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New collection from prize-winning poet Frankie McMillan

New collection from prize-winning poet Frankie McMillan

Christchurch poet Frankie McMillan has released her latest collection of poetry with Canterbury University Press.

There are no horses in heaven ushers in a range of colourful characters, presenting a world which is at times dreamlike and faux-naïf.

Humorous and daring, the work nevertheless addresses the concerns of us all: what it is to be human. Here, the strange oddities of human nature and our relationship to the animal world are explored with deft tenderness.

McMillan drew inspiration for her collection of poems from a range of sources – from a horse patiently raising its foot to be shod to an overheard phrase in a café.

“Words can often be attracted to other words and our language both reveals and conceals. Quirky facts about the world interest me as do unusual occupations such as glass blowing, bell ringing, corsetière making.”

A recurring theme in the work is “relationships” particularly the male/female relationship which is often fraught with difficulty but which affords some comedic moments.

“I see humour as opening the door into serious concerns,” she says.

McMillan says her poetry reflects her experiences and will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

“Life is strange, life is wonderful, life is full of richness, humour, tragedy and loss.”

There are no horses in heaven has been designed and printed in a limited edition in collaboration with Ilam Press, Ilam School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury. Original artwork for the cover is by Lyttelton artist Nichola Shanley.

“I particularly like the design qualities of the book. A single colour - blue - is used throughout, for the cover illustration, the dividing pages and the titles of poems. The book has a tactile quality, fits easily in the hand and draws the reader in,” she says.

“The cover perfectly reflects the contents of the book.”

About the author:
Frankie McMillan is a poet and short-story writer who lives in Christchurch. She is the author of The Bag Lady’s Picnic and other stories (Shoal Bay Press, 2001) and a poetry collection, Dressing for the Cannibals (Sudden Valley Press, 2009). She won first prize in the New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition 2009 for her poem “My father’s balance”, and in 2013 was the winner of the New Zealand National Flash Fiction Award. McMillan was awarded the Creative New Zealand Todd New Writers’ Bursary in 2005 and was co-recipient of the Ursula Bethell Residency in Creative Writing at the University of Canterbury in 2014.

There are no horses in heaven by Frankie McMillan, published by Canterbury University Press, March 2015, RRP $25, ISBN: 978-1-927145-67-8.


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