The View From Up There includes both stories and poems. Was it an easy decision to include both in the collection, and are you satisfied with how this combined approach has worked out?
Can you tell us about the ways you have bought Te Reo Māori and English together in your work?
Fiction is more difficult to pin down. Short stories by kiwis Owen Marshall or Maurice Duggan, and by Alice Munro and Lydia Davis. And novels by authors from many countries. The Nobel prizewinners are a good start – the Norwegian Knut Hamsun’s epic Growth of the Soil or Sigrid Undset’s even grander Kristin Lavransdatter were a great influence. Also the so-called ‘Angry Brigade’ of British writers in the 60s.
to make a grown man look fragile.
the vivacious nurse, ideal to buck up
tired spirits, except you looked a bit
too tired to be bothered with flirting
for the fun of it, despite your strength
and your manly chest - not the chest of a
middle-aged man (as they would put in the papers)
this home away from home
can only be described as looking wan.
to push you back to life and remembering
what it was like to be eating with gusto
be well again, able to race up stairs
pee over a fence and do all those things
that being in bed proscribes - a catheter
and a bed pan in the wings do inhibit
freedom of movement, of action.
you’d not be eating right away
but partly they’re there for titillation
if not for you, for Pania and her laughing eyes.
operating theatre back in the light
zest for life and use your libido in other ways?
for in the end we all have to face it alone
whatever ‘it’ is - things that stop working,
sensations that dull, appetites that get lost