In the landscapes, streetscapes and skyscapes of a young country, a twenty-first century poet meets a nineteenth-century photographer.
Young Country is a book of poems by twenty-first-century writer Kerry Hines alongside images of colonial New Zealand life by nineteenth-century photographer William Williams. Here, wry, plainspoken but haunting poems sit alongside evocative photographs of settlement: landscapes, streetscapes, skyscapes; the escapades of a trio of flatmates; portraits of family and friends; burnt bush and rising buildings. Whether imagined or actual, in this 'young country; / people are an occasion', and the book features many figures: Williams and his housemates Tom and Alex; ethnographer Elsdon Best; notorious criminals and the judges who sentenced them; the mythic creature Shellycoat who accompanied the Scottish settlers; wives, prostitutes and 'hallelujah lassies'; and visiting professor Robert Wallace who cast an outsider view on this new society. The stunning photographs and poems of Young Country combine to offer a meditation on how we capture the present and re-present the past, on the parallels between building a community and authoring a text, and on the possibilities that expansive fiction offers to documented truth.
Author More about Kerry Hines
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Kerry’s poems do take you back in time where men are catching eels, felling trees, smoking pipes, drinking whiskey, tenting, pondering the meaning of life, being alone. What of the women? I especially loved the multifaceted portraits of the women. There are the wives, the mothers — but then, the surprise of the butcher’s wife who darns a man’s hand. - Paula Green, NZ Poetry Shelf
How we live now overlays how we lived then… This is worth reading. - Paula Green, NZ Poetry Shelf
Kerry Hines looks at intimate relationships and public personas. Scottish settlers, wives and prostitutes all appear. - Hamesh Wyatt, Otago Daily Times