Bill Direen’s poem sequence is a hymn to his childhood and to his water-bound native country, New Zealand. Working from the name Nova Zelandia that appeared on maps after the 1642 voyage of Abel Tasman, Direen voyages through his own land where everything was ‘new’ — his own childhood — and onwards to the sight, sense and smell of land bordered by ocean, of water manifest on land, and the changing landscapes of local light. This extended poem, with its Ginsberg-like chant about Sea and Land, and its Whitman-like sense of praise and scale, is a eulogy to New Zealand’s received culture of foreignness and isolation.
“Details are isolated from one another and juxtaposed, rather than harmonised in organic 'contexts' or 'scenes'. Viewed through Direen's wrong-way telescope, the familiar appears fragmented and luminously mysterious.” (Scott Hamilton, Brief Magazine #34).
First published by Titus Books in 2005.