Confident and swaggering poetry not for everyone

HALCYON GHOSTS<br><b>Sam Sampson</b><br><i>Auckland University Press</i>
HALCYON GHOSTS<br><b>Sam Sampson</b><br><i>Auckland University Press</i>
Sam Sampson was born in Auckland and grew up in Titirangi.

His poetry has been widely published in journals and chapbooks.

Sampson's first collection Everything Talks (AUP, 2008) won the Best First Book Award for Poetry in 2009. This is his second. Sampson does not write poems with a strict structure.

Thoughts layer, link and break apart.

He keeps using personal, literary and cinematic connections in this latest effort. There are five ghostly counterpoints of birds and words in flight among these 13 new poems.

I like Sampson's confidence and swagger. He is clever in his ''The Tombstone Epitaph'':

a cowboy on his horse props up the horizon.
fourteen hundred dollars and a faro layout were found in his room

the horizon
on his horse a cowboy propped up
'The Epitaph' gives an account of the killing ('The Tucson Daily Citizen' indorses the news) while no particulars are published the whole story is too well known to require repetition ...

In saying this, not everyone will like it, nor understand quickly and clearly what he is getting at.

- Hamesh Wyatt lives in Bluff. He reads and writes poetry.

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