From Manoa to a Ponsonby Garden
We are home Hone after four years in Hawai‘i
but the winter cold is driving out the delicious warmth
of those islands from my bones
Ultimately a book about ageing and the consideration of death, this collection moves from the warm valley winds of Hawai‘i to the seasons of a garden in Auckland.
In Hawai‘i Wendt watches the changing shadows of the Ko‘olau mountains from his verandah; considers the nature of mauli, the seat of life; walks protected in his partner’s perfumed slipstream to work; and writes to fellow poet Hone Tuwhare from the excesses of Las Vegas.
In the second half of the book we move to the garden in Ponsonby in 40 vivid ‘garden’ poems that are the triumph of the collection. Here joints need replacing, poets grow older, tsunami destroy and friends slip away, but a spirit of renewal and humour pervades – along with prowling cats, baking muffins, flashing kingfishers and visiting mokopuna. And scattered among the garden poems will be some of Wendt’s inky, drawn poems – the best are about the Sāmoan tsunami or galu afi.
From Mānoa to a Ponsonby Garden is an extraordinary, alert and confident book by one of our most celebrated writers.
More about Albert Wendt
Read an extract here
From Manoa shows Wendt's craft and canny ability to pen a poem full of feeling. He has charisma and aplomb. Once again he makes his vision come together with grace. – Hamesh Wyatt, Otago Daily Times
. . . extraordinary offering of poems . . . – Spasifik
The first section of his book contains some splendid, lush, lyrical renderings of Hawaii. – Matt Bowler, Nelson Mail