Tuesday 27 August 2019 2:52pm
In this original second collection, Lynley Edmeades turns her attention to ideas of sound, listening and speech. Listening In is full of the verbal play and linguistic experimentation that characterised her first collection, but it also shows the poet pushing the form into new territories. Her poems show, often sardonically, how language can be undermined: linguistic registers are rife with uncertainties, ambiguities and accidental comedy.
She shuffles and reshuffles statements and texts, and assumes multiple perspectives with the skill of a ventriloquist. These poems probe political rhetoric and linguistic slippages with a sceptical eye, and highlight the role of listening – or the errors of listening – in everyday communication.
Edmeades’ poems are terrifically accomplished – they show confidence and a sure, skilful handling of language, even when expressing tentative, slippery ideas and emotions. Her work is full of verbal play, celebration, pleasure and despair. This is a book where you know the poet is intensely alive to language and its possibilities – she’s always looking for another angle, another way. Edmeades’ voice is an essential one in the ‘now’ of NZ poetry. – Jenny Bornholdt
This book confirms Edmeades as both a wily and witty writer with a sure grasp of the potential for shifts of linguistic register to create telling shifts of perspective. Extracting poetry from noise with cool measured techniques, Edmeades emerges in this collection as a precise observer of the human comedy as well as a careful listener. Edmeades’ poems are alert to the phenomena of the real world, delivered with a fidelity and assurance that indicate a significant writer. Every poem in this collection is rewarding. – David Eggleton
Lynley Edmeades is a poet, essayist and scholar. Her first book of poetry, As the Verb Tenses (Otago University Press, 2016), was longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awardfor Poetry, and a finalist in the UNESCO Bridges of Struga Best First Book of Poetry. She has a PhD in avant-garde poetics, and lives in Dunedin with her partner.
Paperback, 74 pp, ISBN 9781988531786, $27.50