Writers and Readers 2012
Michael Hulse and Hinemoana Baker: Poetry is Another Country
Reviewed by Bill Nelson
There was a lot of crying. Hinemoana Baker cried. Michael Hulse cried. The woman behind me sniffed a lot. Someone on twitter afterwards said Hulse ‘brought me2tears’. Even I might have thought about crying, although no one can prove it.
Baker and Hulse had surprisingly similar tonal qualities to the poetry they read. Slow, quiet and breathy. Poems of love, alienation and contrast. They complimented each other nicely. Each poem was like a conversation between them.
Baker read first, three poems from her first book and one from her second. Her style was clipped and textured, each word more surprising than the last. She read quietly, slowly, confident in the power of the poem to deliver. ‘Fruit Picker’ has always been a particular favourite of mine and I was glad to have the chance to hear her read it. It is a relatively short poem, but zeroes in on a scene with microscopic imagery, a moment in time and then one particularly revealing moment.
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