Saturday, August 06, 2011

New Poet Laureate


Ian Wedde is the next New Zealand Poet Laureate.

I used to work with Ian way back in the 70s, when we were both posties (postmen, to the uninitiated). I don't know that we ever had much to do with each other - it was the musicians among the posties who tended to clan together rather than the poets....although I had gotten to know another poet, Brent Southgate, when I was a postie before I went to England - back in the 60s. He's the brother of the well-known conductor, Bill Southgate, who I knew a little earlier on here in Dunedin music circles, and who coincidentally arrived back in NZ on the same day that my wife and I did, when I returned from England. Both of us stood listening to a race commentary on the radio, having forgotten the unique quality of that NZ sound.

There, that'll do for the name-dropping today.

I've read Wedde's poetry in the past and it hasn't greatly appealed, but either he's moved on from the kind of poetry that didn't appeal to me, or I've moved on....his Harry Martens is typically Wedde in its use of language yet more readable than what I remember from the past. Perhaps solid doses of denser Les Murray poems over the years have made me more aware of what Wedde's doing, and maybe it's time to come to him afresh.
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