For someone I love – a collection of writing by Arapera Blank (Anton Blank Ltd, 2015)
Crimson by Marino Blank (Anton Blank Ltd, 2014)
Reviewed by Vaughan Rapatahana
I will start off with a writer who most certainly deserves our renewed attention, the late Arapera Blank, who passed in 2002. The compilation here presented is full of love: not only from her son’s excellent hard-cover product, replete with photos of whānau me aroha, whānau ki te aroha permeating everywhere, but also within the pages of Arapera’s poems, five short stories and five non-fiction pieces; although she certainly could write with an acerbic slice if necessary. The compilation exudes love for her photographer husband, Pius Blank, more particularly displayed in the earlier stages – just take a look at the front cover, where a very happy couple manifest this. It is easy to see why the title and the first titular poem is For someone I love; given that later on Blank steers away from such romantic expressions of aroha toward Pius and moves into a graphic representation of places and then into quite philosophical pronouncements regarding what makes a Māori.
Anton and Marino Blank (his sister), as editors here of their mother’s work, also have ensured a thematic approach in that the poems especially, tend to run in sequences of similar subject matter: all very professional throughout.
Arapera is a damned good writer in both languages, often side-by-side on the same page: clear, concise, well-balanced, mature and her being awarded the 1959 Katherine Mansfield Memorial Competition in 1959 and her consistently good work in Te Ao Hou exemplify this aspect. There are also ample explanatory Notes included to explain the specific kupu [words].