Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

Michael, I Thought You Were Dead

A chance encounter with another poet gave Wellington poet and publisher Michael Fitzsimons the title for his new book.

He was battling cancer, and arriving at a book launch at Unity in Wellington one day found news of his death had been greatly exaggerated. “Michael,” said the other poet, “I thought you were dead.”

Michael, I thought you were dead launches in Movember, the month when men’s health comes under the spotlight. It is a book that talks about one man’s experience of cancer, but it’s also about being fully alive.

“There is light and lightness in the observations and a nice turn of humour that you don’t expect,” says publisher Mary McCallum. “The black humour of the title poem is just a start. A one point, for example, Michael describes putting on a pair of shorts and some fancy French aftershave to go and see the oncologist. It finishes: ‘I await the verdict. A scented man.’”

Speaking at the launch of the Fitzsimons’ book at – appropriately enough – a lifesaving club at Worser Bay, artist and writer Gregory O’Brien described it as “a love poem to the world and its inhabitants”.

“It is hard to imagine a book more infused with living, with seasonal growth and rebirth, with the wairua and spirit of being alive. In the middle of an encounter with death, we find ourselves at the very heart of life.”

McCallum says that for a press based on Ghuznee Street in Wellington, she is drawn to the way Michael describes the world in front of him – whether it’s from the eagle’s eyrie where he lives above the harbour, a bushwalk on the West Coast or his favourite hang-outs in the Cuba precinct. “He writes of intimate illuminated moments that suddenly take flight and give us a perspective as big as the world.”

We sit in the sun outside Milk Crate, drink coffee from yellow cups and talk about how well the West Indies are doing for a change against Pakistan, and how the day is shaping up here on Ghuznee Street. Serious young women with strategically ripped jeans wait in silence for the next bus, while we sit with the sparrows and flame-haired David Bowie across the asphalt and a caged sapling losing its leaves.
In this moment, I give up on anxiety. The coffee is so good. Sweet and chocolatey. A day of possibility. The shine.
(from “Markings”)

A proud member of the three-person South Wellington Poetry Society, Michael Fitzsimons is a writer and co-founder of Fitzbeck Creative. His first collection, Now You Know, was recommended in RNZ’s annual poetry highlights. Michael I thought you were dead is available at all good independent bookstores and at www.thecubapress.nz – ISBN 978-1-98-859507-8

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: 1917's 1,000 Yard Stare

Sam Mendes has created a terrible and barbarous trek, one that we appreciate all the more for being catapulted right into the midst of this ear-splitting melee from the film's opening sequence. More>>


Floorball: NZ To Host World Cup Of Floorball In 2022

In a major coup for a minnow nation in the European-dominated sport of floorball, New Zealand has won the rights to host one of the sport’s marque international events. More>>

National Voyage Continues: Tuia 250 Ends

Tuia 250 has unleashed an unstoppable desire to keep moving forward and continue the kōrero about who we are, say the co-chairs of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee, Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. More>>

ALSO:

Te Papa: New Chief Executive From Its Own Staff

Courtney Johnston has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Te Papa. Ms Johnston will take up the role in December 2019. Since its founding, Te Papa has had a dual leadership model, and as Tumu Whakarae|Chief Executive, Johnston will share the leadership with Kaihautū Dr Arapata Hakiwai. More>>

ALSO:

Over 150 Productions: NZ Fringe 2020 Has Launched

The upcoming festival will be held at 40 venues all over Wellington Region from 28 February to 21 March, and includes every genre possible—theatre, comedy, dance, music, clowning, cabaret, visual art, children’s shows and more! More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 


 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland