The Little Sublime Comedy by John Gallas (Carcanet Press, 2017), 184 pp., £11.69/$22.29; Coming to It by Sam Hunt (Potton & Burton, 2018), 208 pp., $29.99; That Derrida Whom I Derided Died by C.K. Stead (Auckland University Press, 2018), 128 pp., $29.99
Three collections of poetry, all distinctly different. Indeed, the only commonality I discern is that the poets are all older Pākehā men, even given that I have had some dealings with all three over my own reasonably lengthy lifetime.
Let’s look at the collections separately, starting with the youngest poet, John Gallas. The Little Sublime Comedy is sui generis. It parallels Dante’s Divine Comedy in terms of structure, namely a description of the hero’s moral progress through Hell on to Heaven, but here the parallel ends. Gallas sets his very clever and funny spoof/rip-off/pastiche imbroglio in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand, and the text is chock-full of solidly Kiwi expressions such as ‘buggered if I knew’, and of Kiwi kai such as bulk cheese and ham sandwiches and Minties. [Read more…]