by Sarah Jane Barnett
Published 22 October 2015
80pp, Paperback, 144mm x 215mm
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In these six long poems Sarah Jane Barnett explores how people fight for a normal life. Set in Ethiopia, Paris, Norway, and New Zealand these astonishing poems take you into the lives of others - a grieving man leaves Ethiopia at the end of the civil war; a polyamorous couple have a child; a woman hunts a black bear on a New Zealand sheep station. Original and spellbinding, these poems walk the line between poetry and fiction.
Sarah Jane Barnett has a MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University and a PhD from Massey University. Her poetry has been published and anthologised in New Zealand, Australia, and the US. Her debut collection A Man Runs into a Woman was a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards. She teaches creative writing at Massey University.Read 'A Slut for Beauty: An Interview with Sarah Jane Barnett'
Read 'Poetry Shelf interviews Sarah Jane Barnett - writing is an act of contemplation for me'
Read an excerpt of 'The Woman who Married a Bear' on Up Country
Visit Sarah Jane Barnett's website
Responses to WORK
'You're following these stories of people who all have jobs they have to do, and I really love that because you often read a book and you're not clear what people are doing, it's quite insubstantial. And yet jobs are so important, aren't they? They say who we are ... they give us the language we need to describe the world ... It's wonderful writing, it's challenging, it's unforgettable.'
- Mary McCallum, Radio New Zealand
'Daring technically...The scientific images, rather than distancing a reader from this startlingly tender poem, are a paradoxical part of its intimacy...Its publication by Hue and Cry Press should add to the growing presence of this publisher and its reputation as a promoter of powerful and original work.'
- John Horrocks, Landfall Review Online
'WORK is richly imagined and elegantly written. The poems are bold explorations: of language, form and content. Their careful imaginings of the particulars of six different human situations offer a variety of perspectives on the work required to live well - with ourselves and with others. Barnett's voice is compassionate and intelligent. WORK is relevant, vital and refreshing.'
- Sue Wootton, takahe magazine
'Instant essential reading. I don't think there are many other poets in NZ who are writing with such consistent acuity and determination.'
- Anna Smaill, writer and Man Booker longlistee
'The silver linings that these characters find despite their struggles, all presented through Barnett's beautiful language, makes WORK a moving portrayal of humanity.'
- Emma Shi, Booksellers
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