Pacific Island Books

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Absence, New & Selected Poems by Antigone Kefala. ISBN 0868064769. Published by Hale and Iremonger. Recommended retail price $19.

This enlarged edition of Absence: New & Selected Poems contains several new and recently written poems which will undoubtedly attract the critical acclaim which greeted the first edition.

"It is poetry which is simultaneously austere and lushly lyrical. It is a poetry of dreams, of an absent father, of descents to the world of the dead. A poetry where the past is a darkness and the future a flower which grows from the present. It is a poetry of an intensely experienced…psychic alienation, faced with clear-headedness and courage." - Martin Duwell

"She confronts the reality of loneliness and death with an ascetic purity of intention and relentless honesty - the territory of her poetry is one which few writers in this country are willing to enter, yet Kefala is completely at home there, as if its terrors were utterly familiar to her." - Ivor Indyk. Soft cover, 174 pages. Published in 1998.

Art of Walking Upright, The by Glenn Colquhoun. ISBN 1877228206. Published by Steele Roberts Ltd. Recommended retail price $18.95

Glenn Colquhoun grew up "looking over the fence" in the cultural melting pot of South Auckland, New Zealand. After working in a variety of jobs he decided to become a doctor. During his training he took a year off and lived at Te Tii, in a remote part of the Bay of Islands.

"It is a place I went to stand on the other side of this fence, a place I finally went to learn things Maori. In the end it became a year full of aunties and uncles and children and doing dishes. For these experiences and relationships I think I am the luckiest Pakeha I know. I found there old ways of being so long forgotten inside me that they felt new."

These poems are about --
discovering a place to stand
finding what it means to be Pakeha
and what it means to be human.

Glenn Colquhoun is a doctor in Northland. He has had poetry published in several journals and a children's book is due for release this year. This is his first book of poems.

Montana NZ Book Awards 2000 - Best First Book for Poetry. Soft cover, 96 pages. Published in 1999.

Bamboo Leaves by Sam Ngwele. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $7.

At the University of Papua New Guinea, S. Ngwele was inspired by Papua New Guinean writers to write seriously. He also became involved with the Ondobondo Poetry Recital Club. His poems have appeared widely in regional literary journals including Mana, Ondobondo, Poetry Australia, Westerly and so forth. As well as organizing poetry readings, the author has coordinated a creative writing workshop held at the USP Centre in Port Vila during Christmas of 1982. In September 1988, he also participated in the 18
th Waigani Seminar held in Port Moresby on ‘the state of the Arts in the Pacific’.

Besides interest in the Arts, the writer also holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics respectively from UPNG. Soft cover, 50 pages.

Black Stone by Grace Mera Molisa. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $7.00.

Grace Mera Molisa, a Ni-Vanuatu, has contributed articles to a number of publications. She has recently begun writing in verse somewhat by accident. This collection is her first attempt. First published in 1983 and reprinted in 1991. Soft cover, 68 pages.

Black Stone II by Grace Mera Molisa. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $7.00.

We don't know a lot about Grace Mere Molisa. But we do know that writing in a second or even third language is very difficult to do. Getting a second anthology published is a major triumph and we salute her. Soft cover, 68 pages.

Blue Rain by Ruperake Petaia. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $6.

A collection of poems by yet another talented Samoan. Ruperake Petaia was born in Western Samoa in 1951. After his primary education he attended Samoa College. He then worked in a bank for 1 year, spent a year “idling” in American Samoa, and returned to W. Samoa in 1973 and worked as a clerk in the Public Service Commission.

In 1978 he won a government scholarship to study at the University of the South Pacific. This is his first published collection of poems. First published in 1980 and reprinted in 1991 and 1999. Soft cover, 32 pages.

Civilized Girl by Jully Sipolo. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $5.00.

This collection by Solomon Islands poetess Jully Makini represents a new upwelling in modern Solomon Islands writing. Rarely does such a collection by a new poet show such signs of clear-sightedness, honesty and pure strength. Rarely is the voice of Solomon Islands women heard so effectively as it is in this collection. First printed in 1986 and reprinted in 1991, 1997 and 1999. Soft cover, 22 pages.

Dancer, The by Celia Power-Loeffler. Published by National Pacific Press. ISBN 0958244804. Recommended retail price $21.95.

The Dancer takes the reader on an armchair journey through both the dark and lighter sides of life.  Whether short and succinct or longer pieces, these poems are vividly descriptive, where the landscapes reflect the emotions of the narrator, or become a symbol for the philosophy espoused.

Through the author’s acute observation of humanity, the reader is always challenged to think more deeply beneath the imagery, whether the poems reflect a celebration of life or the causes of despair.   It is this balance between hope and cynicism, between intellect and the emotions, and between brain and soul that will entertain and give food for thought to readers of all ages.

