Erin Thornback



Review Short: Owen Bullock’s River’s Edge

Owen Bullock stated in his ‘The Breath of Haiku’ article in Aoeteroa that ‘the modern haiku can be about anything, not just nature’. Readers of his previous collection, Urban Haiku (Recent Work Press, 2015), will be well aware of this position.

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Review Short: Andrew Sant’s How to Proceed

The text is made up of sixteen essays, all adopting varied and general concerns, tracing a literary pilgrimage of ordinary experiences in mundane settings, from personal anecdotes of a bridge tower conductor in ‘On Employment’, to the dilemmas of commitment in ‘On Marriage’ and terminating in ‘On Curiosity’.

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Erin Thornback Reviews Andrew Lansdown

Through a series of visual and textual explorations, Andrew Lansdown’s Kyoto Sakura Tanka creates a striking depiction of the bicameral, separating his collection into kami no ku (the poet sees) and ashimo no ku (the poet wonders). The fundamental basis of Lansdown’s series is rooted in the Japanese tanka, or traditional waka: a five-line piece of poetry divided into mortas, or syllable counts, of 5/7/5/7/7.

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Review Short: Chapbooks by Mike Hopkins and Steve Brock

Displaying an impulse that is communitarian and geographic by turns, Mike Hopkins’s Selfish Bastards and Other Poems, and Steve Brock’s Jardin du Luxembourg and Other Poems address the quotidian of the present under the notion that place-based does not necessarily mean place-bound. Brock’s itinerary darts from France to Barcelona, Madrid to San Francisco, to arrival at the Hollywood hotel, taking readers beyond the physical boundaries traditionally ascribed to place and ‘on a walking tour / a literary one’.

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Review Short: Chapbooks by Alison Flett, Louise McKenna and Judy Dally

Garron Publishing’s recent ‘Southern-Land Poets’ collection is a ‘pathway                    trampled with voices’ (Vessel, by Alison Flett), intricately connected by a ‘golden thread/ still hanging from’ the readers flesh ‘like the sharp point of a stylus / forcing its message’ (The Martyrdom of Bees, by Louise McKenna).

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Erin Thornback Reviews Chris Edwards and Toby Fitch

Chris Edwards’s O Sonata dwells in the vortex of the underworld, plumbing the depths of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and resetting the entrails of Rilke’s Sonnette an Orpheus into a crossword puzzle ready for consumption. In the eponymous sequence, Edwards offers up a renewal of the Orpheus (also known as ‘the futile male’) myth to signal his reconsideration of repetition and originality as the basis of a literary revision – releasing a suite of renditions that purposely misinterpret, transliterate and obscure.

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