Author(s): David Eggleton
A raft of writers and artists diagnose 'vital signs' in the next Landfall, published in May 2014. From the slogan on a T-shirt in Mexico, to the moon rising over a flag in Turkey, to haunting evidence of menace and mystery in the Marlborough Sounds, Landfall 227 traverses narratives, identities and cultures to offer vital engagement with the best and the most promising in new New Zealand writing. 'Vital signs' is a medical term that refers to the body's health and well-being as evidenced by heart rate, respiration, reflexes and body temperature. A suite of new paintings by Mark Braunias humorously teases out the visceral aspect of the human condition, while a portfolio of colour photographs by Peter Black contemplates the healing beauty of landscape. The emotional personal associations of significant names--from Charles Dickens' Lizzie Hexam to the biblical Solomon--are explored by Nicholas Reid and Murray Edmond, while Martin Rumsby and Clare Orchard probe the loaded language of modern communication, from Facebook to video games. The magic of names also preoccupies Bernadette Hall in an excerpt from a long experimental poem. Other featured poets include James Norcliffe and Angela Andrews, and there is new fiction by Michelanne Forster, Tracey Slaughter and Chad Taylor, among others. An extensive essay section is devoted to memoirs, ranging from one writer's memories of her father and commemorating Anzac Day, to another's account of growing up as a child of parents who ran an Auckland fruit and vege shop in the golden age of the 1950s, to an essayist's eloquent anecdotes, reminiscences and analysis of the 'coup culture' in Fiji. Poet Gregory O'Brien and geographer Robin Kearns discuss a week spent on the Chatham Islands, illustrated with O'Brien's drawings, and critical voices in the Landfall Review section include Denis Harold discussing 'a contemporary New Zealand bestiary', Emily Brookes on a New Zealander's quest for the real Parisian experience, Jack Ross on a new Philip Mann novel, and Sue Wootton on a new short story collection by Amy Head. Also announcing the winners of the Seresin Landfall Residency 2014 and the Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize 2014.