Robyn Maree Pickens

'North of the Equator'

'A TransPacific Poetics'

Photo from cover of 'A TransPacific Poetics.'

Coedited by Lisa Samuels and Sawako Nakayasu, A TransPacific Poetics is a unique anthology of essays and experimental poetry by sixteen writers who live in or between different Pacific Rim countries. As the “trans” in the collection’s title suggests, this is a regional trans-Pacific anthology — the first of its kind — that privileges the work of writers defined by the Pacific Ocean. To take a few examples: author and translator Don Mee Choi was born in Korea, moved to the US via Hong Kong, and now lives in Seattle.

'Time is worn into beaks': Robyn Maree Pickens

Image courtesy of Robyn Maree Pickens
Image courtesy of Robyn Maree Pickens

Robyn Maree Pickens is a PhD candidate at the University of Otago, Dunedin, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Her writing has appeared in Art + Australia OnlineTurbine|KapohauThe Pantograph PunchQueen Mob’s Teahouse, Art New Zealand, Art News, The Physics Room Annual, Enjoy Gallery’s Occasional Journaland exhibition catalogues. Currently she is an art reviewer for the Otago Daily Times, and was Blue Oyster Art Project Space’s 2016 summer writer-in-residence on Quarantine Island Kamau Taurua.

Her output directs an ecocritical gaze, building its power from clausal fragments that frequently feel like complete sentences yet push and pull against settlement. Observations are quickly situated; discomforted by their larger implications, they remain critically thought-through. Her work is sharp yet layered, folding over and inward like an origami sculpture: Donna Haraway (the tension between “affinity” and “identity”), patterning and its relation to access, the nonhuman operation of time and its linguistic mimesis — these all ensure a strong formal architecture despite Pickens’s shifting eye. Her work is an exciting arrival and departure for Aotearoa/New Zealand poetry.

Robyn Maree Pickens is a PhD candidate at the University of Otago, Dunedin, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Her writing has appeared in Art + Australia Online, Turbine|KapohauThe Pantograph Punch, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Art New Zealand, Art News, The Physics Room Annual, Enjoy Gallery’s Occasional Journal, and exhibition catalogues. Currently she is an art reviewer for the Otago Daily Times, and was Blue Oyster Art Project Space’s 2016 summer writer-in-residence on Quarantine Island Kamau Taurua.

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