New shape to poet's collection

GOOD STUFF: Wellington-based poet Louise Wallace’s third poetry collection, Bad Things, is now available at Muirs Bookshop. The former Gisborne woman was the 2015 Robert Burns Fellow in Dunedin, and represented New Zealand at the Mexico City Poetry Festival last year.

A KERERU and a waxeye flanking a kokako in a rowboat surrounded by darkness feature on the cover of poet and former Gisborne woman Louise Wallace’s collection of poetry, Bad Things.

The kereru holds a lighted match so the anxious trio, including the endangered kokako, can navigate their way in the night.

“I had this image in mind,” says Wallace, who had Kimberly Andrews turn it into the cover illustration for her collection.

“There is a lot to do with oceans and boats in the collection. The illustration related to this topic and the sense of something lurking in the darkness.

“I like the contrast between the title and children’s style of illustration.”

It’s hard to say if a seam of darkness runs through the New Zealand psyche when you’re a Kiwi, says Wallace.

Darker depths of meaning can be plumbed in the poems in Bad Things. On the surface a poem such as Summer Holiday is about people flocking from the city to the coast like gulls. Like the shape of the poem on the page, pressure builds as it reaches the line “This is the red zone for tsunami” and continues to build before subsiding to an almost agoraphobic note.

“I’ve tried in this book to be more experimental with form,” says Wallace. “In my first book I was trying to find my voice in poetry. I’ve found that and it’s freed up experimentation with form.

“Once I mentioned the tsunami I wanted to push that shape.”

Louise Wallace is the founder and editor of online journal Starling. Gisborne writers up to 25 years old are welcome to submit work, says Wallace.

Visit www.starlingmag.com/submissions for guidelines.


A KERERU and a waxeye flanking a kokako in a rowboat surrounded by darkness feature on the cover of poet and former Gisborne woman Louise Wallace’s collection of poetry, Bad Things.

The kereru holds a lighted match so the anxious trio, including the endangered kokako, can navigate their way in the night.

“I had this image in mind,” says Wallace, who had Kimberly Andrews turn it into the cover illustration for her collection.

“There is a lot to do with oceans and boats in the collection. The illustration related to this topic and the sense of something lurking in the darkness.

“I like the contrast between the title and children’s style of illustration.”

It’s hard to say if a seam of darkness runs through the New Zealand psyche when you’re a Kiwi, says Wallace.

Darker depths of meaning can be plumbed in the poems in Bad Things. On the surface a poem such as Summer Holiday is about people flocking from the city to the coast like gulls. Like the shape of the poem on the page, pressure builds as it reaches the line “This is the red zone for tsunami” and continues to build before subsiding to an almost agoraphobic note.

“I’ve tried in this book to be more experimental with form,” says Wallace. “In my first book I was trying to find my voice in poetry. I’ve found that and it’s freed up experimentation with form.

“Once I mentioned the tsunami I wanted to push that shape.”

Louise Wallace is the founder and editor of online journal Starling. Gisborne writers up to 25 years old are welcome to submit work, says Wallace.

Visit www.starlingmag.com/submissions for guidelines.


Bad Things, VUP $25. Available at Muirs Bookshop.

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