June 11, 2019 posted by Unity Wellington

Launch | Two or More Islands | 5:45-7:30pm Thursday 20th June

Launch | Two or More Islands | 5:45-7:30pm Thursday 20th June

Unity Books Wellington & Otago University Press warmly invite you to celebrate the launch of

Two or More Islands

by Diana Bridge

Thursday 20th June, 5:45-7:30pm

Unity Books Wellington, 57 Willis St


Diana Bridge’s subjects are reflected through a range of cultural lenses. To engagement with Western and New Zealand literature should be added her immersion in the great Asian cultures of China and India. Her poetry is an intricate meshing of realities and possesses a remarkable depth and richness of perspective. These are poised, elegantly wrought poems, full of lively intelligence and verbal deftness.
Since Baxter, most New Zealand poets have shied away from the use of myth in their poetry. In this collection, Bridge mines this vein for its deeply traditional and personal resonances. She knows, as firmly as did Jung, that ‘myths give us pictures for our emotions’. Here, the poems that openly glance off myth are brief, fresh takes that centre on the heroines of Western Classical legend. They begin in an irony that is needed to cope with the sometimes shocking stories, then range through time to alight with radical brevity on Shakespeare and English history.
The refrain of the past narrows down to the notion of the family,

No one of us today is of the House of Atreus
-Just meet the Family, I say.

The book concludes with ‘The Way a Stone Falls’, 22 poems set in Southeast Asia. The sequence takes on board the Cambodian tragedy of last century by way of headless statues – taking a sideswipe at French colonialism. It confronts the hardest decision in the whole Hindu tradition, that of Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. This is how Bridge finds her way in the world – a place of trees and people and noise and contingency – with the assurance that myth tells her story as well as its own.
Vincent O’Sullivan has written:
This is a collection quite unlike almost any New Zealand poetry I can think of, one that makes its own totally justifiable demands as it achieves a level of rare impressiveness


Diana Bridge is a Wellington poet who won the Sarah Broom 2015 Poetry Prize at the Auckland Writers Festival 2015. Two or More Islands is Diana’s seventh book of poems, and eighth book. Her last volume of poetry, In the Supplementary Garden: New and Selected Poems was launched at Unity in May 2016 and was longlisted for the Poetry Prize in the 2017 Ockham Awards. She was awarded the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award in 2010, for her distinguished contribution to New Zealand poetry, and her essay, An attachment to China won the 2014 Landfall essay competition.

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