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Hamish Wyatt wraps up a recent selection of poetry collections: Humphrey Bogart's Great Sacrifice, by Kevin Ireland; A Fugitive Presence, by Peter Bland; and A World Without Maps, by Jane Simpson.
HUMPHREY BOGART’S GREAT SACRIFICE
Steele Roberts, pbk
Kevin Ireland lives in Devonport. Humphrey Bogart's Great Sacrifice is his 23rd collection of poems.
His first book was Face to Face (Pegasus, 1963). Over the years he has served up short, concise poems full of introspection, regret and rumination.
This latest slim volume contains 41 poems. This is a simmering, ambitious little treat. Ireland avoids the cosy and stylish to say something with meaning.
"Exotic'' finds Ireland writing a poem for Peter Bland. Ireland is 83 years old and hits on themes such as death, memories, loss and nostalgia. "Whatever happened to our paradise?'' concludes:
So what happened to weaken our grip
at the very moment that we reached out
to grab hold of paradise? Where did all our
hawk-eyed, kill-joy, herring-gutted guardians go?
This new collection is worth a look.
A FUGITIVE PRESENCE
Steele Roberts, pbk
Peter Bland turns 83 himself next month. A Fugitive Presence is his 16th book of poems.
Bland still mourns for his wife in "Half-closed doors''. He also tries to kick-start a roundabout back to life. Like Ireland, Bland writes a very personal viewpoint.
This is another excellent volume of poems produced by Steele Roberts.
I caught the boat to nowhere:
I caught the boat to nowhere.
There was nowhere else to go.
I sailed across a schoolboy map
and found a distant shore.
But one plus one
do not make two
for those who move their ground.
The winds of change
simply clear a space
where everything is new.
As Porkpie comes out at the movies, it was Peter Bland who starred alongside Billy T James in Came a Hot Friday in 1985. This is good stuff.
A WORLD WITHOUT MAPS
Interactive Press, pbk
Jane Simpson has had poems published in New Zealand and Australian anthologies.
She lives in Christchurch and it is here she writes of home and family.
A World Without Maps has a real haunting feel. "where zebra crossed'':
a grain of sand the smallest bone
the tooth of an ancient
rat in Al Gharbia
scientists study on the bridge
when the Himalayas
If you are fingering a few scars of your own, you will be fine reading through these poems.
Hamesh Wyatt lives in Bluff. He reads and writes poetry.