broadsheet 19 features Peter Bland

The latest issue of broadsheet, no.19, May 2017, features the major New Zealand poet Peter Bland, recipient of the 2011 New Zealand Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry.

The issue includes tributes by friends and colleagues and celebrates his contribution to New Zealand poetry.

Others included are: Fleur Adcock, Gordon Challis, Glenn Colquhoun, Marilyn Duckworth, Riemke Ensing, Michael Harlow, Kevin Ireland, Louis Johnson, Kapka Kassabova, Bob Orr, Vincent O’Sullivan, A G Pettet (Australia), Gus Simonovic, Elizabeth Smither, C K Stead.

Editor Mark Pirie writes in the Preface:

“Peter Bland (actor/writer) is one of the major New Zealand poets, and the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry in 2011. He was first known to me as an actor in Came a Hot Friday (1985) with comedian Billy T James, which I saw as a teenager. His poetry I discovered at age 19, when reading through an anthology in my father’s library: Recent Poetry in New Zealand (1965). The poets in this selection certainly interested me in writing poetry myself. James K Baxter, Louis Johnson, Fleur Adcock, Peter Bland, Alistair Campbell, Kendrick Smithyman, Gordon Challis and C K Stead were firm favourites. Peter’s lively poems of anger and experience spoke to me, with a suburban and domestic outlook, accessible and well crafted. Poems like ‘Death of a Dog’ live with me still.

I never expected to be featuring/publishing Peter, 20 something years on from first reading him, let alone some of the poets he has invited to be in this issue with him, who I first read in that above-mentioned anthology. It’s nice to make this issue a tribute to Peter’s poetry and contribution to our literature.

Peter has kindly sent a brief note as an introduction:

I’ve been writing poetry for over 60 years, so I’ve lived through all sorts of literary fashions and arguments that, at the time, seemed absolutely necessary to encounter, and probably were, particularly in terms of belonging, where the here-and-now of lived experience is the active field for all sorts of poetic possibilities, and is as open to the wayfarer as it is to the tribal chief, though both will inhabit it differently. But literary theories are nothing more than stimuli, and valuable as these are the origins of poetry are more elemental, primal, even sacred, than that. The Argentinian poet Borges admits that there’s a need among poets ‘to be familiar with the renowned uncertainties of metaphysics,’ but only in order to make the best use of staying open to experience, and ‘to help pass on what we don’t know as much as what we do.’ The sources of poetry are as ancient as cave paintings and the modern poet still has to have something of the shaman left in him in order to be able to indulge in a little cave talk and to commune alone with the deeper sources of his imagination.

Thanks to those who contributed to Peter’s issue and shared my feelings for celebrating his impressive oeuvre in New Zealand poetry.

A few poets outside the feature are included: A G Pettet from Brisbane, an editor of the international Bareknuckle Poet series, and Gus Simonovic from Auckland, an innovative entrepreneur, publisher and poet.

Mark Pirie, Wellington, May 2017″


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