The Conch Trumpet calls to the scattered tribes of contemporary New Zealand. It sounds the signal to listen close, critically and 'in alert reverie'. David Eggleton's reach of references, the marriage of high and low, the grasp of popular and classical allusion, his eye both for cultural trash and epiphanic beauty, make it seem as if here Shakespeare shakes down in the Pacific.
There are dazzling compressions of history; astonishing paeans to harbours, mountains, lakes and rivers; wrenchingly dark, satirical critiques of contemporary politics, of solipsism, narcissism, the apolitical, the corporate, with a teeming vocabulary to match. And often too a sense of the imperative, grounding reality of the phenomenal world – the thisness of things:
Cloud whispers brush daylight's ear;
fern question-marks form a bush encore;
forlorn heat swings cobbed in webs.
– from 'Nor'wester Flying'
In this latest collection David Eggleton is court jester/philosopher/lyricist, and a kind of male Cassandra, roving warningly from primeval swampland to gritty cityscape to the information and disinformation cybercloud.
DAVID EGGLETON lives in Dunedin. He has previously had published six books of poems and a book of short fiction, as well as a number of works of non-fiction. Well known as a performance poet, he's also released several poetry recordings featuring his collaborations with musicians, and been involved in poetry text collaborations with practitioners of a variety of other art forms, from sculpture to fashion design. His poetry and short stories appear in a wide range of recent anthologies.
Paperback, 170 x 225 mm, 124 pages, ISBN 978 1 877578 93 9, $25