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Poetry is Another Country: Michael Hulse and Hinemoana Baker

Presented by The New Zealand International Arts Festival 2012

Renowned poet, translator and critic Michael Hulse comes to us from England, and has deep affiliations with Germany, also – his Father was English, hailing from the Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent, and his mother from near Trier in Germany. He writes in the introduction to 'A Secret History' that for many years living in Germany he would say, if asked, that he 'felt at home in Germany but in the English language'. Finding a home has also meant, he writes, ‘seeking ease of spirit in a life without God, and rejecting an understanding of the world predicated on power politics’.

He has translated over sixty books, including Rilke and Goethe, and is perhaps most well-known for in that realm for his translations of W G Sebald. In 2009 he co-founded the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. He recently co-edited the acclaimed anthology ‘The 20th Century in Poetry’, the first book of its kind to attempt such a serious and fair representation across the English-speaking world, including New Zealand and Australian writers. The Guardian called it ‘magnificent’.

Michael Hulse has won numerous awards for his poetry. His most recent collection of poetry is ‘The Secret History”. These poems, written as a sustained meditation on the meaning of home, include a deeply moving long poem speaking to the death of his father. They have been noted for their astonishing combition of erudition and technical control, coupled with profound emotional explorations – 'achingly direct poems as son and lover'.

Hinemoana Baker is a poet, musician and sound enthusiast. Her first book of poetry, 'mātuhi | needle', was co-published in New Zealand and the US in 2004. Actor, writer and artist Viggo Mortensen's publishing house Perceval Press co-published the book, which features the paintings of Ngāi Tahu artist Jenny Rendall

Hinemoana's first album, 'puāwai' (Jayrem Records, 2004) was a finalist for the NZ Music Awards and the APRA Silver Scrolls Māori Language award. Her second collection of poetry, 'kōiwi kōiwi | bone bone' (Victoria University Press), was launched in Wellington in 2010. She co-edited the anthology 'Kaupapa: New Zealand Poets, World Issues' in 2007, and has released four more CDs of music and poetry.

Hinemoana was Arts Queensland Poet in Residence in 2009 and writer in residence with the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa in 2010. She has appeared at festivals and events in New Zealand and in Australia, Indonesia and the US.


NB: This event replaces the planned session with Toronto Poet Laureate Dionne Brand, who has sadly had to cancel her appearances due to illness. Information about ticketing here.