Relevant, radical and entertaining

Life & Customs is Bernadette Hall's 10th book of poetry.

Hall was born in Alexandra and taught Latin and classical studies in several high schools. She is an award-winning poet who lives in North Canterbury. Hall has won a series of scholarships and been to the Antarctic and Ireland.

This latest book begins and ends in Otago. As always, Hall gives the reader ambitious, imaginative and momentous thoughts. She mixes them in a series of stories and fables. Often Hall is deadly serious and also subversively funny. Hall has a unique sense of wonder and hope, a way with words.

''A simple imperial measure'':

The sky is all silver and grey,
the sun streams white,
the clouds (the water-bearers)
look like bruises or like gathers
in a hooped organza skirt,
a Quaker dress perhaps,
of stubborn elegance.
Caesar was the 'father
of the nation' so they say,
in more than one way,
and Livia was a murdering bitch.

This little book is relevant, radical and entertaining. It will make you grin like a child.

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

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