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New book launched in NZ Music Month

Auckland University Press
Media release


New book, The Blind Singer, launched in NZ Music Month

Musician and writer Chris Price chose NZ Music Month to release her new book The Blind Singer, published by Auckland University Press (AUP).

In this new collection of poems, the awardwinning author of Husk and Brief Lives is deeply concerned with music, exploring the question, “How does music hold us up?”

Price works legend, history, biography, art and the secret lives of musical instruments into her narratives, including ‘The Angel Question’, a stunning sequence originally written for the science–literature project ‘Are Angels OK?’

The Blind Singer was launched at the University of Auckland’s Gus Fisher Gallery by NZ Poet Laureate Michele Leggott, supported by music by Robbie Duncan (acoustic guitar) and Jonathan Besser (electronic keyboard) and percussion and vocals / poems from Chris Price herself.

Michele Leggott described The Blind Singer as “a diptych, a hinge picture, a pair of wings (a book)”.

“Everywhere you will find the thing in the world, and then its reverse; the image and its mirror, yes and no, me and you. Right at the join is a poem called ‘Irreversible’ and then we jump over the impossible gap to address ‘The Angel Question’ It is our job to keep on jumping.”

Celebrated writer Vincent O’Sullivan has said, “When I first read ‘The Angel Question’, it struck me that not since Fairburn’s ‘Dominion’ had a New Zealand poet written such an extensive ‘public’ poem with such commitment, emotional resonance, or so much in tune with its time. Reading it again, I’m even more compelled by Chris Price’s technical finesse, her wit, the way she takes on and takes in so much from such diverse places, and threads it to something so splendidly her own: a descant on Modernism that is up to its massive subject – a big, original, flaring celebration.”

Chris Price completed The Blind Singer while she was the inaugural University of Auckland / Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence at the Michael King Writers’ Centre Writer, Devonport, in 2008.

Her first collection of poetry Husk (AUP, 2002) hit the bestseller list and won the 2002 NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for the Best First Book of Poetry. Her second book Brief Lives (AUP, 2006), a genre-crossing work that includes elements of poetry, essay, memoir and fiction, was shortlisted for the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards in the biography category.

Chris Price and Robbie Duncan are members of the occasional acoustic improv group Waiting for Donald.

The Blind Singer by Chris Price
Published by Auckland University Press, with assistance from Creative NZ
PB with dust jacket; RRP $24.99


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