-coated. He has a handle on the pathos of life, without losing his respect for it or for the people he writes about. His gritty taxi-driver poems in particular honestly reflect the reality of life.
I'm sure copyright will allow me to quote part of a poem of his:

I phoned my aunt to see
how she was getting on.

She'd forgotten
the meaning of snow.

Snow, I said, you know, snow, snow. Snow!
Remember the photo

of you and Uncle Syd
on The Peak in the big snow?

Down the line
came the airy, polished,

backlit sounds,
of the dayroom.

lines quoted from ... 'The Big Snow' by Graham Lindsay in his book 'Lazy Wind.'

***

8 comments:

mapiprincesa! said...

HA! Now, does that *really* count???

chiefbiscuit said...

mapiprincesa! You got to the post before I had actually fully written it - I published a sentence to get the right date above it and then took my time re-drafting it. You caught me out by getting to it too quickly!

Clare said...

As in Miss Smilla's Meaning For Snow?...I think not...Just been having a jolly time catching up on your posts CB. Wonderful pictures and thoughtful words. You live in a beautiful place.

wendy said...

WOW.

just my cup of tea. beautiful.

mapiprincesa! said...

phew! Good thing! ;) Great post!

Marie said...

What a literary education I'm getting here this November and what a great subject you have chosen to write about. I have a Kiwi folder on my bookmarks now that I can slot in your poet links to peruse at my leisure on the cold dark snowy winter nights (no chance here of forgetting the meaning of snow!)

paris parfait said...

There do seem to be a plethora of poets in New Zealand! That's a lovely, bittersweet poem.

chiefbiscuit said...

clare - Thanks Clare - care to come visit one day? I'm sure there's some research you could do here ... ;)

wendy - hey! You too could come visit Wenz - we have lots of horses over here! :)

mapi - Thanks! Glad you came back!

marie - I see you have a snow report too!

PP - it's part of a longer poem - he writes of family and the subtler nuances of life so well.

Harbour

Harbour
'how this all harbours light'