Nothing for it but to Sing (2017)

Jack Ross, ed.: Poetry NZ Yearbook 2017 (March 2017)

Books and Magazines in brief:

Michael Harlow. Nothing for it but to sing. ISBN 978-1-927322-62-8. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2016. RRP $25. 64 pp.

Michael Harlow: Nothing for it but to sing (2016)

This is the collection with which Michael Harlow won the Kathleen Grattan award in 2015. For so reticent a poet, Harlow has published quite a lot lately. His wonderful Sweeping the courtyard: Selected poems came out in 2014, together with another, smaller, selection from Mākaro Press, Heart absolutely I can. So how’s the new one?
When I think I’m dreaming of a horse, it turns out to be a motorbike. And you know, I’ve never ridden either. Still, I can dance and also skip
is one of the epigraphs for the collection (from the author’s own notebooks). It’s no accident, I think, that one of the poems here is ‘after Cavafy’ — that seems very much the tone of the thing. My favourite, though, is ‘After Delphi’: ‘To know why today / the dead are always / behind us in a hurry / to start a conversation’ (p. 46). Heaven forbid!


Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017. ISBN 978-0-9941363-5-0 (March 2017): 319-20.

[169 wds]

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2017

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