Johanna Aitchison

Long Girl Ago, A

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Shortlisted for the 2008 Montana New Zealand Book Awards

A Long Girl Ago draws on ten years experience and writing. At its heart are three years Aitchison spent living in a remote fishing village in Hokkaido, Japan, where she taught English in junior high and primary schools and was extensively involved in karaoke and snowboarding. Other poems go back to her previous life, or deal with re-entry into New Zealand society.

Praise for A Long Girl Ago

This is my pick for the year's most sparking debut. ...Language in all its manifestations fascinates Aitchison - always a good sign in a fledgling poet. Overall, her verse has an exciting experimental edge. I have no idea in which direction she's likely to head next, but I see that as a positive - and a welcome relief from writers content to repeat the same effects ad nauseam. I feel confident that Aitchison is a name to watch for the future.

The deliberate disorientations in this collection are reined in by its emotional earnestness. Aitchison’s lively experimentations step outside the parameters set up by much contemporary, lyric New Zealand poetry – and that’s a breath of sea air.

A Long Girl Ago sees [Aitchison] writing about exotic things with a sense of popular culture, as well as the effects of reintroducing herself back into New Zealand culture. Much of the imagery is modern with references to musical identities. Aitchison's word play is often whimsical but also tough, reflective and personal. She is a brave writer casting prosaic arrows into the reader's consciousness.
Graham Brazier OAMARU MAIL

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