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Mister Hamilton by John Dickson


Mister Hamilton
John Dickson

Mister Hamilton is John Dickson’s first collection of poetry in eighteen years.

For many years I lived in Southland
In fact, I am from Southland.
Some people say my speech is slow
I say it’s deliberate, just.
And my soul runs dark
like Southland’s slow intestinal rivers
laden with manuka dust.
And my detachment from anything plain.


Mister Hamilton is an appealing, questioning mix of elements. Over a base of South Island bedrock (granite, schist, greywacke), Dickson has peopled this quietly fiery collection with day-to-day working voices, shifts and narratives (sometimes comic, sometimes tragic) charged with a political consciousness and lyrical intensity.

Shot-through with a vein of jazz, rock and blues, a quizzical religiosity, a streak of the absurd: this book takes a fresh look at the streets and lawns and people of urban and suburban ‘Pig Island’ and from that space offers some careful, wisely pitched and immensely likeable poems.

And who is Mister Hamilton? A familiar everyman, a voice of authority, a common presence, an old friend – readers may make up their own minds after spending time in the company of Dickson and his book.

Descended from a mix of Irish, Scots and English ancestors, John Dickson was born in 1944 at Milton, South Otago. John worked at The Bill Robertson Library in Dunedin for many years, and was Burns Fellow at the University of Otago in 1988. He is the author of the poetry collections what happened on the way to Oamaru(1986) and sleeper (Auckland University Press, 1998), as well as an audio CD Plain Song (2009). In 2000, John Dickson was the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Waikato.

Mister Hamilton is published by AUP on 22 August 2016, RRP $24.99

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