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Beauty of the Badlands
Publisher:Victoria University Press
The poems in the first part of Beauty of the Badlands are located in the poet's home on the marginal clays and farms of the Moutere hills, the 'badlands'that rise west of the village of Brightwater, where Ernest Rutherford, the father of atomic physics, was born. But intimations of other places - and of the perilous years since 9/11 - are immediately felt, as the collection moves beyond its familiar territory on a road trip through the mountains and deserts and secret sites of the US southwest. Taking his bearings from masters of poem and song, both ancient and modern, Cliff Fell conceives of his American quest with characteristic irony as a visit to the underworld. Wistful and wise, reverent and curious, playfully tender on occasion - these 'flickering field notes' - to use Mark Derby's phrase -offer poems that are engaged, shot though with images from science and religion and fiercely unafraid of speaking their mind.While pursuing themes already familiar to readers from his first collection, The Adulterer's Bible - the possibilities of lost language and accidental alphabets, the translated burden of the past - Beauty of the Badlands delivers a highly original vision of the 'new world' of the 21st century. It confirms Cliff Fell's place as a compelling and distinctive voice in New Zealand poetry.
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