Common Land, by Lynn Davidson (Victoria University Press, 2012), 8 0pp., $28; Just Then, by Harry Ricketts (Victoria University Press, 2012) 64 pp., $25; The Cheese and Onion Sandwich and other New Zealand Icons, by Vivienne Plumb (Seraph Press, 2011), 56 pp., $20.
At the launch of her book of poems and essays Lynn Davidson said she feels more like herself when she is writing. Was she saying that when she finds the time to write, and read the literature that informs the work, it also affords her the space to think and feel – deeply? Probably. She has invested much in this book, which could be likened to a family’s rite of passage. Common Land is made up of three interconnected essays (‘Leaving the Is-land’, ‘Selah’ and ‘The Flame Organ Concert’) that, amongst other things, carry themes surrounding the gradual losing of the poet’s mother’s cognitive abilities, and the loss at sea of Davidson’s first partner – the father of her grown-up son. The essays are separated by runs of poems, relating to different periods in the poet’s life.