Hera Lindsay Bird
|Author:||Hera Lindsay Bird|
Before this book was published I was asked to interview Hera at last year’s Nelson Readers and Writers Festival. She had already achieved an enviable notoriety through the publication of some of her poems on-line, but by the time of the festival she had burst fully and extravagantly upon the world, with The Guardian and iD according her the responsibility of resuscitating poetry for a new generation. The ambiguity of being a phenomenon at risk of being overshadowed by an epiphenomenon is entirely appropriate to Bird’s poetry: just as the book takes the name of the poet and thus becomes a replacement for the poet, throughout the book persona replaces identity, poetry replaces experience (“Writing poetry about fucking / When you could be fucking / Is the last refuge of the stupid.”), and the authentic and the ironic are revealed to be reflexive halves of an unstable whole. Often painfully funny, the poems leap across and back over existential vacuums (so to call them), revealing and reconcealing to great effect the kinds of experiences seldom thought of as literary and lampooning those that are. The book’s cover is perfect: the poet on a parched lawn dressed for rain. Bird throughout demonstrates the virtues of being inappropriately prepared: “I wrote this book, and it is sentimental / Because I don’t have a right-sized reaction to the world. / To write a book is not a right-sized reaction.”
Bird turns her prescient eye on love and loss, and what emerges is like a helicopter in fog... or a bejewelled Christmas sleigh, gliding triumphantly through the contemporary aesthetic desert... this is at once an intelligent and compelling fantasy of tenderness... heartbreaking and charged with trees... without once sacrificing the forest.
Whether you are masturbating luxuriously in your parent's sleepout... or pushing a pork roast home in a vintage pram... this is the book for you... heroically and compulsively stupid... whipping you once again into medieval sunlight. But you know, do whatever you like lol
Jesse Mckay Best First Book Award for Poetry - Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017.
'I think there's a pretty strong case which suggests Hera Lindsay Bird is like the most exciting newish poet in NZ.' -Steve Braunias
'Hi, dear, have to say how much we enjoyed, if right word, the Hate poem. Really made us think, loved the line about the ancient cannon.' -text message from Ashleigh Young's mum
'I think there's a pretty strong case which suggests Hera Lindsay Bird is like the most exciting newish poet in NZ.' -Steve Braunias 'Hi, dear, have to say how much we enjoyed, if right word, the Hate poem. Really made us think, loved the line about the ancient cannon.' -text message from Ashleigh Young's mum