Dear Neil Roberts, by Airini Beautrais
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It is November 18, 1982.
Neil Ian Roberts is 22 years old.
He walks up to the Police Computer Centre
in Whanganui, at 12.35am.
Who was Neil Roberts? This is the search for the story of a quiet young man, an anarchist, a figure who moves differently, or vanishes altogether, in different versions of history. How are such people remembered; how are they forgotten?
As much a work of documentary as poetry, this extraordinary book considers the uncomfortable event of Neil Roberts’s death, its significance in the context of 1980s New Zealand, and how this action has reverberated through others’ lives, including the poet’s own.