The Blue Coat
In The Blue Coat, Elizabeth Smither examines the quotidian and the quirky for resonance, for contemplation, for verve. Here ‘poetry has a place among other bodies’, but also in enclosed gardens, in Chinese restaurants, in margins and in memory – ‘sometimes open and hospitable, sometimes secret, behind dark hedges’.
Whimsical and tender, this latest collection demonstrates Smither’s talent for illuminating the poetry in the everyday – an out-of-season daffodil, a chipped Limoges plate. She is a master of the unfolding poem, in lines that take you from a single image to the cusp of something larger. At times meditative, at times playful, even slightly subversive, this collection impresses with a surety of word, a deft touch and a polished harmony.
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A wind that only the widest gardens can hold. A lipstick stain on a poem. A bee released – with recourse to a letter from the Inland Revenue Department. A grey sky like a governess, a mother dressed by her two-year-old son, a flurry of leaves behind a tram. Beautifully produced by Auckland University Press, The Blue Coat is perfect for mothers, grandmothers, and anyone with an interest in contemporaryy New Zealand poetry, a genre which is frankly, blooming. - Caitlin Sinclair, Booksellers NZ
Elizabeth Smither’s latest collection is a kind of tea cosy over my winter reading, with a gentle, pretty exterior containing something much more robust and satisfying within. - Caitlin Sinclair, Booksellers NZ