Author(s): Nina Powles
I have collected up so many astonishing objects
that I have nowhere to put them down.
A brilliant and unique debut collection from one of the most exciting young voices in New Zealand poetry.
The five colourful chapbooks that make up Luminescent are intended to be read in any order and are gathered together in a cover folder evocative of the night-sky. Each section loosely explores the life and context of a New Zealand woman, from the famous, such as celebrated writer Katherine Mansfield (Sunflowers) and cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley (The Glowing Space Between the Stars), to the possibly fictional school ghost ((Auto)Biography of a Ghost); in between is early settler and whaler’s wife Betty Guard (Whale Fall), and ill-fated dancer Phyllis Porter (Her and the Flames), who died after her dress caught fire onstage at Wellington’s Opera House.
Whaling, astronomy, dance, haunting and art are all turned to poetic purpose; an autobiographical voice weaves in and out, and connections and resonances draw the parts of Luminescent into a powerful whole. This poetry is both intellectual and moving; utterly contemporary, with a deep connection to the past.
Nina Powles is a poet, non-fiction writer and zinemaker from Wellington. She is half Malaysian-Chinese, half Pākehā. Nina has an MA in creative writing from Victoria University of Wellington and won the 2015 Biggs Family Prize for Poetry for the first draft of Luminescent. She is the author of the chapbook Girls of the Drift (Seraph Press, 2014) and several poetry zines.