By Lindsay Rabbitt 

The Bengal Engine’s Mango Afterglow by Geoff Cochrane (Victoria University Press), 64pp., $25. 

We’re smoking and drinking coffee at a table outside Victoria Street Café. Geoff Cochrane’s light blue eyes project a resigned, smiley, serious sort of look, and he cocks his beaky head and recites: 

Ensanguining the skies 
How heavily it dies 
Into the west away; 
Past touch and sight and sound 
Not further to be found 
How hopeless under ground 
Falls the remorseful day. More,,,

Enclosures 2 by Bill Direen

Landfall Review Online – July 1, 2017

The reconstructed skull* on the front cover of Enclosures 2 is a fair signifier of the book’s content: floating in negative space, the skull’s fissures give the impression of coastlines, continents, isles, waterways. Also Life. And Death. For two decades Bill Direen, novelist, poet and musician, lived in and travelled between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.… More,,,

The Dreaming Land by Martin Edmond

Landfall Review Online – April 1, 2016

The Dreaming Land,’ said Martin Edmond at the launch of this memoir at Wellington’s Unity Books, ‘had its genesis in a failed manuscript.’ He’d set out to write a book about his parents’ early years together, ‘But it hadn’t worked for the obvious reason,’ he says: ‘I wasn’t there.’… More,,,

The Breathing Tree, by Apirana Taylor; The Conch Trumpet, by David Eggleton

Landfall Review Online – August 1, 2015

Packing two books of poetry into the same waka can lead to conflicting points of view, but Apirana Taylor’s The Breathing Tree and David Eggleton’s The Conch Trumpet are,with their three-word, four-syllable titles, in tune from the get-go.

Both poets, in their early 60s, have Polynesian mothers: Taylor, born in Wellington, is ‘proudly’ affiliated to Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Ngāti Ruanui; and Eggleton’s mother was born in Fiji to a Tongan mother and a Polynesian father from the village of Motusa on the island of Rotuma, which was annexed as part of the Fiji Islands colony by the British in the 19th century.… More,,,

The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing

Listener – January 16, 2014

Olivia Laing’s compassionate study of six alcoholic American writers.

“You never start out life with the intention of becoming a bankrupt or an alcoholic or a cheat and a thief. Or a liar,” confessed Raymond Carver in an interview published in the Paris Review. At the time, he was a famous writer in a happy relationship with poet Tess Gallagher, whom he met after he left his wife, Maryann, and their two children and had achieved sobriety with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12-step programme.… More,,,

Imaginary Friends

Listener – May 31 2008

Femmes fatales and animal-human creatures mingle in the other worldly landscapes of Séraphine Pick.

“Is the baby crying or yawning?” a woman asks Séraphine Pick at her exhibition of paintings After Image. It’s hard to get a word in edgeways as we walk around Waikanae’s Mahara Gallery.… More,,,

Andrew Johnston

Listener – March 24, 2007

Language and literature run in poet Andrew Johnston’s family. His father was an English lecturer and his grandfather a newspaperman. After 10 years in France, Johnston has come home and published a new book, Sol, which includes “The Sunflower”, a long, impressive elegy to his father.More,,,

Pale gorse, black diamond: THE GORSE BLOOMS PALE by Dan Davin

Listener – January 12, 2007

As a child, I enjoyed listening to my father (of Galway Irish Catholic stock) on the rare occasions he told stories about his Southland childhood. They were stories about rabbit-hunting with ferrets and ploughing his father’s farm behind a team of draught-horses, and when he talked about his grandparents he slipped into their Irish brogue. More,,,