I am first person to admit that I’m often rude about poets. Since I’ve been working with the talented Julie Beveridge (Home is Where the Heartache Is), I’ve become better … although I’m not going to stop making jokes about people who exhaust themselves spending a day trying to work out where to put a comma. The day Jules explained to me that a semi-colon in poetry says ‘There’s more, but I’m not telling you what it is’ made me regard the artform with a bit more respect.
But! As I said, I’ve become better. Last night as a work-related event, I attended the launch for the new Queensland Poet-in-Residence, Hinemoana Baker (http://www.hinemoana.co.nz/). Now I tend to equate Mandatory Poetry with Involuntary Luge – you get no choice in the matter and it can scare the living crap out of you, but sometimes, just sometimes you have an epiphany (instead of a coronary).
Last night’s event was such a moment. Hinemoana has the voice of an angel (admittedly, an angel who spends time in bars), her use of words is sublime, she mixes music with her poetry … all in all the word ‘confection’ seems far too fluffy to describe the experience you get … but I must stick with confection until I find a thesaurus and stumble upon a better word.
It’s a tribute to her talent that her first collection matuhi/needle was published as a collaboration between Victoria University Press in NZ and Perceval Press in the US, Viggo Mortensen’s publishing house. (Yes, that Viggo Mortensen – how much does his cool factor rocket through the roof now?)
Go to her website – there are listen-y bits there http://www.hinemoana.co.nz/. In short: she rocks.