I'm still buzzing from the book launch last night. It was kind of historic - not only a joint launch (they seem to be becoming more and more common), but the books are from different publishers. Lynn Jenner's debut poetry collection Dear Sweet Harry is published by Auckland University Press, while John Newton's second collection (which famously has taken 25 years) The Lives of the Poets was published by Victoria University Press.
I'm particularly looking forward to reading Dear Sweet Harry, as I've enjoyed Lynn's work a lot when I've come across it. We published some of her poems in JAAM 27 (one of which was then published in Best NZ Poems 2009) and I was struck by her original voice. She said something last night about her husband encouraging her to let her poems be as weird as they need to be, and while weird sounds like a not-quite-right way of describing them, they are their own thing.
John Newton's work is new to me, so it will be interesting discovering it.
But what really got me buzzing last night was actually all the other people there. There was a convergence of poets, many of whom I mainly know from the internet, and it was really nice to see them in real life. Many were Tuesday Poets, including some from out of town. I've really found a bit of a community on the internet, mainly through blogging, and the Tuesday Poem phenomena has added to that. Thanks Mary! At big 'institutional' book launches I've often found, being a shy sort of person, that I can end up feeling very alienated. But not last night. Last night I felt I had a lot of poetry friends, and what a lovely bunch of people they are!