SRB Picks of the Week 24 Aug 2008
:By Jeremy Rose
There’s a growing clamour on the Internet for Sam Hunt to be named the next New Zealand Poet Laureate. Well, if not a clamour a chorus of two; former Listener staff writer Denis Welch took time out from writing his unauthorised biography of Helen Clark to float the idea, and Bookman Beattie suggested the same thing on his blog. The Scoop Review of Books is happy to add the full weight of its not inconsiderable prestige to the call;-).
The old cliché about six degrees of separation recently got a re-airing as the result of some Microsoft research but I suspect there would be few New Zealanders who would separated from Sam Hunt by more than a couple of handshakes and a huge number who can claim to have, if not met the man in person, at least heard him read poetry, be it in a pub, school hall, or an at outdoor festival.
He’s unique in New Zealand in his ability to both attract and hold a crowd with his “songs for the tone deaf”. But it’s not just his “songs” that he delivers but the poems of everyone from Yeats and Dylan to Baxter and Tuwhare. A true poet of the people.
An excellent profile of Sam by Diana Witchel is now available in full at the Listener site. Well worth a read.
Talking of popular poets the man invariably described as the National Poet of Palestine Mahmoud Darwish was buried earlier this month.
Isreali peacenik Uri Avnery was one of those to attend his funeral and wrote movingly of the experience.
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