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There is a poem in As far as I can see (AUP, 1999) that imagines a future time: They gave me flowers and asked where I would go. To open the eyes of the soul, I said. There is a way but this is only the first gate.
milk and honey is a dance to the music of that future time. It looks back and remembers. It looks forward and tries to see what will happen next. Its theatre is the world turning round and what can be saved each day from a life of the imagination. It builds tentative structures from smaller parts that come and go like thought itself. It is a lamentation, the universe as circus. It is a pattern of doors opening. It counts and it listens.
It is a series of border-crossings between light and dark, old world and new, history and desire, body and soul, life and death, yes and no. It is an attempt on happiness, another search for the oh of transformation.
It is in three parts with a gateway at either end. It can be read from the front or the back and there is seriousness but also songs along the way. Why is it called milk and honey? Because of a song. Why are there two clowns on the cover? Because one morning they were front-page news
‘Impresario of the NZ Electronic Poetry Center and author of Reading Zukofsky’s 80 Flowers, professor at the University of Auckland, Michele Leggott continues to write complex lyrics, sampling thought and song, voice and vision.’ —Charles Bernstein, Notable Books (Summer 2005):
‘Milk & Honey shows us that the ordinary is full of marvels . . . which, stitched, flow together into sequences and episodes that in turn form an ongoing serial, or bricolage: a single poem, then, rejecting exactness, literalism, naturalism in favour of resonance, currents, patterns of ebb and flow . . . Leggott is arguably our finest living female rhapsodist.’ —David Eggleton, NZ Listener
‘Leggott’s poems are definitely things of intellectual beauty. They are also, certainly, unique news from the logosphere.’ —Philip Mead, Jacket
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