This author first came to my attention after hearing her recite a poem on Radio New Zealand. A fellow high school teacher, Johanna Emeney draws experience from that well of inspiration, the students around us.
Emeney creates a world enraptured by itself and totally unrepentant for its misgivings.
The impression left with the reader is a reflective view of life and a contemplation of where to next. Emeney has a talent for expressing her ideas with such energy and poignancy. In addition, it is the wonderful use of sound that really captures the reader. Much of this can be lost if the poems are simply read on the page but as aural works of art there is a really beautiful crafting of the English language to echo and replicate the emotional tones used throughout.
Emeney displays her linguistic talent which is perhaps a representation of her lineage as a lecturer at university in creative writing or drawn from a deep knowledge of how to make language simple and effective. The efficacy of her imagery and her language really stands out in this collection. Emeney reinforces the intense tonal quality that can be crafted from just a few words.
The teaching that is available from these poems and the relevance that it will serve in school classrooms and libraries is long lasting. It would be well worth the investment to get this into school and promote it! The wistful mix of traditional poetry with modern takes makes for really quite exciting writing.
Her metaphors feel fresh and free, and her images are clear and colourful. Felt is a brilliant exploration of the way that poetry can create as much as capture.
Author: Johanna Emeney
Publisher: Massey University Press
Publication: April 2022
Reviewer: Chris Reed, Macleans College, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening line: The seagull walks more quickly / in front of the little boy / whose hands are a gun.