Bill Manhire’s Selected Poems (VUP), $35. Amazing value – it’s a hardback of 160 pages. Nice cover – matches my copies of his earlier, slimmer volumes The Elaboration (1972) and The Old Man’s Example (1990). It’s a portrait of Bill by Ralph Hotere. Doesn’t look much like him if you ask me, but then we’ve all changed a bit since 1971.
The sexual politics of pre-Treaty New Zealand were “quite a minefield”: Vincent O’Malley, a finalist in this year’s CLNZ awards, retells a Northland love story.
Blog comment of the day, on this silly column by George Monbiot which contains the sentence “But if ever there was a case for the precautionary principle, here it is.”:
There rarely is a valid case for the precautionary principle. Had the pernicious concept been around earlier in history, we would never have left the trees.Want to see Julian Assange putting on the moves? You can! He has complained that showing this clip is an invasion of privacy. Seriously.
Naomi Wolf’s book Vagina has received a decliner from every reviewer I have read. When she spoke at the Auckland Writers’ Festival in 2001 I thought she was a narcissistic idiot and it seems many people now share my view, even the Guardian and New Statesman. Here, for example, is Laurie Penny in the latter. Quote unquote:
Then there’s the sudden five-page diversion to a women's rape shelter in Sierra Leone, plonked weirdly in the middle of the book like a vitamin pill on top of a cupcake. The women and men Wolf meets here, on a trip for western reporters organised in 2004, are not substantive figures in the book – she spends far longer interviewing a banker-turned-tantric-healer who specialises in massaging women to orgasm with special oils, flowers and incantations to welcome their inner goddess to a really great wank. The women in Sierra Leone feel like an afterthought, as they do in so many contemporary pseudo-feminist tracts, but they must be mentioned, even if that mention only draws into sharper focus the fact that the book’s field of vision rarely leaves upper Manhattan.It’s always good to hear an arts graduate – especially an MA (Hons) in political science – on economics and real science. Former Green Party MP Sue Kedgley presents a novel concept of private property and argues for expensive food. I’d like to see her explain the former to a farmer – it is “our farmland”, apparently, not theirs – and the latter to anyone from Africa, India or China. Let the starving millions eat organic! It’s better for them.
Which country had the best athlete-to-medal ratios at the Paralympics and Olympics? A clue: it wasn’t China, not even Belarus.
Manglish: why we are lucky to have our alphabet.