Wild Honey – Reading New Zealand Womens Poetry

By Paula Green | Price: $45

Illustrated throughout by Sarah Laing and featuring the work of 195 poets (all of whom have biographies and full bibliographies), this book is a landmark volume and an incredible achievement. Its timing is perfect given the current re-examination of the role of the male gatekeepers of our literature in the 1940s and 1950s, who decided that women’s poetry was weak and excluded it from the volumes of poetry that were to become the canon. How things have changed! At present the most exciting poetry is coming from high-profile young women poets who almost have cult status Hera Lindsay Bird and Tayi Tibble.

Charmingly and unique, the books chapters follow the structure of a house, with different poets being discussed and assessed in each of the houses rooms. The selection is enormously generous, the tone is at times gentle and accessible, and Green’s reach is wide, bringing the pioneers of women’s poetry – such as Jessie Mackay, Blanche Baughan and Eileen Duggan – back from the shadows while also drawing attention to the remarkable stories of forgotten women poets, such as Lola Ridge.

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