If you want this double whammy, go to the death row poems, which use the last words of convicts who’ve faced that unspeakable punishment in the land of the free. Their crimes are also explored, along with the equally horrible nexus of violent forces that helped create them: ‘what happened to me/ was in California. I was in their reformatory schools and/ penitentiary,/ but ah they create monsters in there.’
2. Most people get funny when I talk about running: It’s very hard to write about running, but the long poem ‘Marathon Men’ manages to suggest the strange, solitary rhythm of that lifestyle. I found it very moving—the lost-and-found artificial leg, the lonely old men, and the romantic turn of the rubbish-collector who invites the housekeeper out for a dance.
3. Fresh Pressed: A Man Runs Into a Woman is the first book from Hue & Cry Press, the venture that brings you the art and literary journal Hue & Cry. I’m biased, but how brilliant—a new press backing a daring book. Heaps of readers have got in behind this—the funding drive was the fastest-ever PledgeMe campaign. Go this book! Launching on 10 August: http://www.hueandcry.org.nz/