A new collection from beloved New Zealand poet John Dickson.
For many years I lived in Southland.
In fact, I am from Southland.
Some people say my speech is slow
I say it’s deliberate, just.
And my soul runs dark
like Southland’s slow intestinal rivers
laden with manuka dust.
And my detachment from anything plain.
Mister Hamilton is an appealing mix of elements: a base of South Island bedrock (granite, schist, greywacke) peopled with day-to-day working voices, shifts and narratives (sometimes comic, sometimes tragic), underlain with a quietly fiery political consciousness and a lyrical intensity. Sometimes all of this collides at once, as in these stanzas from the poem ‘Doubtful Sound 2’:
The first chief engineer had done his time
tunnelling through granite, the rock of rocks.
To be drenched with water, or deafened by
the sound of cherry pickers, was nothing;
when he worked at the face, he was committed
like a pig to bacon. Besides, amongst
the boys, he knew what words were for: commands
to order the world: rock is rock, isn’t it?
Shot-through with a vein of jazz, rock and blues and a religious questioning, this book takes a fresh look at the streets and lawns and people of urban and suburban ‘Pig Island’ and from that space offers some careful, wisely pitched and immensely likeable poems.
More about John Dickson
Read an extract here
The precision of Dickson’s writing is intense. - Emma Shi, NZ Booksellers
These poems are a moving celebration of what endures in the small individual life and in the human and natural world at large. Dickson’s poetry turns to the heart-work that art does, and relishes what is to be found in a lived life. This is a poet who knows passion, loss, love and the simplicity to be found in the natural world. - Patricia Prime, Takahe
He has talent to burn. - Hamesh Wyatt, Otago Daily Times