“Poetry is intensely personal for both the writer and the reader.  Celia clearly feels every word she writes, and the reader will enjoy sharing her experiences.”  -- Eric Blackstock N.A. (Hons) former Director of Secondary Programs and principal lecturer in English, Christchurch College of Education.

The Dancer is a great read.  It has many thrills and spills.  At times there is an underlying anger, which gives the poetry an energy and a force.  Be prepared to be surprised.”  -- Hamesh Wyatt, poetry critic and reviewer for the Otago Daily Times, Dunedin. Soft cover, 83 pages. Published in 2003.

Diamond Mine: The Essence of Poetry by Kimberley N. Powell.   ISBN 0958235120. Published by National Pacific Press. Recommended retail price $15.95.

This poetry book is involved with the elements of human nature.  It vividly mimics the beauties and ironies of romance and passionately unearths the intricacies of purpose and growth.  The work is a tribute to all aspiring poets who thrive on the drive of a thought whose gift is one of expression. Soft cover.

Explanation of Poetry to My Father, An by Glenn Colquhoun. ISBN 1877228443. Recommended retail price $10.95. Published by Steele Roberts.

Glenn Colquhoun is a doctor born in South Auckland, New Zealand. His book The Art of Walking Upright won the 2000 Montana NZ best first book award for poetry. He has also published a children’s book, written several more, and is working on a collection of poems based on his experiences in medicine.

In this new collection Glenn uses hands-on language and humor to explain poetry to his builder father – and anyone else not yet captivated with the magic of words.

Verbs are Estwing hammers … Ideal for
Putting some whack into a sentence. They come
In black and blue and have a good feel hung
From a leather pouch firm against your thigh.

Soft cover, 47 pages. Published in 2001.

Fighting In The Shade by Peter Kocan. Published by Hale & Iremonger. ISBN 0868066893. Recommended retail price $19.

Peter Kocan’s Fighting in the Shade sublimates fierce political outrage and searing societal insights into light, barbed, satiric verse. Clear-eyed, measured and ruthless, Kocan reveals the banal forces of everyday evil that are lined up against each one of us. Imbued with a deep sense of the tragic drift of history, Fighting in the Shade bravely and with wit and irony reminds the reader that much of human life is a fight against the odds.

Winner of the New South Wales Premier’s Award for Fiction, Kocan’s declared ambition is to produce work which will help the reader to (as Dr. Johnson put it) ‘enjoy or endure’ life better. Fighting in the Shade, his fifth book of poetry, accomplishes this with humor and perception. Soft cover, 72 pages. Published in 2000.

Firesong by Anne Powell. ISBN 1877228141. Published by Steele Roberts Ltd. Recommended retail price $14.95.

Anne Powell, from Wellington, New Zealand, is part of an international congregation of women whose mission is to companion people on their inner journeys as they seek meaning, purpose, wholeness, transformation... recovery of the sacred in the midst of life.

Her poems celebrate and explore connections with place, people and spirit. They stir questions:

· What is our sense of place?
· What is our relationship with the land?
· What is our sense of spirit?
· What is our sense of connectedness?
· What is our sense of purpose?
· What is destructive around us?
· What is life-giving for us?

"There's a mysticism of place I am discovering. There's the context, increasingly fractured and troubled, of people's lives. There's the call of the Spirit - the wild, white swan." Soft cover, 70 pages. Published in 1999.

Hembemba, Rivers of the Forest by Steven Edmund Windua. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. ISBN 9820203112. Recommended retail price $13.

Steven Edmund Winduo's writing has been published in international literary journals and anthologies. His first collection of poems. Lomo'ha I Am, in Spirits Voice I Call, was published in 1991. This second collection brings another decade of experiences and reflection from one of Papua New Guinea's most talented writers. Soft cover, 124 pages. Published in 2000.

Hidden From the Surface by Corey Marsland, Imelda Hailes and David Collins. Published by National Pacific Press. ISBN 0958244898. Recommended retail price $17.95.

Hidden From the Surface is a collection of poetry and artwork that combines the two creative forms into a ohesive one. The collection is a body of work from three New Zealand poets.

The unusual approach of combining the talents of three poets provides for a kaleidoscope of work that many will relate to. Combined with modern artwork, the book has another dimension – being visually stimulating and emotionally provoking.

“The artwork is captivating and effective. Combined with the poetry, the book is very brave and honest. I was impressed by the poets’ strength and vision. Each time I open the book I live something new” – Joanne Sopoaga QSM JP

“I am not really a poetry person, but the depth of the poetry struck me and the artwork was amazing. The book simply moves you” – Adrian Livesey (Teacher of 24 years)

Soft cover, 85 pages. Published in 2000.

I Heard A Blackbird Singing poems by Maynie Thompson illustrations by Barbara Hefford. ISBN 1877228230. Published by Steele Roberts. Recommended retail price $9.95.

