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Books by McQueen, Cilla

The Radio Room

ISBN: 978 1 877578 03 8

In The Radio Room, Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen travels space and time, throwing 'thought-lines' from her present-day corner of the world to the ancient Celtic islands of her ancestors ('On a cliff-top above screeching gulls I stand still thinking backwards, antipodean poet grafted from ancient taproot in this bedrock' ... 'if they spoke, what would they say? Could I understand that language at the root of my tongue?'

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Soundings

ISBN: 978 1 877276 38 5

Soundings is another landmark in the development of an important and widely read New Zealand poet. This collection continues and develops the themes of homeland and loss, colonisation and displacement that have been constantly important to McQueen.

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Markings

ISBN: 978 1 877133 92 3

In this fine collection of poems and drawings Cilla McQueen traces the lives and voyages of her ancestors, and the living history of her husband’s people. She herself travels through the fire that destroys her home at Otakou, the autoclave of the central poem, tying together the separate threads of her journey and moving from one harbour to another. The sea is a constant element and balancing this are the poet’s precisely observed images of domestic life and her fascination with the forms and inhabitants of the land.

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In a Slant Light: A poet's memoir

ISBN: 978 1 877578 71 7

In this absorbing poetic memoir of her early life, Cilla McQueen, one of New Zealand’s major women poets, leads us over the stepping stones of childhood memory, some half submerged, some strong and glinting in the light of her wit. With humour and openness, clarity and grace, the memoir continues through her teenage years and the excitement and turbulence, the expansion and vulnerability, of university days and early motherhood in the 1960s and 1970s ... raising a young child alone, falling in love with Ralph Hotere and witnessing his deeply immersive artistic practice ... This account of the life of an extraordinary verbal artist is immensely warm and welcoming: time falls away as we read. The lightness of Cilla’s touch coupled with the grit of her endurance through challenging personal circumstances makes the reader feel privileged to be invited in to the quiet wisdom worn here with both integrity and modesty. From the sweet shocks of her imagery to the joy of recognition of many shared experiences of a New Zealand childhood, this memoir brings a honeyed, sensitive yet utterly resilient voice in our local literature as close as the voice of a good friend. This is a book not only for those who love Cilla McQueen’s poetry, but for anyone fascinated by the social, artistic and literary history of New Zealand.

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Fire-Penny

ISBN: 978 1 877372 05 6

Snapshot reconstructions of life on Scotland's remote St Kilda island – ancestral home of the McQueens – open this tenth collection of poetry from Cilla McQueen. The spare life in this place of birds and sea and weather leads into a new set of poems from the poet's Bluff home, quiet observations on friends and animals, memories and dreams, and weather. Many of the reflective poems are conversational in style; one poem is written in the form of a play, and another appears at first to be a dictionary definition. Even the simplest of topics, such as eating cake or meeting a newborn baby, are taken by McQueen and transformed into thoughtful works.

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Edwin’s Egg and other poetic novellas

ISBN: 978 1 877578 13 7

Cilla McQueen was New Zealand Poet Laureate 2009–11. One of her writing projects during her time as laureate was Serial, which she described as ‘exploring a space between prose and poetry’. It was published in chapters on the Poet Laureate website. Retitled Edwin’s Egg and other poetic novellas, this work is now published for the first time in hard-copy format, combining McQueen’s evocative text with wonderful images from the collection of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

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Axis

ISBN: 978 1 877276 06 4

Cilla McQueen is one of New Zealand's major poets (New Zealand Book Award for Poetry three times). Axis is a selection of her poems from the past twenty years, drawn from five volumes of her published work: Homing In (1982), Anti Gravity (1984), Wild Sweets (1986), Benzina (1988), and Crik'ey (1993). The poems are interspersed with drawings she produced on the same themes or subjects. Also included are Cilla's musical scores: of 'singing landscapes' and 'conversations in crowded rooms', for example.

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A Wind Harp

ISBN: 1 877372 15 3

A Wind Harp features the voice and lyrics of Cilla McQueen, supported by original music from Dunedin musicians, The Blue Neutrinos.