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waha | mouth


‘I’d like to think that opening this book to read is like standing at the mouth of a cave, or a river, or a grave, with a candle in your hand.’ –Hinemoana Baker

Grief, death, infertility – Hinemoana Baker confronts a personal and societal darkness in this new collection of poems but does so with surprising humour and with an eye that seeks out the unlikely image, an ear that forces us to hear afresh the strangeness in our everyday language.

"To Baker, words are more than aggregates of letters. There is the ‘veritable killer whale of a word’, the word marked by its ‘refusal to speak English’, and there are words unsaid – the ‘gag’ and the ‘mute’." - Booksellers NZ

"This exquisite collection is not so much a symphony but a set of partitas for solo violin. Individual notes (words) resonate and linger in the ear as if to make aural chords (connections): ‘a parliament of owls, all palms but mine — bone dry, mouth full of sky and counting.’ In this example, the linking consonants, assonance and near rhyme make chords that register in a subterranean way (sky-mine, mouth-owls, owl-full, parliament-palms, but-bone). Hinemoana’s musicianship extends to the composition as a whole with its shifting tones and pitches." - Paula Green, NZ Poetry Bookshelf

"It's so hard to write the poem of grief or absence, to make it approachable and fresh, and not to push the reader too hard to feel the deep upwelling ugly thing. 'candle' is powerful for its restraint and its ranging unexpectedness. For its cavernous, versatile waha that does everything except cry." - Mary McCallum, Tuesday Poem


NOTE: Use this store if you're in New Zealand. Postage is free for all NZ orders. For international orders, please visit Victoria University Press or Jayrem Records or buy Hinemoana's music on iTunes.