Thanks to The Poetry Archive for the recording.
Editor: Mary McCallum
The fire alarm sound: is given as a howling sound do not use the lifts ....
Thus the poem by Bill Manhire begins. And what a howl it is - the reading, one of the best I've ever heard: the way it builds and builds, the word 'sound' repeating and repeating like a siren - and with it all the other 'alarms' sounding from the intimate to the global. When I heard Bill read it the first time here in Wellington, I had goosebumps on my skin and a sense of anxiety that didn't shift for a while afterwards.
Every time since, I feel that way when I hear it. If you haven't already done so, hit play. Every time since, I feel that way when I hear it. If you haven't already done so, hit play. The full text of the poem is available to read on The Poetry Archive site too.
There are more recorded poems by Bill at The Poetry Archive and a CD to buy. Hotel Emergencies can be found in Lifted (VUP 2005, Carcanet 2007) - one of my favourite collections in the world.
Bill's poem Nuptials was posted by me on Tuesday Poem two years ago with a commentary that explored his self-confessed 'lyrical foliage', and here's a poem I wrote about Bill based on a talk he gave to my MA class once about how he went about writing poetry.
Bill's NZ Book Council bio says: Manhire has a postmodern, or perhaps simply an alert poet’s, consciousness of the strangeness of language, the apparent arbitrariness with which meanings accrue to signs.
Which is where Hotel Emergencies began. In Copenhagen, in a hotel, a sign....
Now take a look in the sidebar for a host of Tuesday Poets with a host of poems they've written or chosen to share this week. Especially exciting: the poetry train in Australia which sets off on September 7 from Canberra to Sydney with poets all aboard, and a poem from the new collection by Hue & Cry's (and Tuesday Poem's) Sarah Jane Barnett.
This week's editor Mary McCallum is co-curator of Tuesday Poem with Claire Beynon. She's a Wellington poet and novelist and creative writing tutor at Massey University, as well as a book reviewer and bookseller. She blogs at O Audacious Book.