Mirabile Dictu

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"Leggott continues to write complex lyrics, sampling thought and song, voice and vision." Charles Bernstein, Notable Books "There is a flow in Leggott’s writing that reminds me of reading Shelley: the same feeling of being swept up into the sky and returned again, with the sense of the present altered and set in proportion." – Elizabeth Smither, Dominion Post


Young Knowledge: The Poems of Robin Hyde. A Dominion Post’s Book of the Week selection (Elizabeth Smither) and named one of the Listener’s ‘Best Books of 2003.’


"this is both a landmark and a benchmark in the history of poetry editing in NZ … The entire process is completely transparent, due to the exemplary introduction, a detailed chronology, and a very extensive bibliography. Anyone who uses this material diligently can quickly see how the poems relate to each other, sometimes across years, and how they relate to phases of the poet’s life and developing thought." – Nelson Wattie, The Year’s Work in English Studies 2005


As far As I Can See. Auckland University Press, 1999.


"Let’s not pussyfoot around. I love this book; this difficult, demanding, beautiful book. I’ve been quite happy spending time inside these mysterious, intricately woven texts, nothing at all like your average quick-flick-read-it-before-the-lights-turn green kind of brain-deadeners." – Bernadette Hall, Dominion


"Michele Leggott has achieved alchemy with words. . . . Her work confirms for me that reading is not necessarily passively letting life go by, but can be real life experience after all." – Beck Ritchie, Otago Daily Times


DIA. Auckland University Press, 1994. Winner, 1995 New Zealand Book Award for Poetry


". . . a breath-taking piece of work and surely establishes Michele Leggott as a New Zealand poet of remarkable talent." – Philip Mead, Landfall


"a virtuoso performance. Leggott’s deeply historical poetic consciousness, as many reviewers pointed out, reaches far back in order to create a contemporary feminist aesthetic in poetry; the poems succeed because her ear, her facility with language, especially her ability to counterpoint jewelled phrases, prevents them from seeming merely programmatic. The paradox of some contemporary poetry, driven by a self-conscious concern with poetics, is that avant-gardism replaces the avant-garde, as if the reader is meant to admire the poetry principally for the theory behind it. Such poetry frequently remains chained, tunelessly and without wit, to its own dogged earnestness. Leggott’s poetry largely escapes this fate because it is ‘lyrical’ — it takes pleasure in singing — even as it rewrites the possibilities for the lyric; in this respect it practices the respect for the reader that some other experimental poets only preach." - Andrew Johnston

Culled from the author’s term as poet laureate, this collection delves into both the present and the past, combining poems of today with those of history. From the inspiring setting of Matahiwi Marae in Hawke’s Bay to the beautiful backdrop of Florence, Italy, this anthology explores the fascinating day-to-day life of the poet herself. Serving as an autobiographical narrative, this portrait also illustrates her journey to seek out ancestral relations, finding them emigrating from their homeland and settling in a budding colonial town. Exploring languages within languages, this compendium also touches on the concepts of hearing and seeing, coming and going, and the representations of experience itself. Layered with intense imagery and stirring rhythms, this engaging volume is ideal for budding writers and experienced poetry fans alike.


Michele Leggott is the 2008–2009 New Zealand Poet Laureate. She teaches in the department of English at the University of Auckland. She is the author of Dia, Like This?, Milk and Honey, and Reading Zukofsky’s Flowers. She is the editor of The Book of Nadath and Young Knowledge: The Poems of Robin Hyde and the coeditor of Big Smoke: NZ Poems 1960–1975.


“Leggott is arguably our finest living female rhapsodist.”  —David Eggleton, NZ Listener, on Milk and Honey“[A] major act of literary recovery and a huge depth charge into the placid ocean of ‘New Zealand poetry’ . . . [Leggott’s] text is the result of extraordinarily thorough scholarship—painstaking location, comparison, and discrimination of variant texts and the like; quite simply, it’s of world standard.”  —Peter Simpson, NZ Listener, on Young Knowledge: The Poems of Robin Hyde