New poetry from Michele Leggott

24 October 2017
Vanishing Points cover

On the table in front of him stand three jars of plum and apple
jelly. Transparent, weightless, luminous. They glow like rubies,
their cellophane tops curved and immaculate. Around him flows
the conversation that has brought them from the top of the
fridge to the old wooden table, but he is not listening. Marbles,
japonicas, pearls
. Winter light pours into the small room with
large windows on all sides, making it a ship’s cabin complete with
ladder, sleeping loft and a kitchen hatch. He cannot draw the
hot sweetness of the scones coming out of the oven or how they
warm the teatowel they are wrapped in. But he has the palm-tree
mugs on the hatch, their handles to the left, waiting to be picked
up and brought over with the teapot, the milk, the butter and the

This is the opening of a prose poem called 'robin doing his drawing' from Professor Michele Leggott's new book Vanishing Points (page 62), published by Auckland University Press, and launched this week.

The third in a series, Vanishing Points is Michele's first new collection of poetry since Heartland (2014) and is a book that goes beyond poetry with essays and musings. Its subject matter includes "history and family, lights and mirrors, the real and the surreal".

And it concerns itself "with appearance and disappearance as modes of memory, familial until we lose sight of that horizon line and must settle instead for a series of intersecting arcs. It is full of stories caught from the air and pictures made of words. It stands here and goes there, a real or an imagined place. If we can work out the navigation the rest will follow."

Michele was the inaugural New Zealand Poet Laureate 2007-2009 and received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry in 2013. Her collections include Heartland (2014) and Mirabile Dictu (2009), both from Auckland University Press. She coordinates the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) with Brian Flaherty at the University of Auckland.

Find out more about Vanishing Points