Winner - Best First Book of Poetry - Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2007
Secret Heart is a collection of superbly crafted autobiographical prose poems, all true stories. The tone is mostly mordant, downbeat, disenchanted at least at first, until the reader becomes aware of the sharp humour that keeps turning these poems back from introspection and out into the social world. One thing this book offers is a young womans wry self-portrait. Another is a warm and vivid memorial of the vibrant milieu of Wellingtons Te Aro flat under the shadow of the inner-city bypass.
Praise for Secret Heart
This book will make you smile. You will probably relate to it, and recognise much of it. At the last page youll sigh with satisfaction, and say to yourself, if this is poetry, then I really like it. Amy Brown SALIENT
Beautrais deftly assimilates classic New Zealand tropes of wind, rain, fish and chips and hills into a blend of melancholic humour and genuinely original observation. There is a pervasive sense of dampness, a worldview shaped by weather and holey socks, shot through with an appreciation of lifes varied absurdity and the continual ability of people to surprise.
The form [prose poems], in Beautrais hands, proves itself to be unexpectedly satisfying, and its capacity to incorporate a breadth of style and substance is well demonstrated. While the local detail of Secret Heart will quickly endear it to a New Zealand audience, it has a quirky vision and a clear voice which deserves a wider readership.
Laura Fergusson LUMIERE READER