Tender Machines (2015)

Jack Ross, ed.: Poetry NZ Yearbook 2 [Issue #50] (November 2015)

Books and Magazines in brief:

Emma Neale. Tender Machines. ISBN 978-1-927322-34-5. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2015. RRP $25. 108 pp.

Emma Neale: Tender Machines (2015)

This is a big book, the fifth to date from seemingly effortlessly talented poet / novelist Emma Neale. She herself writes of it:
To my own mind, Tender Machines refers to the cogs and pistons of a poem: a machine that helps us with the psychological work of surviving ourselves. Tender Machines are also the tools of our digital age; devices that help to keep us alive; they are also vulnerable physical human forms we love. I hope the phrase also suggests the repetitions we have to shoulder as caregivers. [https://emmaneale.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/tender-machines/]
Neale is, of course, referring to William Carlos Williams’ celebrated dictum: “A poem is a small (or large) machine made out of words.” Williams went on to explain his further comment “There’s nothing sentimental about a machine” by specifying that “that there can be no part that is redundant.” Neale, it would appear, hopes to retain this lack of redundancy while tempering any implication of a lack of feeling within her poems. The results, I think, speak for themselves in this rich and radiant collection.


Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2 [Issue #50]. ISSN 0114-5770 (2014): 272.

[191 wds]

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2 (2015)

1 comment:

  1. 'Tender Machines': best book title ever. And within, describing that minute part of the universe that allowed for life as being 'like existential porridge:just right.' Just right indeed.