Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A velvet fist in an iron glove



Ah, what a pleasure - a really good new book of poems to read. The Worm in the Tequila by Geoff Cochrane, one of the finest New Zealand poets writing today.

OK I should here declare an interest and admit that I got an advance copy. I don't know the author at all well but all the same this book delivered an almighty buzz for me in that I do have a small walk-on part in one of the poems!

(I doubt that I'll ever publish a novel or a book of poems myself, but due to the company I keep, the list of books is growing where I appear in the background as an "extra".)

Woohoo! But even before the shock of stumbling over my own name, I was humming with Cochrane's compelling sense of rhythm - he has the true poet's ear.

So much of our verse is tone deaf in comparison.

The music the music.

One of the pleasures of reading Cochrane is his virtuosity with the one-liner. Courtesy of his work, I've added a brace of new proverbs and sayings and just wonderful lines, to my repertoire.

But he's not just smart and succinct. He can also haul out the big guns when he wants to.

All of life becomes a poem. The style and the sound of it seeming random, but tracing the mind and the imagination.

Some gems from this new book:

I like to use my stapler. I staple this to that with a tinny blenk and feel I'm making progress.

(from 'An Italian Notebook')

And:

Being me is hard. Or easy. Or hard.

(from 'August: a Broadsheet')

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