Monday 16 January 2023 11:44am
Deep colour, the words for it are out of range –
That much I can tell you. What I cannot say
is how a life gathers its themes
– From 'Deep Colour'
Deep Colour, by acclaimed poet Diana Bridge, is a fiercely sensory and meticulously crafted collection. These poems respond with graceful precision to the immediate physical world, and meditate on time, beauty and the nature of being.
Whether remembering a friend, describing a child's first steps, or observing her surroundings – a tree, a painting, the flashing fin of a goldfish, a simple everyday object like a lamp or a bowl – Bridge is finely attuned to the here-and-now. 'While it lived,' she writes, 'it was intensity itself.'
These prismatic poems, which include some exquisite translations of poems by the fifth-century Chinese poet Xie Tiao, are fully immersed in the world, vividly alive to the dance of light and shadow, movement and stillness, sound and silence. Few poets see so clearly or write so luminously. Bridge's poems return us to the daily round with our senses heightened, our minds alert and our hearts made tender.
Deep Colour is the eighth collection by award-winning Wellington-based poet Diana Bridge. It follows Two or More Islands (Otago University Press, 2019). Bridge's many accolades include the 2010 Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry, the 2014 Landfall Essay Competition prize and the 2015 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize.
The chief judge, Irish poet Vona Groarke, described her work as 'possibly amongst the best being written anywhere right now'. The same year, Bridge was the first New Zealander since Janet Frame to take up a residency at the Writers' and Artists' Colony at Yaddo in upstate New York. In the Supplementary Garden: New and selected poems (Cold Hub Press, 2016) was longlisted for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry in the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Bridge has studied Chinese language, literature and art history and holds a PhD in Chinese poetry from the Australian National University.
Paperback, 230 x 150mm, 84pp
ISBN 9781990048548, NZD$25
IN-STORE: April 2023
Reviews and Interviews
Review: 'In her eighth collection, Diana Bridge shows again her erudition and deep interest in classical Asian culture ... These are fruitful explorations of how art follows nature and sometimes nature seems to follow art.' – Nicholas Reid reviews Deep Colour for the NZ Listener (June 24–30 2023 Issue)
Review: "I find myself musing on the way poems take root inside us, how they are undertows and slender ripples, and how they haunt and establish themselves in rooms in your mind and chambers in your heart. Deep Colour is a satisfying read that lingers, inspires and fills you with the kind of joy that arrives after slow-paced meditation. I adore it." Paula Green reviews Deep Colour by Diana Bridge for NZ Poetry Shelf Read