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February 4, 2020
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Selected Poems

Enchanting and sustaining poems by the first Poet Laureate of New Zealand

Mezzaluna gathers work from Michele Leggott's nine books of poetry. As reviewer David Eggleton writes: "Leggott shows us that the ordinary is full of marvels which . . . stitched, flow together into sequences and episodes that in turn form an ongoing serial, or bricolage: a single poem, then, rejecting exactness, literalism, naturalism in favor of resonance, currents, patterns of ebb and flow." In complex lyrics, sampling thought and song, voice and vision, Leggott creates lush textured soundscapes. Her poetry covers a wide range of topics rich in details of her New Zealand life, full of history and family, lights and mirrors, the real and the surreal. She focuses on appearance and disappearance as modes of memory, familial until we lose sight of that horizon line and must settle instead for a series of intersecting arcs. Leggott writes with tenderness and courage about the paradoxes of losing her sight and remaking the world in words.

on white you fall
into line
her voice fills
the ground
potato cuts
the sun
dries paints
the deck prints
shapes shadows
of oranges
'cyan and
your picnic
into the eye
land crimson
hand me
the moon
risen rode
rose ride
out to see

About the Author

Michele Leggott was the inaugural New Zealand Poet Laureate 2007-2009 and received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry in 2013. Her collections include Vanishing Points (2017), Heartland (2014) and Mirabile Dictu (2009), from Auckland University Press. She coordinates the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) with colleagues at the University of Auckland, and has co-edited Alan Brunton's selected poems, Beyond the Ohlala Mountains (Titus Books 2013) with Martin Edmond. In 2017 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.


"Leggott is arguably our finest living female rhapsodist."—David Eggleton, New Zealand Listener

"The elegance of her eros of being, her intelligent and enchanted seeing, the dazzling range of her experimentalist sensibility, and her world-streaming scope all combine to create the intimate brilliances of Michele Leggott's Mezzaluna."—Rachel Blau DuPlessis, author of Drafts

"Michele Leggott is one of the South Pacific's most inimitable poets. Her complex and varied poems, characteristically uninterrupted by punctuation, embody culture, history and the personal. These remarkably discerning, artful, sometimes haunting poems will deepen your attention and quicken your senses."—Pam Brown, author of Click here for what we do

"In this delicious and sustaining collection across the writing life of Michele Leggott, 'blue mako clit' and kiss, sight's amnesia forgets to stay. This is poetry as bodyography and history, an affectively thrilling read."—Lisa Samuels, author of Tender Girl

"Mezzaluna interfuses song, voice, history, politics, love, loss, and breath. The poems have a gravity that cuts against their sometimes hallucinogenic surfaces. Leggott's epic force is never far from her lyric insistences."—Charles Bernstein, author of Near/Miss
Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan Poetry Series

9780819579072 : mezzaluna-leggott
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