Life, landscapes explored in ‘View from the South’

Novelist and poet Owen Marshall (pictured) and artist­photographer Grahame Sydney will dis­cuss their new book View from the South in a session at Dunedin City Library this Sunday. Photo: Reg Graham
Novelist and poet Owen Marshall (pictured) and artist­photographer Grahame Sydney will dis­cuss their new book View from the South in a session at Dunedin City Library this Sunday. Photo: Reg Graham
Southern life and landscapes are explored in a new book of poetry and photographs by poet and novelist Owen Marshall and artist­photographer Grahame Sydney.

Launched this month, View from the South features about 150 poems, arranged in groups, illustrated with photographs by Sydney.

Marshall, of Timaru, is a novelist, short story writer, poet and anthologist who has published more than 30 books. View from the South is his fourth collection of poetry.

‘‘An interesting thing about poetry is that it is particularly subjective,’’ Marshall said.

Whether it hit its target would depend on the connection to the reader.

The poetry showcased in View from the South was ‘‘fortunate to be enhanced and enlivened by Grahame’s images’’, he said.

This, coupled with high-quality production values, made it ‘‘quite a handsome-looking book’’.

Marshall and Sydney met through a mutual friend, Central Otago writer Brian Turner.

‘‘Both of them live in Central, and I tend to be a regular visitor,’’ Marshall said.

The cover of View From The South - poems by Owen Marshall and photographs by Grahame Sydney.  Photo: Supplied
The cover of View From The South - poems by Owen Marshall and photographs by Grahame Sydney. Photo: Supplied
A long-standing admiration for Sydney’s paintings inspired him to bring the poetry and images together, Marshall said.

‘‘Graeme has wonderfully enshrined the Otago landscape through his paintings.

‘‘I thought it would be nice to not only have images in the book to highlight and give perspective, but as a sign of the comradeship and the similar view that we share — not only of landscape and place, but of life in general.’’

Marshall has always been a keen poetry reader, but his emphasis in his career has mainly been on prose — novels and short stories.

In the past 15 years, he has begun to write more poetry as a challenge.

‘‘I’m always curious; I’m always learning and developing skills — it’s good to challenge yourself as a writer.’’

★ Owen Marshall and Grahame Sydney will discuss View from the South with 2012 Burns Fellow and award-winning poet Majella Cullinane in a free session this Sunday, August 26, from 2pm on the fourth floor of Dunedin City Library.

The event is hosted by Dunedin Public Libraries and the University Book Shop, in association with publishers Penguin Random House.

BRENDA.HARWOOD@thestar.co.nz

Add a Comment