Halcyon Ghosts

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More About This Title Halcyon Ghosts


Halcyon Ghosts presents 13 poems—13 shapes of knowing—from the cinematic reel “The Kid,” splicing stills of the poet’s grandmother and Charlie Chaplin, to the re-verse soundings of “Six Reels of Joy,” celebrating the birth of the poet’s daughter. The title poem displays a ghostly counterpoint of birds and words in flight; strikethrough poems are threaded through with runes of fact and fiction. Language, Sampson demonstrates, is as particular and transitory as the patterning of the natural world. Poems layer, link, and break apart, sampling and echoing other texts—whether the everlasting cataracts of Keats and Dylan Thomas or reportage gleaned from territorial newspapers of the Old West. Halcyon Ghosts is a profoundly philosophical and personal collection, an assemblage of unearthed vestiges, a quintessence where names displaced by light are dark but not lost.


Sam Sampson has been widely published in journals and chapbooks and anthologized in Best New Zealand Poems Online. His first collection, Everything Talks, won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for the Best First Book of Poetry in 2009. He has an MA in philosophy from the University of Auckland.