Mark Pirie: Bullet Poems &c. (2004)

Jack Ross, ed.: brief 30 - Kunst (November 2004)

Mark Pirie, Bullet Poems: In Four Rounds. Paekakariki: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, 2004. ISBN 1-86942-030-6. 42 pp. / Mark Pirie, ed. “Recent New Zealand Poetry: 50 Poems by 50 Poets.” In Papertiger: new world poetry #04, edited by Paul Hardacre & B. R. Dionysius. ISSN 1445-1980. CD-ROM for PC. / Mark Pirie, ed. Tupelo Hotel: Winter Readings at Tupelo. ISBN 1-86942-046-2. 40 pp. Paekakariki: ESAW, 2004.

The Mark Pirie juggernaut rolls on. Anthologies appear to flow from his pen with even more facility than slim volumes of verse. Hot on the heels of his recent selected poems Gallery (Cambridge, UK & Applecross, Aust: Salt, 2003), he’s compiled a gallery of New Zealand poets for Paul Hardacre’s CD-Rom Papertiger (literally, in fact – the poets’ faces are arranged in a tight grid, and the poems can only be accessed by clicking on the pictures). Then there’s an anthology of poems by the readers at the Tupelo Hotel (complete with Doors imagery to match the parody of the famous Beatles Abbey Road picture on the cover of his recent JAAM retrospective). Nor can one accuse Pirie of lacking the courage of his convictions: having seen him perform his “Ballad of Courtney Love” in full drag, I can testify to the terrifying strength of his determination to link staid old NZ poetry with the more flourishing pastures of rock music. What, then, are the Bullet Poems like? I can’t help but feel the “gangster poet” mask sits, at times, uncomfortably on the bookish youth reading Mandelstam. The latter, to me, rings truer. Perhaps I’m wrong. In any case, there’s a strange, febrile excitement about it all which appeals to me very much.


brief 30 (2004): 111.

[280 wds]

brief 30 (2004)

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