Friday, January 18, 2008


I'd not normally do this

Deborah reports that Hone Tuwhare has passed away. I'm not hugely familiar with his work, but what I know of it I liked a lot. I also get the feeling that his passing marks the beginning of an end for an era. The world doesn't seem to be producing poets of his ilk any more. In honour of Tuwhare's passing, I'm going to lift a meme, which I don't normally do. John at Evolving Thoughts has one going about poems that stick in your head. I've memorised a few poems in my time, but most of them I had to sit down with for an extended period of time. The things that stick in my head are snatches, short sections that roll of the tongue. I'm a firm believer that poetry is a spoken art form. Hone Tuwhare had a great deep Maori voice that rumbled over the vowels of "Oh, tree..." liked a seasoned orator. There are a couple of poems by Sam Hunt that have snatches like that. From No exit:

Egmont dropping the the rear view mirror, as you drive drunk with all love lost in mind.

I don't condone drink-driving, of course. But I don't condone reading that to yourself, either: stand up and let that lovely alliteration roll of your tongue. I feel the same way about Conrad, incidentally, but people seem to think that's odd. One more piece of Hunt (from Naming the Gods) might, I think, make a fitting end to an obituary.

Ruamoko, earthquake god.

Not that a man dare answer back to a god like that,
Instead fall,
Hug if he can in her turning,
Mother Earth in her pain

There's more. You can go find the book and read if yourself. Aloud.

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