Author(s): Elizabeth Smither
A commonplace book is the repository for a personal collection of quotations and scraps, pensees and poems. In vogue from the late sixteenth-century, their fans include John Milton, W H Auden and now Elizabeth Smither. Here she shares three of her commonplace books and reflects on the quotations she's gathered that act as foil and ballast to her life and writing. There are no platitudes or sententious maxims here; instead the quotations range from the pensive to the screamingly funny; by the great and famous to the little known; from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to Elizabeth Bennet, Charles Simic to Montaigne, Monty Python to Henry James. With diversions serious and more frivolous along the way, The Commonplace Book offers keen insight into the influences and inspirations of a writer. A follow-up to her diary-book The Journal Box (1997), this is Elizabeth Smither - a woman 'too balanced to be a writer' - at her thoughtful, witty, delightful best.
Distinguished New Zealand writer Elizabeth Smither is the author of five novels, five books of short stories and fifteen books of poetry. She has twice won the major book award for New Zealand poetry and was 2002 Te Mata Poet Laureate. She has held creative writing fellowships and in 2004 she was awarded an honorary DLitt by the University of Auckland and an MNZM. She received the prestigious Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry in 2008. Her most recent books are a novel, Lola (2010), and short-story collection, The Girl Who Proposed (2008).