Nikki-Lee Birdsey

Night as Day


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APRIL 2019

In her first book, Nikki-Lee Birdsey takes readers from a remote sheep station in the South Island to the neon signs of Queens; from a hotel in Piha to a Walt Whitman Rest Area in New Jersey; from intimately known cities to remembered landscapes. Night as Day describes a New Zealand that is overlapped by the United States and the challenges and almost-joys of navigating between these places, identities and homecomings. Balancing artistic experimentation with frank expression, these poems are mesmerising in their intelligence and beauty.


Named one of the New Zealand Listener's ten best poetry books of 2019

'An assured debut balancing experimentation with frank expression in exploring a dual American–New Zealand identity.' —Nicholas Reid, NZ Listener

"We are caught inside of a structure as strong as steel and as fine as the hairs on the back of the neck; but something starts to shift. The reasons for this looking-away – this vague sense of staring past the issue – becomes clear. We are looking into the world of trauma, and the real political reality, of upheaval, of fascism and misogyny and the ugliness that coaches it. Birdsey presents us a body that wants to live despite structures so invested in making it silent...We are not alone it says, just open your mouth and speak into the air and someone else’s world will vibrate with yours and the shadows that haunt our lives might just be twisted into light.    
—essa may ranapiri, Booksellers NZ

'I love the way that I am reading, listening and learning from these poems all at the same time.' —Marcus Hobson, NZBooklovers

Nikki-Lee Birdsey was born in Piha. She has a PhD from the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and a BA from New York University. Her poetry and prose has been published in various journals in Aotearoa and abroad, including most recently in Poetry New Zealand, The Iowa Review, Fence and Sport. Her first book, Night as Day, was published by Victoria University Press in 2019. She sometimes teaches poetry at the IIML and is an editor of the poetry journal Sweet Mammalian.

Cover photograph: Eloise Birdsey

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