The sky is high
and the clouds all look
like mashed potatoes ...

Meet the colorful cat, a feisty grandmother, Boris the beetle, a city blackbird and many other interesting creatures in Maynie's unpredictable and delightful poems - many based on or inspired by children's own words and thoughts.

Maynie Thompson lives on Waiheke Island in New Zealand and has five children and eight grandchildren. She learned the importance of listening to children through bringing up her own and working in Playcenter. She delights in children's imagination and insight - this collection is dedicated to all the children Maynie knows.

Barbara Hefford, the illustrator, lives near Wellington, New Zealand She has two children and two grandchildren.Soft cover, 32 pages. Published in 2000.

In the Human Night (Contemporary Australian Poets) by Peter Bakowski. ISBN 0868065390 Published by Hale and Iremonger. Recommended retail price $13.

Bakowski's brilliant brook of words holds 'truth mice' and big powerful statements - Billie Holiday, Charles Bukowski; mean factory lives, derelicts, sailors; small birds 'on the equator of a wire'; a girl 'made from wild horses'; precious life short as a match-flame. Read it! Be amazed! -John Millett

Born premature with a hole in the heart to Polish-German parents in Melbourne on 15 October 1954, Peter Bakowski's poems have appeared in literary magazines in 13 countries. On 21 January 1993 he survived an eight-hour heart operation. Soft cover, 72 pages. Published in 1995.

Islands of Intimacy: Love Poems 1970-2000 by Denys Trussell. ISBN 0958218617. Published by Addenda. Recommended retail price $9.98.

Denys Trussell is a poet, classical pianist and biographer resident in Auckland. He has published six volumes of poetry, a prize-winning biography of A. R. D. Fairburn and a biographical study of the painter, Alan Pearson. As a poet he has worked closely with musicians and dancers. Works such as Dance of the Origin and Archipelago have been set to music and dance by a variety of artists including Alison East and Ivan Zagni.

In 1999 Denys was shortlisted for the Montana awards with Walking into the Millennium. Composer Peter Scholes has since set this to music. Islands of Intimacy: Love Poems 1970-2000 is a collection that spans his writing career and its imagery draws heavily on nature and the New Zealand landscape. This volume contains notes on the poems and his essay on the erotic in verse.

“Listen through your calm as she
pervades, her wild vowelled tide
breaking over you in stone cold cities,
leading you down the salt glades of the apbrodite keening in her
flesh to incur desire.”

Love is an ocean, and these poems a logbook of voyages made into its waters. Incalculable as the sea, as dangerous, as beautiful, the process of love has the perennial quality of seasonal cycles or the ebb and onset of tides. Etched briefly onto the face of this ocean are wakes made by particular lovers meeting, parting in fragile vessels of the self. Those who best know such journeys have learned to hear the evolutionary music of eros sounding in the depths, to allow its power, to be moved by its creative intent:

“Listen until you reach the roots
of music in her bone, and she
will gather you in her thighs
and grow you deep as sea rock
arched across the forest of her sea.”

Soft cover, 122 pages. Published in 2000.

It Was A Tuesday Morning: selected poems 1972-2001 by Peter Olds. ISBN 187727075X. Published by Hazard Press. Recommended retail price $17.95.

For many years the appearance of a new book of poems by Peter Olds has been a significant and much appreciated literary event. This latest selection, ‘It Was a Tuesday Morning’, is of particular interest because it spans the work of almost thirty years, showcasing Olds’ writing career from his iconic V-8 days in the early seventies right through to more recent material when he has taken the opportunity to stop and take stock – to look inside and around himself with canfor and whimsical humor. At one point the poet says, ‘there isn’t a poem alive or dead that’s tougher than a clapped-out V8’: well, maybe not, but certainly these poems are tough enough, asserting an undeflectable honesty and a sometimes uncomfortable sharpness of perception.

It Was a Tuesday Morning’ is both a treat for readers who are already fans of Peter Olds, and an alluring introduction for those who were previously not familiar with his poetry.

Peter Olds was born in Christchurch and educated in Auckland. He left school at 16 and worked variously as a window-dresser, cook, wool store laborer and hospital orderly. After meeting James K. Baxter in Dunedin in the mid-1960s his interest in song-writing switched to poetry and writing has been the main focus of his life ever since. In 1978 he was awarded the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. Peter continues to live in Dunedin. Soft cover, 112 pages. Published in 2004.

Kakala by Konai Helu Thaman. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $12.

This collection of poems by one of the best known indigenous writers of the Pacific islands is a testimony to the potential and many talents of Pacific people which are as yet to be fully recognized and developed. Dr. Konai Thaman is one of the Pacific island poets whose works are interesting to read because her poems reflect cultural contact situations facing Pacific Islanders of today. Under the title of Kakala, Tongan sacred fragrant plants, these poems convey, in a vivid and imaginative manner, not only the problems and issues in Pacific islands development, but also her personal observations of individuals trying to adjust to changes in the context of continuing cultural conservatism as against modern liberalism.

