Wild is a new collection, the sixth, from gifted and successful poet Anne French.
Though French’s voice and interests are familiar, this book pushes into new territory. The title suggests the unknown and uncultivated, the world outdoors, the distant past, the hidden power of passion, the bush and the ocean: all these aspects of the wild emerge in these poems. Travel in England brings memories of far-off Antipodean landscapes as well as links to her own family origins; it is also a setting, a new range of metaphors, for speaking about love and the changing shape of relationships. Typically witty polished poems on love and its paradoxes merge later in the book into eloquent lyrics on sailing, days and nights on the Gulf away from the burdens of the urban and the civilised.
A mature and stylish poet is here in Wild writing at her best.
More about Anne French
The title is partly ironic because French is a very civilised poet, whose work abounds in euphonious cadences, literary allusions and impressive vocabulary. But she’s also aware of the harsh lives of ancestors and knows how even seemingly tame landscape can turn suddenly inhospitable. This is highly polished verse that few poets anywhere could accomplish. – Iain Sharp, Sunday Star-Times