Few books of collected poems and prose have had such an impact on how a text may shape the teaching of writing from one’s own knowledge. The collection More Than A Roof carries the subtitle Housing, in poems and prose and really draws together both familiar and foreign concepts of ownership, living, comfort and alienation in a time of significant upheaval in housing.
Timely, with the constant rhetoric in media on the state of housing in Aotearoa New Zealand and the importance of feeling connected within some kind of community often associated with the thoughts and feelings associated with housing, this collection explores the visceral responses of many young and up and coming writers from around the country.
The lyricism of the language evoked throughout the collection is a stand out. There is such depth to the imagery crafted throughout.
I am the whare
they called Whitireia.
I breathe, creak and moan
as jealous rain slashes at my windows.
You are my kin
Leave the chaos
in my limbs
(“Tūranga” by Gabrielle Huria)
The collection features prominent writers such as Michelle Levy, Apirana Taylor, Harry Ricketts, alongside architect Roger Walker and first time published writers and poets as they explore the meaning of the walls around them. Threading throughout the collection is that concept of Hauora and the deep meaning associated with the places we call home, and the welfare and safety (or lack thereof) that goes along with that.
As a teaching tool, there is such depth and value to be extracted from this collection. From simply showcasing some of the new writers on the Aotearoa New Zealand poetry landscape, to the evocation of elements so close to one’s heart - where we live.
This is a resource as much as it is a wonderfully intriguing collection of writing. Delving into this world will provide a rich source of inspiration and material for every kura.
Title: More Than A Roof: Housing, in poems and prose
Authors: many and varied
Edited by: Adrienne Jansen with Joan Begg, Rebecca Chester, Wesley Hollis, Roman Ratcliff
Publisher: Landing Press
Themes: Hauora, home, homelessness, belonging, buildings
Reviewer: Chris Reed, Macleans College, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening line: “Every six months, / I text a new address / To my confused parents, / Who cannot comprehend / This constant shapeshifting / To fit alien spaces”
You can buy this book here