ANCHOR STONE by Tony Beyer is a significant book by a significant poet (Mark Young). It includes several longer works & a significant proportion which deliberately address issues relevant to contemporary concepts of New Zealand identity and culture. Importantly for the work of a senior pakeha poet, there is a strong Maori element, as for example in At Ratana a vivid depiction of events at Wiremu Ratana’s annual birthday celebrations. The approach throughout is vigorous, often entertaining, and consistently stimulating. As fellow New Zealand poet David Howard remarks: Tony Beyer has never followed signposts; he has always attended to the road, rewarding us with a considered prosody that honours the moment yet goes beyond it. His language is disciplined, almost ascetic, but there is a generosity in even the most clipped line, a kind of `elated patience’ that is rare, and all the more welcome for its rarity, in New Zealand poetry. It is clear to me that Beyer’s lifelong focus on the vocation of making poems rather than the business of literary politics has come to a wonderful maturity in Anchor Stone.
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