Review by Mary McCallum: It didn't win the Montana NZ Poetry Award today but it's still gorgeous. I got it for my birthday and fell in love with a poem that it fell open to which began 'A book is like an/egg...'
Another firm favourite already is Midden which begins: 'Words are piled deep/ here. Middens of /language, dungheaps/ of song...' Farrell is talking about Ireland, the home of her ancestors.
Her publisher AUP says:
The Book of Invasions - Lebor Gabála Érenn - is a compilation of manuscripts describing the very specific discovery of Ireland ('on the fifteenth, on a Saturday') following the Creation and the Flood. The Pop-Up Book of Invasions is Fiona Farrell's poetic response to a six-month stay in Ireland as inaugural recipient of the Rathcoola Residency for Australians and New Zealanders in County Cork.
'Part travelogue, part family record, part song and myth and history rewritten, this collection revels and laments in equal measure in a landscape deeply inscribed with narrative. The poet also remembers her Irish father now dead who emigrated to the Antipodes and all the many migrations or 'invasions' of the past and the present. A beautifully constructed, thoughtful, topical and original book.'
My mother who has Irish ancestors too read it in an evening and couldn't stop talking about it when I saw her. She loved the poem about Farrell's daughter who had dreadlocks not unlike the matted multi-coloured hair of her ancestors. She especially liked the wonderful notes at the end which fleshed out the poems.
And now I'd better go and read Janet Charman's Cold Snack. She was announced today as the winner of the Montana NZ Poetry Award.
But first a tribute to the young poets who came to the Gallery today and wrote some wonderful poems around the theme of the beach. Amelia, Clem, Naomi and Xanthe's poems are on the wall for people to read. Their names sound like a poem on their own!