On Hera Lindsay Bird

Stephanie Burt

Poetry from New Zealand right now often reflects the nation’s sense of itself: friendly and co-operative, gently ironic, quiet or reserved. This style has something to do with population size (4.7 million: smaller than Scotland, Ireland or Minnesota), something to do with the vicissitudes of talent and publishing, and something to do with the country’s pre-eminent creative writing programme, founded and run until 2013 at Victoria University in Wellington by the understated, reserved and deftly ironic (and also terrific) Bill Manhire. New poets who got, and deserved, wide notice most recently have usually been performers as well, for example Tusiata Avia, whose bold work also articulates her Pasifika and Samoan identity. She, too, studied writing at VUW.

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