In his third collection, In Continents, Richard Reeve examines a catalogue of historical incidents – from the violence of Tiberius and Edward III to the death of James Cook’s Polynesian companion, Tupaia – to illustrate the habitual barbarity, selfishness and stupidity of humans, in counterpoint with our prospective responsibility as stewards of the divine.
In Continents contrasts grace with atavism, imaginative transcendence with the determinative structures of biology, culture and belief. Humans – the clever apes – live and die in age-old continents yet, he demonstrates, behave incontinently. Using a local example, Reeve reflects on the environmental conflict raging in his locality over the giant wind farms proposed by power generating companies; ironically, such areas of great and remote natural beauty have fallen victim to the very technology that is coming to symbolise the would-be corporate revolution towards greener methods of energy.
In Continents displays deft and concentrated language to bridge the gap between ideas and objects, and confirms Reeve’s reputation as a unique and innovative voice.
More about Richard Reeve
This is a very shrewd young man who steals his way into the heart of the reader, like a burglar in broad daylight. Reeve turns narrative poems into huge pleasures. He is getting better all the time. This latest book is so accessible. There is a real fearlessness to his writing. – Hamesh Wyatt, Otago Daily Times