Saturday, December 08, 2012
Peter Bland Collected Poems 1956 -2011
This volume represents a lifetime’s achievement, a testament to Peter Bland’s ongoing power to engage us in his vision. Often witty and beautiful, Collected Poems confirms Peter’s reputation as one of New Zealand’s finest poets.
Peter Bland arrived in New Zealand in 1954 and since the 1970s has divided his time between here and the UK, working as an actor, playwright and critic, while developing poetry of increasing intimacy. From evocations of the conformist ’50s to explorations of the post-modern era, his celebration of idiom and understanding of the modern itinerant mind have helped us to understand ourselves.
Praise for Peter Bland:
His approach to the twin themes of home and exile is original and he has helped to modernize the representation of landscape within New Zealand in recent decades. his alone is no small achievement. — Conor O’Callaghan, Times Literary Supplement.
Peter Bland remains one of New Zealand’s shrewdest, surest, and most readable poets. —Murray Bramwell, CRNLE Reviews Journal.
No New Zealand poet has greater graphic energy or a more creative visual sense. He writes in a carefully crafted vernacular of deceptive skill and power. —Kevin Ireland, NZ Listener.
Born in Scarborough, Yorkshire in 1934, Peter Bland emigrated to Wellington, NZ in 1954. After attending Victoria University, Peter began working for the NZ Broadcasting Corporation where he became Head of Spoken Progammes. There, he introduced the first national arts review and social comment programme ‘Looking at Ourselves’. He moved to the NZ Listener in 1960 as feature writer then to editing the monthly magazine Education for School Publications. He was the Co-founder and artistic director of Downstage Theatre from 1964-1968.
From 1964 he has been a freelance actor and writer, dividing his time between NZ and the UK. Plays written for Downstage include ‘Father’s Day’ and ‘George the Mad Ad Man’. He has appeared in numerous West End plays and on UK TV. Films include ‘Shut Your Eyes and Think of England’ with Joanna Lumley.
He returned to NZ to star in the film ‘Came a Hot Friday’ with Billy T James. In 1986 he won a GOFTA Best Film Actor Award.
He has 13 volumes of poetry published in NZ and the UK and has received numerous awards for his written work including the Observer/Arvon Foundation International Poetry Prize, a Chomondeley Award and a Melbourne Arts Festival Literary Award. His children’s poetry collection ‘Shhh I’m Still a Stranger Here Myself’ (2003) was a finalist in the NZ Post Book Awards.
In 2011 he won a Prime Minister’s Award for outstanding contribution to literature.
Of his early work James Bertram wrote that ‘no-one has been more successful in capturing the middle-ground of New Zealand's post-war urban experience...’ Collected Poems enables us to appreciate the full extent of Peter Bland’s achievement.
Peter Bland Collected Poems 1956 – 2011 | Steele Roberts | Published mid-December 2012 | rrp.$ 44.99