Beckford Ritchie reviews He Waiata Wawata, by Antony Deaker.
Book launches, like exhibition openings, can attract all kinds of waifs and
strays for free drinks and nibbles, and when the wine runs out the art,
largely ignored, is left in peace. At the launching of Antony Deaker's book
of poetry *He Waiata Wawata*, we were in a bar, drinks were not free, and
the art imposed its own peace. His recitations flowed, not unlike the river
which flows through many of his poems:
*My heart is the cup of tea*
*the river spilled in your lap.*
It is a rare to hear a poet who can read his own poetry well; who can run
with the flow of his own words so that the meaning is not obscured by pauses
and inflections in all the wrong places, and whose conversational tone
allows the real spirit of his words to speak for itself in Zen-like puzzles,
awes and whimsies. His writing has no sharp edges, all rounded smooth like
*I noticed the trees dancing *
*and the way some rocks *
*seem to love the water more than others.*
There are a few definitions of poetry. Was it Coleridge said poetry is
the best words in their best order? I believe poetry is words evoking more
than the sum of their parts. These poems fit this definition as well as the
first; in these stanzas there are spaces in which fantails can flutter, or
whole philosophies can hide, as in the sage poetry traditions of ancient
Japan and China.
He Waiata Wawata comes in a very limited edition of fifty, yes 50, and there
are not many left. Manually case-bound by Dean Havard, each is decorated in
a genuine monotype by Peter McLaren. Furthermore the cover and title page
are printed by hand-set type on a platen press; so you see, the production
is a work of art in its own right.
He Waiata Wawata
Kilmog Press, P.O. Box 1562, Dunedin.
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