“…people are realising that our frantic-paced, growth-obsessed, world-destroying capitalist society is failing to nurture us, and poetry allows us to slow down, reassess, and repair.”
Why do you think poetry is so hot right now?
I like to think that poetry is having a moment now because people are realising that our frantic-paced, growth-obsessed, world-destroying capitalist society is failing to nurture us, and poetry allows us to slow down, reassess, and repair. (But maybe people just like stuff that sounds good and poets are far better at performing their work than they used to be. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
We grow up with poetry in our lives. How does poetry shape us?
Poetry shapes us to the degree to which we let it. We soften ourselves to take its impression. This process of self-softening, this plasticity, is probably more important (from an individual’s perspective) than poetry itself.
How can poetry break its ‘hierarchical chains’ and reach new communities?
I suspect that there will always be artistic hierarchies, not least because ‘outsiders’ exclude too when they start to attain influence. The key is to have multiple centres of activity, multiple modes of practice, and poets who actually read each other even if they’re not friends. In the context of this country’s poetry, I think the literary culture would have to be a lot less Wellington-centric than it is now if the existing hierarchies were to be truly challenged.
Who are some NZ poets you think more people should be reading?
I’ll just unleash some names. Lynley Edmeades. James Norcliffe. Nick Ascroft. Paula Harris. David Gregory. I don’t think enough people read Ashleigh Young as a poet (she’s obviously read by all and sundry as an essayist). I’ve liked every Freya Daly Sadgrove poem I’ve read, and I assume that a collection will be materialising sometime in the future. And read Rebecca Nash’s new stuff (or hear it live if it’s not published yet)!