Interviews
May 16, 2019 posted by Unity Wellington

Peter Bland

Peter Bland

In the lead up to his book launch Peter sent us his literary picks. This is the first response we have received where the author has acted in his favourite book-to-film adaptation.

Peter Bland, Unity Books and The Cuba Press warmly invite you to the launch of Just Looking, a collection of Peter’s poems about painting and other visual images, drawn together for his 85th birthday. To be launched by Gregory O’Brien. 6-7:30pm Thursday 30th May. All welcome.


About the book

An avid collector of works of art, and long fascinated by how artists see the world, Peter Bland has drawn together poems for his 85th birthday that he’s written over the years about paintings and the visual image. Never the name-dropper or cultural snob, he lines up art by a child alongside art by Brueghel or Gauguin, and then takes the reader into the story of the painter or the painting, both shining new light and deepening the mystery.

About the author

Peter Bland was born in Yorkshire in 1934 and emigrated to New Zealand twenty years later, for many years dividing his time between the two countries. He was associated with the Wellington group of poets which included James K Baxter and Louis Johnson, and is now a much-loved part of the Auckland poetry scene. Peter has written plays, poems, children’s books and a memoir, and is the recipient of numerous awards for his poetry including the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Excellence.


WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING AND HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE BOOK(S)?

I’m currently reading Bob Orr’s One Hundred Poems and a Year.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WRITERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THEM?

Fernando Pessoa and John Cowper Powys. They’re both experts in what I’d call the metaphysics of the everyday.

WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli and W.S. Merwin’s Migrations: New & Selected Poems.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATION?

One of my favourites is Ian Mune’s adaption of Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s Came a Hot Friday, because I was in it and it brought me back to NZ in 1984. I’m fond of the original black and white adaptation of Dicken’s David Copperfield.

WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU RE-READ THE MOST AND WHY?

The 1953 Penguin Book of American Verse edited by Geoffrey Moore, because it introduced me to the wonderful variety, and democracy of feeling, of the American poetic voice.

WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY CHARACTER?

Toad in The Wind in the Willows.

WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN MEANING TO READ BUT STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO?

 In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. Always felt I never had the time to finish it.

WHICH THREE WRITERS WOULD YOU HAVE OVER FOR DINNER?

I’m not good at literary dinners. I like to eat with people I know, although there’s a lot anyone would like to ask Shakespeare about love, life, and his contemporaries.

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK THEM?

I’d serve fish and chips, with a nice Chablis.

HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SHELVED AND ORGANISED AT HOME?

My books are everywhere. I can never find what I want.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY QUOTE?

One of my favourite quotes is Fernando Pessoa’s “we are no more than wayfarers between what we’ve forgotten and what we don’t know.”

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