Steve Braunias will be in-store on Monday 12th November 2018, 12-12:45pm, as he introduces his new poetry anthology THE FRIDAY POEM: 100 NEW ZEALAND POEMS. With readings from contributing poets Dame Fiona Kidman, Bill Manhire, Joy Holley, James Brown & Tayi Tibble.
Below is a little information about The Friday Poem, author bio and Steve’s author interview answers.
ABOUT THE BOOK
An anthology of new New Zealand verse, which first appeared in the popular Friday Poem slot on The Spinoff website. It features some of the most well-known and established names in New Zealand poetry as well as new, exciting writers.
Steve Braunias serves as editor of the Spinoff Review of Books. He is a staff writer at the New Zealand Herald, appears to be life president of the Hamilton Press Club, and is the author of nine books. Steve was born in Tauranga in 1960.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING AND HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE BOOK(S)?
The last thing I read was on a family holiday in October, when I took a pocket edition of Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield (Oxford, 1961) from the bookcase – I’d never really read her before, and the Stories were one of the most intensely felt reading pleasures of my life. She was so awful, so pitiless, so funny, so artful, a genius, with so many beautiful details and those opening sentences which begin the story somewhere around the middle.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WRITERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THEM?
Golly – too many – I don’t really have a chart with anyone at the top – but the ones who leap to mind in answer to the question are Patricia Highsmith (all those mean, forensic novels of sexual failing and murder), Elmore Leonard (his cowboy novels), Francoise Sagan (the best love stories I’ve ever read), Paul Theroux (I wish he’d come back to New Zealand and hate it all over again), David Foster Wallace (the footnotes!), Graham Greene (the characters and locations, the sentences and the full colons), and Katherine Mansfield.
WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?
Cattleman (Readers Book Club, 1962), a cowboy novel by Australian author RS Porteous – he wears an eyepatch in his author photo.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATION?
The Swimmer – John Cheever’s 1964 short story about a man who attempts to navigate his way across the county one summer’s morning by swimming in all his neighbour’s pools, made into a black-and-white film with Burt Lancaster in 1968.
WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU RE-READ THE MOST AND WHY?
Best: An Intimate Biography by Michael Parkinson (Hutchinson, 1975). I always regard this as the best, most vivid evocation of genius I’ve ever read. Parkinson wrote his biography of Best when the great football player was only just beginning his long, actually largely happy slide into alcoholic stupor; his career wasn’t quite over, and so the memory of his incredible performances are fresh and arrogant.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY CHARACTER?
Tess, from the Thomas Hardy novel. Her last words are: “I am ready.”
WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN MEANING TO READ BUT STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO?
Mommy Dearest (Morrow, 1978), the seething memoir about the actress Joan Crawford, written by her adopted daughter.
WHICH THREE WRITERS WOULD YOU HAVE OVER FOR DINNER?
Katherine Mansfield, Sylvia Plath, and WH Auden.
WHAT WOULD YOU COOK THEM?
I’d order in Dominos Pizza.
HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SHELVED AND ORGANISED AT HOME?
There’s a small bookcase of miscellanous books upstairs that shares a shelf with the tropical fish tank; the main bookcase in the lobby has two shelves of fiction, two of New Zealand books, two of poetry, and the rest divided into essays, biography and other forms of non-fiction; a lot of my favourite books (PG Wodehouse, football books) line my study; there’s miscellaneous things in the garage, too, and I like dipping into those while standing by the car.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY QUOTE?
“Slow minds, hasty typewriters” – Nabokov.