Paul Hardacre: The Year Nothing (2004)

Jack Ross, ed.: brief 29 (April 2004)

Paul Hardacre, The Year Nothing. Wellington: HeadworX, 2003. ISBN 0-473-09005-8. 80 pp. RRP $19.95.

Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra. Suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night the ice weasels come.
attributed to Nietzsche (actually Matt Groening, Love is Hell) [58]

There doesn’t seem to be much that Paul Hardacre can’t do, judging by this book. As the poem included on p.32 of this issue demonstrates, his speciality is the disenchanted stream-of-consciousness or accumulation of minute observations adding up to gloom. He loves dusty answers and grinning skulls in Arcadia. This, his first book of poems, is dedicated “to all ghosts,” and includes another epigraph by Nietzsche, “I say unto you: to give birth to a dancing star, one must have chaos within oneself.” Does he have much in the way of subject-matter besides his own disillusionment? Is he gifted with a sense of humour (which is all that keeps most of the rest of us out of the rubber room)? Unfortunately for other, jealous bards, the answer to both questions appears to be ‘yes.’ In terms of craft, adventurousness, insight, and sheer ability, this Australian poet’s first book beats most recent New Zealand books of verse into a cocked hat. I feel little doubt that he’ll accomplish great things, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they are. This is a stunning beginning.


brief 29 (2004): 81.

[229 wds]

brief 29 (2004)

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