Orchid Tierney reviews three titles that engage with Anthropocene landscapes: Edgeland and other poems by David Eggleton; Habitat Threshold by Craig Santos Perez; and Mezzaluna: Selected Poems by Michele Leggott.
I would like to feature in this Commentary Post, three South Island (N.Z) gentlemen poets — Jim Norcliffe; David Howard and David Eggleton, all of whom I know and all of whom would without doubt be seen as among Aotearoa — New Zealand's leading mainstream poets. Mainstream, essentially, as they are English language poets all and generally speaking, would not be seen as 'experimental' poets, given David Eggleton's earlier more varied performance ethos and activities, among them as recording artist. All three are professional poets, by which I mean they have had life long careers as published poets and that they take the job of being a poet very seriously, for which I admire them.
Michele Leggott’s poem “shore space, ” from her 2009 book Mirabile Dictu, imagines 1930s New Zealand writer Robin Hyde taking a bus trip through Auckland’s North Shore, and running into various groups of local writers as she does so:
she would be pleased this spring afternoon above the bays where gorse and mangroves present a united front and choko vines run wild she would be pleased to see Jack Ross and friends rolling in with a box of books and a sausage sizzle to do a fundraiser for a poet who has run out of cornflakes on the other side of the world Robin Hyde is living on baked beans and disprins soon she will leave the places we can see and walk the seaward road that glistens with disappearances
It’s a pleasant pastoral vision of friends and collaborators falling over each other to help out, be supportive, advance the art of poetry in an atmosphere of mutual good will.