It is the time of the stupefying. Just when we least expected it, when we thought the show was over, it clonked out into the limelight, and the world was split in two.
The Stupefying is a bruised arm firmly removed from its sling. It isn’t funny ha-ha but funny that-can’t-be-true-but-I-know-it-is. In poems of eavesdropping and invention, deflation and elation, Nick Ascroft’s poetic sensibilities and craft are always surprising, sometimes morally questionable, always a delight. His fifth collection may be his most personal yet, with a sweetness that stings us repeatedly. The Stupefying is not to be missed.
'Ascroft’s advantage is he is funny (not always guaranteed when less adept poets decide to do a turn). What could be merely confessional is given extra emotional mass by this Trojan horse where sadness and disappointment are concealed passengers aboard the vehicle. His poems are quicksilver, but not at the expense of veracity. . . . Ascroft’s poetry is a galactic nebula, brightly lit and sparkling with colour.' —Victor Billett, Landfall Review Online
'Nick Ascroft is a wonderfully adroit poet . . . They’re not always an easy read, these poems, but they’re always a rewarding one.’ —Harry Ricketts, Nine to Noon, RNZ
'It’s the personal poems that really take up the scalpel, examining with a careful detachment and irony. The generosity and hope swimming throughout these is especially appealing.' —Erica Stretton, Kete Books
Nick Ascroft is the author of many poetry collections with Te Herenga Waka University Press. He has nearly won the Kathleen Grattan Prize four times, the most anyone has nearly won it. Living in Wellington, he is a public servant advising on digital publishing (and indoor soccer). He will be on the New Zealand team taking on Australia in the 2022 Scrabble Trans-Tasman.
Cover art: Kushana Bush, Deal Makers, 2019