Needs of an autistic child explored in poem

CLOUDBOY<br><b>Siobhan Harvey</b><br><i>Otago University Press</i>
CLOUDBOY<br><b>Siobhan Harvey</b><br><i>Otago University Press</i>
Cloudboy won the prestigious Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award for 2013.

Siobhan Harvey's poems have been published in magazines and anthologies at home and internationally.

Best of all, Harvey knows how to write poems of parental love that do not sound sentimental, embarrassing or twee.

Cloudboy deals with a mother's adjustments to the needs of an autistic child. These poems deal with the extremes of love and frustration.

Cloudboy writes his own version of Genesis, invents a new language, sketches intricate maps, reads Aristotle and develops an obsession with Doctor Who.

But it is all through Cloudmother, that perceptions ring true. ''Cloudboy Springs into Dying Light'':

As Tama-nui-te-ra and Marama dance,
the day turns towards heavy clouds.
Momentarily Cloudboy coaxes Cloudmother
to race, skip and shadowbox with him,
just as two rabbits cavort across
the land, lively, thumping
each other with hind-legs
before springing into dying light.

Harvey knows about the hurt and loss of children. Cloudboy proves it. I love her enormous attention to detail. This is insistent, warm, almost perfect.

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

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