Unity Books Wellington and Auckland University Press warmly invite you to attend the combined launch of
HOW TO LIVE by Helen Rickerby
AUP New Poets 5:
Carolyn DeCarlo, Sophie van Waardenberg, Rebecca Hawkes
Wednesday 7th August, 6-7:30pm
Unity Books Wellington, 57 Willis St
ABOUT ‘HOW TO LIVE’
A new poetry collection that takes readers among ‘the unsilent women’, from Hipparchia to J. K. Rowling.
‘Women who speak have always been monstrous. That twisty sphinx, those tempting sirens; better plug your ears with wax, boys.’
Where are the female philosophers? Why are women silenced? Who can tell us how to live? In her fourth collection of poetry, Helen Rickerby takes readers on a journey into women’s writing, a quest for philosophical answers, and an investigation of poetic form.
The poems in How to Live engage in a conversation with ‘the unsilent women’ – Hipparchia and George Eliot, Ban Zhao and Mary Shelley. They do so in order to explore philosophical and practical questions: how one could or should live a good life, how to be happy, how to not die, how to live. Rickerby thinks through the ways that poetry can build up and deconstruct a life, how the subtext and layers inherent in poetry can add to the telling of a life story, and how different perspectives can be incorporated into one work – the place where poetry meets essay, where fiction meets non-fiction, where biography meets autobiography, where plain-speaking meets lyricism, where form pushes against digression.
The work is witty (‘Perhaps I should ban “perhaps”.’) and self-reflexive (‘Am I afraid that if I let the words leak out, they’ll mix with oxygen and become prose?’) as Rickerby draws on the intensity, symbolism and layering of poetic form, using poetry as a space of exploration of ideas, of thinking, of essaying.
‘Helen Rickerby’s How to Live is a collection of witty and readable poems on the poetic and philosophical questions inherent in the title, especially as they relate to the lives of women writers, and it is a bold experiment in the boundaries of poetic form.’ – Lydia Wevers
‘Helen Rickerby brings contemporary and historical feminisms up close and heartbreaking, in a tradition that includes Anne Carson and Anna Jackson. Revelatory and ebullient, warm and intimate, these poems ring with finely worded clarity.’ – Anne Kennedy
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Rickerby is a writer, editor and publisher. She has published three previous poetry collections, most recently Cinema (Mākaro Press, 2014), and her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page (Godwit, 2012). Rickerby was co-managing editor of literary journal JAAM from 2005–15 and single-handedly runs Seraph Press, a boutique but increasingly significant publisher of New Zealand poetry.
ABOUT ‘AUP NEW POETS 5’
In a New Zealand poetry scene overflowing with energy, the return of AUP New Poets introduces three extraordinary new voices.
Launched in 1999, AUP New Poets first introduced readers to Anna Jackson, Sonja Yelich, Janis Freegard, Chris Tse and many more significant New Zealand voices. Relaunching this year under the editorship of Anna Jackson and with a bold new look, AUP New Poets 5 includes substantial selections from the poetry of Carolyn DeCarlo, Sophie van Waardenberg and Rebecca Hawkes.
In poems about limpets and mangroves, beauty and hunger, ‘love, actually’ and earthquake preparedness, the poets’ work stands out for its fierce intelligence, formal command and dazzling vivacity. AUP New Poets 5 is the perfect introduction to the lively diversity of New Zealand poetry today.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Carolyn DeCarlo lives in Aro Valley in Wellington, New Zealand, with her partner and cats. She has a BA from Georgetown University and an MFA from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of four chapbooks, most recently Green Place (Enjoy Journal, 2015) and Bound: An Ode to Falling in Love (Compound Press, 2014), which she co-wrote with Jackson Nieuwland and won Best Literary Zine at the 2015 Auckland Zinefest. She is a founding member of the Wellington-based reading collective, Food Court. Her passions include film, art, tattoos and plants.
Sophie van Waardenberg was born in London and grew up in Auckland. She has a BA in English and history from the University of Auckland, and will soon be studying towards her MFA at Syracuse University. Her work has been published in Starling, Mimicry, Best New Zealand Poems and The Spinoff. She spends a lot of time browsing socks on the internet.
Rebecca Hawkes grew up on a high-country farm near Methven and now works, writes and paints in Wellington city. She holds an honours degree in media studies and an MA in creative non-fiction from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. Her poetry has been published in Sport, Landfall, Starling, Turbine, Sweet Mammalian, RNZ and Mayhem. She can usually be found writing, painting or painstakingly catching insects to feed her pitcher plant.
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