Excuse my wonky photography - the typeset on the actual book is not skewed as it appears here!
Saturday night had me at Browns Bay Library for the launch of Eye Street Poet Alice Hooton's debut poetry collection Shamfeign.
Having a bludgeon of a bout of anaemia and the kids home all weekend meant I only had time to read a few of the poems myself, so more about them later, but so far I would describe hearing Alice read several and dipping in myself like having my brain taken back in time and stuck in the head of someone reminiscing over an old photo album, flicking the pages familiarly and quickly before me, pausing here and there on particularly fond recollections. Mostly I was struck by their brevity: succinct but with emotion and gravity, and a wry, quiet wit. The excerpt on the jacket, from Strangers, could also describe the poems themselves:
today I paint a picture
a clipped blue sea
jostling windsurfers in the bay
a ragbag of hometalk
lest they forget
(Copyright Alice Hooton 2011)
Originally from Ireland, Alice's poetry takes in immigrant tales of Ellis Island, WWII, and relatives at home and NZ. I have a signed copy for the first name out of a teapot ( I lost my hat - which isn't to say I recommend wearing a teapot for sun protection - a burn is a burn is a burn...). Drop a smiley :) in the comments if you want your name to mash (also known in non S. Yorks circles as brew).