The Situation: Brian Potiki

The Situation 2020

Tēnā koutou katoa

‘The Situation 2020’ is a kind of Poet Laureate's Choice of work from Aotearoa New Zealand poets for the Poet Laureate blog. Essentially, it will be a portfolio of poetry, posted over the next while, from a range of poets whose work I have enjoyed reading recently: interesting poems for interesting times.

— David Eggleton

two breasts of wine, both red


give boys words,
not guns -
and girls words, not dolls -
to play with

most important,
fill the luxury hotels;
with poets and
give each a key to
the hotel wine cellar



an exile thinks of Bluff


at the north end of town
the footpaths have
twisted out of shape;
Bluff, if you like,
in its singlet

hillsides bare -
the gorse blooms pale there-
and the streets
(oh my dear!)
hang from the sides
like trousers
on the line

the old cemetery
faces Rakiura straight-on,
it’s only a glance away
but a long way in

i’d be there now, really
if i could - 
but i’m stuck here
in the North Island
for good

—Brian Potiki

Brian Potiki biography

Brian Potiki and his partner Jill Walker. Image Bill Dacker.

Brian is a hardcore koro, with mokopuna spread between Hamilton and Blenheim. He fishes on Lake Rotoehu from a kayak. A musician, storyteller and playwright as well as a poet, his books include Aotearoa: Collected Poems and Songs, and Te Wai Pounamu, Your Music Remembers Me: four South Island history plays & their songs.


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