Nowhere Is Too Far Off by Peter Bland (The Cuba Press, 2020), 60pp, $25; Latitudes: New & selected poems 1954–2020 by Owen Leeming (Cold Hub Press, 2021), 144pp, $35; After Hours Trading & The Flying Squad by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman (Carbide Press, 2021), 102pp, $25
Peter Bland’s 25th collection is a testament to a lengthy poetic career. It’s a slim, modest volume, and the poems in it seem slim too—stripped back and conversational for the most part. But the quiet pace and relaxed style is a trap for the unwary. These poems pack a punch. Distilled to an essential state where every word has its place, they shift from surreal dream-states to an often startling clarity of vision.
A poet who has been publishing since the 1960s, Bland is a transplant. He arrived in New Zealand as a young man from Yorkshire, where he was born in 1934. Bland has moved between Europe and New Zealand over his life. He is a friend of Owen Leeming, but unlike Leeming he is widely published, his books appearing almost annually in the last decade. Gregory O’Brien notes a ‘luminous quality’ in Bland’s poems, which is fitting—they give a sense of small, glowing incandescent bulbs, casting out light and heat. [Read more…]