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Bill Manhire

Lifted by Bill Manhire
Categories: 21st Century, New Zealand
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • There are mothers and fathers, Kevin, whom we barely know.
    They lift us. Eventually we all shall go
    into the dark furniture of the radio.

    from 'Kevin'

    The last lines of Bill Manhire's astonishing poem 'Kevin' lie at the heart of this book. These poems want urgently to know how the secular spirit can lift itself in the face of mortality and human violence. They are full of richness and courage and surprise, turning from grief to curiosity; then to beauty, humour, anger, gratitude, acceptance - and once again to curiosity. Lifted is a book by a poet writing at the height of his powers.

    'Turning the pages of Lifted, no reader can fail to be surprised and delighted by the variety of voices and tones ...Manhire shows not only his mature formal skills but his ability to look unflinchingly into the heart of things. Manhire's poems make us feel as if we are really there.' - Billy Collins, Dominion Post

    'Manhire is in darkly brilliant form in this death-haunted but scintillating collection.' - Peter Simpson, New Zealand Herald (an NZ Herald 'Book of the Year')
    Without Form 11
    The God’s Journey 15
    Song: Alzon 17
    Across Brooklyn 18
    The Ladder 19
    Opoutere 20
    Still Life with Wind in the Trees 25
    The Writer 26
    The First Film 28
    After the Movie 29
    Creative Nonfiction 30
    The Party Next Door 31
    Unusual Film Idea 32
    An Inspector Calls 33
    Hotel Belair 34
    Encouragement 35
    Dogs 36
    Erebus Voices 40
    The Monks 42
    My Childhood in Russia 44
    Mist 46
    OE 47
    Global Track 48
    Two Literals 49
    Entering America 50
    Hotel Emergencies 51
    The News 53
    The Park 54
    False William 56
    Medical 57
    Old Man Talking in His Sleep 58
    Bumps 60
    Death of a Poet 62
    The Confident Troubador 64
    Palais Lutetia 65
    Villa Ephrussi 66
    Birds of Europe 72
    Menton 74
    Hunky-dory 75

    Kevin 79
    Bill Manhire was born in Invercargill, New Zealand in 1946. He was his country's inaugural Poet Laureate and has won the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry four times. He headed the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, establishing and directing the university's prestigious creative writing programme. ... read more
    Awards won by Bill Manhire Commended, 2020 Poetry Book Society Recommendation (Wow)
    'Manhire changes tack in every poem, coming at us with different techniques and different personae. It's a marvellously varied performance...Lifted is a short book, but few readers will be able to take it all in at a single sitting. It demands -and rewards- re-reading.'
    Iain Sharp, Sunday Star Times
    'The biggest noise in New Zealand poetry is Bill Manhire... Manhire has always known how to look at the human condition and state it simply through his poems. 'Lifted' is confident and emotive in what it tries to achieve. ...'Lifted' is shining stuff from truly one of our best poets. Definitely check this one out.'
    Hamesh Wyatt, Otago Daily Times
    'Turning the pages of 'Lifted', no reader can fail to be surprised and delighted by the variety of voices and tones... Manhire shows not only his mature formal skills but his ability to look unflinchingly into the heart of things. He is a poet in which a sly sense of humour is coupled with a respect for whatever truths a poem can wring out of experience. ...Manhire’s poems make us feel as if we are really there.'
    Billy Collins, Dominion Post
    Praise for Bill Manhire 'Bill Manhire's poetry is always lyrical whether the lyricism is the lyricism of the ballad or the lyricism he finds in ordinary, unmetred New Zealand conversational speech. Sometimes it seems as if you can hear a poem tuning up, finding its rhythm before it turns itself into song. As it lifts into song, it lifts, too, into meaning... when a Manhire poem takes flight, and when loneliness is taken for a stroll, the epic vision that the lyric can also, he shows, give rise to is all the more resonant and all the larger for being distilled into song.'

    Anna Jackson, Academy of New Zealand Literature

    'Though Manhire is full of foreboding about the future, he mixes the serious with the playful across a range of short, experimental poems... This is a poet who shares his learning with an appealing accessibility and ease'

    Tom Williams, Literary Review

    'Read Wow and you get story and song, light and dark, the surreal, constant surprise, but there is also always wit and humour ... Wow will haunt you'

    NZ Poetry Shelf 

    'Wow offers further intriguing snapshots and glimpses, sometimes half-familiar but never monotonous... Here the light mist over everything teases you with where you are and what's what. Things constantly shift and change shape and being, even as you seem to have grasped them.'


    'Being the leading poet in New Zealand is like being the best DJ in Estonia, impressive enough on its own terms. But Bill Manhire is more than that: he's unquestionably worldclass. As with Seamus Heaney, you get a sense of someone with a steady hand on the tiller, and both the will and the craft to take your breath away.'
    Teju Cole, Boston Globe
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