Andrew Johnston: Selected Poems
This Selected Poems presents the best of Andrew Johnston’s five published collections, from How to Talk (1993) to Fits & Starts (2016).
‘Andrew Johnson does the best titles. And then he puts the best poems underneath them.’ —Bill Manhire
'Alert, witty, self-conscious, elusive ... these poems carry a strong melancholy undertow. "The Sunflower" seems to me one of the two greatest New Zealand poems of the last thirty years.' —Harry Ricketts, Landfall Review Online
‘Andrew Johnston’s first collection, How to Talk, is a book of such invention, poise, and deceptive simplicity, that the New Zealanders should give him a great deal of time, paper and ink, and prevent his phone from ringing.’ —Michael Hulse, PN Review
‘Andrew Johnston’s remarkable collection grew with each rereading, as its rich intellectual and emotional layers continued to reveal themselves. Fits & Starts is a slow-burning tour de force, each image, metaphor, theme deeply, fully imagined.’ —Judges’ Report, 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards
‘The combination of linguistic playfulness and a heartfelt questioning of how the world is, encapsulated within a concise, structured form, makes these intriguing poems a pleasure to read. They are aurally pleasing even when the meaning is elusive, and this equivocality makes them mysterious and attractive.’ —Janet Newman, Takahē
Andrew Johnston was born in 1963 and grew up in the Hutt Valley. Since 1997 he has lived in France. After more than 25 years as a journalist, he is now a trainer and consultant for the United Nations and non-government groups. He is the author of five previous collections of poems, including How to Talk, which won the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry and the New Zealand Society of Authors Best First Book Award, and most recently Fits & Starts, which won the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry.
Cover: Denis O'Connor, ‘Pencil Sharpener’ – a detail from ‘LUCKEN’S MARGIN’, carved Welsh roofslate, acrylic pigment, 2022