24 September 2008

Boat People, my first poetry collection

Boat People is my first poetry collection. It was published in 2002 by HeadworX, the year after my first short fiction collection, Extreme Weather Events. There are forty poems in Boat People. The book is divided into four sections. As the HeadworX publicity blurb says:

"Boat People" is in four sections. The first is inspired by the poet's childhood in Southland and adolescence in Otago. The second focuses on the Wellington region, and includes poems about the poet's experiences of fatherhood. Section III takes in Russia - Tim Jones speaks Russian and has a longstanding interest in the country - while Section IV journeys to the alternate world of time and space also depicted in "Extreme Weather Events".

A number of poems from Boat People dealing with parenting have already been posted on this blog. Here's one more poem from Boat People, a personal favourite.


A hard day's plotting gives a man a thirst.
For Lenin, it's something dark and strong,
a Black Mac for his blackest moods
Trotsky can't decide: maybe an Export
maybe something brewed with ice.

"V. I. -"
"Wait on, Leon, just the dregs to go." A pause,
the glug and swish of beer. "Aaah. That's better.
You were saying?"

Trotsky looks up, face serious
above a thin moustache of foam. "V. I.,
why don't we just take over?
The Tsar could never stop us. He's
still chugging Lion Red from cans."

It's settled. Trotsky will inspire the workers
Lenin will fuel the revolution
with crates of Lowenbrau
smuggled in from Zurich by sealed train

Drink deep, Leon. Bottoms up, Vladimir Illyich.
Life will never look this simple or this clear again.

Boat People
got some good reviews and I usually read a selection of poems from it when I do poetry readings. If you’d like a copy, you can order it from me for $5 plus postage & packing (in NZ, p&p will be $2, making a grand total of $7 for the book. I'll need to work out the postage & packing for other territories). Please send an email to senjmito@gmail.com saying you'd like a copy, and we'll take it from there.

UPDATE: One of the poems in Boat People, "Fallen", is appearing in Wildes Licht, ed Dieter Riemenschneider, an anthology of New Zealand poetry translated into German. It should be coming out in October.

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