I’m of English and Scots descent. My mother grew up on a Returned Serviceman’s dairy farm in South Canterbury and my father arrived from Scotland as a boy in 1920. The bookcase in the living room contained mostly political and literary and historical titles, my father read a lot and often recited long passages of Shakespeare and sang opera, we used libraries, I had inspiring teachers. I got into writing at high school and have since published a number of collections of poems and a literary magazine and had a couple of writing grants. I have not long returned from a spell in England and am now living in a hut in the Glenfield bush, working part-time and writing a memoir in the form of a novel based on my father’s stories about the 1940s.
'Hongi’ is part of Thousand-Eyed Eel: a sequence of poems from the Maori Land March 1975 (Hawk Press 1976). ‘The thing is’ is from The Subject (Auckland University Press 1994). ‘Signature’ is from Legend of the Cool Secret (Sudden Valley Press 1999). ‘The big Snow’ is from Lazy Wind Poems (Auckland University Press 2003). ‘Beach house’ was published in Manawa 85 and ‘The egg’ is from the unfinished memoir.