Friday, 1 November 2013 9:35am
In the afternoon, peasant women set up shop
beside their street-side fish smokers.
Look, she said, from here you can see
where the mountain range begins ...
And I wondered: what’s the use
being a tourist in a place like this?
It’s like bathing in clothes,
kissing a lover through a handkerchief.
– from ‘Lake Baikal’
As the Verb Tenses is the work of a reflective and sensitive poetic talent: one run with gleaming wires of joy. In poems that gather together the vivid details of childhood memory, the surreal juxtapositions of life in the contemporary West, the wry observations of a temporary expatriate, the deeply lodged pain of historical and personal loss, Lynley Edmeades speaks to us in delicately spun lines that press out ironies, dissonances and profound formative experience.
From playful, rhythmical poems about the art of dinner conversation, to warm glimpses of intimacy, she lays poetry’s table with the knife of light satire, the bright salt of wit, the heady wine of love, the bread of knowledge.
This quietly poised, confident first collection has a musical, emotional and thematic range of a substantial new talent.
What a fine reminder this collection is, of how language is what memory is played on, and gives the moment its flair, its resonance, its abiding form. I admire As the Verb Tenses for how the past and the present so vividly ring in lines of such clarity and precision and deft witty assessing. As wine buffs like to put it, I was held by its immediate impact, as much as by its maturity and depth.
– Vincent O’Sullivan
LYNLEY EDMEADES was born in Putaruru. Her poetry, reviews and academic writing have been published in New Zealand, the US, Europe and Australia. In 2011 she completed an MA at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is currently completing a doctoral thesis at the University of Otago, looking at sound in avant-garde poetics. She lives in Dunedin with her partner and her cat.
Paperback, 150 x 230 mm, 64 pages, ISBN 978 1 927322 25 3, $25