Watching for the Wingbeat: New and Selected Poems


Pat White’s poetry embraces the environment, history and time, and celebrates the rhythms that govern rural life with a sense of the transcendental rare in contemporary New Zealand writing. He writes about living in South Canterbury, the Wairarapa, and on the West Coast, with an ease about being there, whether it is reflecting on the effects of drought, the mist rising off a dam, or listening to the stars. (John Horrocks) Reviewing How the Land Lies: Of Longing and Belonging in the NZ Listener, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman wrote: Painter, poet, genealogist, biographer, and now memoirist: White is a jack-of-all-trades and masters many. He pays his debts to [Peter] Hooper, Gary Snyder and a host of others, in the process becoming our own accessible, contemporary Henry David Thoreau. Ex-NZ Poet Laureate has described Pat White’s work as Vincent O’Sullivan has described Pat White’s work as Poetry with its eye on `real things’–on work, on weather, on love, on finding the right name for things at the moment they are slipping away . . . with the everyday presented as the rare privilege it is. Watching for the Wingbeat includes work from Pat White’s earlier out-of-print titles; selections from Gnossienne (previously available only as a limited edition publication); From the Valdimar Notebooks , a recent unpublished sequence of 43 keen-eyed short-poem observations of the natural world; and eleven additional new poems.

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White, Pat