Sunday 10 February 2019 12:13pm
Longlisted for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry in the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards
In lieu of flowers, bring weeds.
Elizabeth Morton’s poems look unflinchingly at a raw and unstable world – the crash, the aftermath, the comeback, ‘the black heat at the centre of things’.
The poems in Morton’s second collection are charged with a visceral energy. This is poetry as incantation: an intense, larger-than-life, tactile experience.
Underneath the surface of the contemporary world of Pokémon, The Cosby Show and hospital cubicles, the reader is drawn into a dreamscape of creeks and bogs, a fiery meadow and the guts of the sea. A blindman circles a Minotaur; a black horse rides through the pages.
As the reader finds handholds within Morton’s poems, they may trace a dislocation between the voices here and the worlds into which they’re thrown – a strangely askew New Zealand, a mythological America, in liminal spaces where identity and meaning become blurred and uncertain.
Jammed full of want, need, despair, love and politics, these are poems of archaeology and identity – where will we dig for our selves? By what names are we called? By whom are we known? This is darkly funny, unsettling writing that strips all the meat from the bones, ‘always writing the same story’.
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ELIZABETH MORTON grew up in suburban Auckland. Her first poetry collection, Wolf, was published by Mākaro Press in 2017. She has placed, been shortlisted and highly commended for various prizes, including the 2015 Kathleen Grattan Award, and her poetry and prose have been published in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Australia, Canada and online. She has completed an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.
Paperback 230 x 150mm, 72 pp, ISBN 978 1 98 853192 2, $27.50