Sunday, April 11, 2010


Bill Manhire's new book of poetry, Victims of Lightning (VUP 2010).

More indispensable poetry from Bill Manhire. Here's another beautiful generous book to treasure.

One of the joys of reading such a great poet is that lightning does strike more than once in close proximity.

Generally within the pages of a slim volume, even with a good poet, there are only a few truly memorable pieces to be found. (Even that is an achievement, and well worth the effort on the part of poet and reader.)

But with Manhire, you have a very high strike rate.

Baby boomers will especially love the poem '1950s', a catchy litany that runs deeper than it seems at first sight.

(Alongside the nostalgia of recalling invisible ink and the View-Master and the school milk and playing Ludo and viewing Cinerama, there are some phenomena that not all of us had daily experience of, for instance, "Alcoholics".)

And it seems that the poet has built up such a compelling rhythm, that he has burst into song, and so this new book provides us with a section of lyrics.



shutterfreak said...

stunning picture

The Paradoxical Cat said...

The photograph is a "Scene in the Dannevirke district [New Zealand] 1911" and is from the collection at the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.

The title "Victims of Lightning" is taken from a quote by Randall Jarrell: "A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times; a dozen or two dozen times and he is great."