new zealand electronic poetry centre

Paula Green



A Selection of Book Covers and Comment by Paula Green

I live in a house surrounded by a wide variety of visual images made by friends, my partner Michael Hight, and my children. I live amidst the smell, texture, and allure of paintings in the process of production. Images matter to me on both emotional and intellectual levels. Thus the images that I select for my books have highly personal implications.



For my first cover, I wanted to use an image, either a painting or drawing, by Michael. At the time he was exhibiting abstract works that incorporated found material and found objects. This particular image, ‘Partial Landscape’ (1989), is neither a drawing nor a painting, but a photograph that he took of decaying tiles in Karangahape Road. He liked the way the black and white image suggested a kitchen floor. I liked the way the cover image ambiguously denoted a domestic space but could equally be a section of a decomposing urban building.



This collection of poems is structured around four colours and approaches the notion of home in four different ways. The final section, ‘Blue,’ explores the way in which the writer (and reader) makes herself at home in the text. I liked the idea of the cover image establishing a strong link with the final section so I set off around Auckland in search of blue material. It was quite a mission finding a blue that struck the right tonal chord. I found this particular blue netting in Henderson and loved the intensity of the colour, an intensity that ironically lost its edge in the final design. I scrunched up the material and shot several rolls of film and really enjoyed the ambiguity of the results. I love the way the netting could almost be skin.



Michael made ‘Whakaari IV’ (1998) for me for my birthday. The image is based on a traverse board, an old maritime navigational device, and is made from resin and found wood. Michael imposed gorgeous rust spots within the resin. I love this image! The subject matter of the image fits perfectly with a poetry collection in which I am trying to locate myself in various ways: in the land, in art, and in the music of the seventies. In this image, I am drawn to the compelling warmth of the resin and the intimacy of the golden wood. The artwork is tiny; I can hold it in my hand as though it were a book.


June 2005

©Paula Green

Last updated 24 August, 2005