That’s the official guff … now for some real information. Konai is an extraordinary woman, not only has she bridged a variety of cultures but she has been Pro-Vice Chancellor for the University of the South Pacific as well as being a strong supporter of feminist and other issues. In amongst her academic duties and her poetry writing she has managed to be a superb mother to Batiri and Baravi and loving wife to my friend and running buddy Randy Thaman. Thanks for everything that you bring to the planet, Konai. Soft cover, 104 pages.

Korero by Makiuti Tongia. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $6.

Poetry by a writer from the Cook Islands. Originally printed in 1977 and reprinted in 1991. Including such titles as I’m Not Evil, Lost Soul, Storyteller, First Lover and of course, Korero, which means history, tradition and culture. We’d love to tell you more about him but that’s all we know (so far). Soft cover, 31 pages.

Langakali by Konai Helu Thaman. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $7.

Her other published collections of poems are: You, The Choice of My Parents (Mana Publications, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1985), Inselfeuer (Reihe Literatur des Pazifik,Nurenberg, 1986) and Hingano (Mana Publication, 1987). Kakalai (Mana Publications, 1995). Her most recent book of poetry is Songs of Love printed in 1999 by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Langakali was originally printed in 1981 and reprinted in 1991. Soft cover, 34 pages.

Long Hot Summer Singing by Mike Minehan. ISBN 1877161934. Published by Hazard Press. Recommended retail price $15.95.

Utterly captivating and extraordinarily moving, The Long Hot Summer Singing is a long prose poem, an unconventional love song written in a stream of consciousness style reminiscent of Virginia Woolf.

This is one woman’s story, influenced by the complicated histories of those she is closest to: her parents, her grandparents, her lovers. It recaptures memories of childhood, relationships and travel, but also explores the theme of the silence that hides secrets and must be broken to reveal the truth. It weaves together love, loss and separation, madness and redemption.

Beautifully written and deeply touching, The Long Hot Summer Singing will evoke a strong emotional response in many people, particularly women.

Mike Minehan is well established as one of New Zealand’s strongest poets. She has published four volumes of poetry.

“Mike Minehan writes about the anchors of memory and of grief, of the slim reed we cling to in our uncertain world. This is a long poem about yearning and departure. Mainly, though, it is a poem about love. And what a compelling journey it is, as we are blown along in the poet’s ‘hyacinth blue spinnaker’.”
- Tom Weston

Soft cover, 99 pages. Published in 2001.

Looking Down at Waves: A Collection of Poetry by Sano Malifa. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. ISBN 9820202477. Recommended retail price $7.

Sano Malifa is from Western Samoa. He attended Samoa College until 1968, worked in his country for a year, and then in December 1969 he went to New Zealand where, until June 1974, he worked in factories, studied engineering part-time, was an advertizing clerk, a publications clerk, a telephone linesman and from there moved to work on a dairy farm while writing his poetry. As he says in a letter: "Not much in any particular field 'cause I couldn't hold on."

He returned to Western Samoa and then left for Hawaii in October 1974, and finally to Washington in March 1975.

This is his first published collection of poetry. Soft cover, 57 pages. Published 1991.

Lost Reality by Fepai F.S. Kolia. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $9.

This is a collection of poems by Fepai F.S. Kolia. Fepai was born on 15
th November 1955 in the village of Sili on the island of Savaii, Western Samoa. He is a Methodist Minister, and married with two children. A graduate of Vaipouli College, Technical College (majoring in motor engineering 1974-1975. Worked as a motor mechanic for two years in the Public Works Department. Attended Piula Theological College 1978, received a scholarship to study in Papua New Guinea for a B. Theo. degree in 1982. Returned in 1983 and lectured at Piula Theological College for one year. Post graduate study in South Korea, 1985-1986. Awarded a Master of Theology degree. Last heard of he was working as a Director of a newly established Department of Samoan Methodism “Continuing Theological Education for Ministers and Lay-preachers”.Soft cover, 68 pages.

Mi Mere: Poetry and Prose by Solomon Islands Women Writers by Jully Sipolo & 10 other Solomons women. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $10.

The writings not only give a glimpse into our women’s past, their present thoughts, ideas and impressions, they also show their concerns for the future. The work is both thought-provoking and revealing. Doubtless the readers will find parts which reflect their own lives and experience, emotions, and conflicts.

This first collection of women’s writings shows that, given the opportunity and encouragement, our women can write and express themselves creatively. It is hoped that this book will give other women the courage to put down their ideas and experiences on paper, and share them with others in what is hoped to be the next collection of women’s writings. Soft cover, 37 pages.

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Last modified on Thursday, January 04, 2007