James Brown

Slim Volume

210mm x 148mm
Publication date:
11 July 2024

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A slim volume of verse, like a bicycle, offers us fresh and joyful and sometimes troubling ways of seeing the world.

James Brown’s eighth collection of poems begins in childhood and moves through education, jobs and the essential unremarkable activities that occupy our lives – before arriving in a post-apocalyptic future, where the nights run late and down to the wire. The poems are ever-alert to the minutiae of power, the thrill of the unexpected, and the shiny potential of an ending. Always compelling, funny, heartening, Brown speaks volumes even when claiming to have little to say.

‘James Brown makes the process of reading feel effortless, but always rewards active attention. Like Stevie Smith, he can sometimes seem to be waving and drowning at the same time.’ —Bill Manhire, North & South

‘How gifted Brown is at the craft of poetry, the game of word and sounds on the page that are tidy and tight and clever and cool. And also how he lifts aside that cleverness to show us the tender inner self, the moist soft core of James Brown and his world.’ —Anna Livesey, Aotearoa New Zealand Review of Books

‘Funny, dark, insightful and nothing close to a chore to read. Poetry, but it doesn’t suck.’ —Alex Grace, Goodreads

James Brown's previous poetry collections are The Tip Shop (2022), Selected Poems (2020), Floods Another Chamber (2017), Warm Auditorium (2012), The Year of the Bicycle (2006), which was a finalist in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2007, Favourite Monsters (2002), Lemon (1999), and Go Round Power Please (1996), which won the Best First Book Award for Poetry. James works as an editor and teaches the Poetry Workshop at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Cover photograph: Russell Kleyn

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