A collection that takes flight in many directions but remains grounded by the keen intent and ability of this award-winning poet.
Halcyon Ghosts presents thirteen poems, thirteen shapes of knowing - from the cinematic reel 'The Kid', splicing stills of the poet's grandmother and Charlie Chaplin, to the re-verse soundings of 'Six Reels of Joy', celebrating the birth of the poet's daughter. The title poem displays a ghostly counterpoint of birds and words in flight; strikethrough poems are threaded through with runes of fact and fiction. Language, Sampson demonstrates, is as particular and transitory as the patterning of the natural world. Poems layer, link and break apart, sampling and echoing other texts - whether the everlasting cataracts of Keats and Dylan Thomas or reportage gleaned from territorial newspapers of the Old West. Halcyon Ghosts is a profoundly philosophical and personal collection, an assemblage of unearthed vestiges, a quintessence - where names displaced by light, are dark but not lost... Ever-changing, language spills its story.
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Throughout the book there is a strong feeling of a concern with our deteriorating environment and I appreciated this each time it appeared. - Emma Barnes, Booksellers NZ
Breathless and breathtaking. - Paula Green, NZ Poetry Shelf
This is the world as if observed from the eye of the bird, at a roving, frenetic pace that never holds focus for long. The reader is spoilt for riches of language, immersed in the night skirmishes of moonlit ghost moths and prayers for the extinct huia. - The Pantograph Punch