Cochranes poetry is both dirty and miraculous.
If a poem is a stroke of luck, Ive been living a charmed life.
Every day, I walk
from Berhampore to Molesworth Street,
buy my few supplies,
come home on the bus.
If not exactly a hunter,
Im a gatherer who covers many miles,
smiles at babies
in supermarket aisles.
This new collection from the author of Into India and Acetylene features a sequence on the life of Erik Satie, as well the vivid and unsettling lyrics for which he is best known.
Geoff Cochranes poetry is at once lush and severe. There is no one else quite like him.
Praise for Vanilla Wine
This guy doesn't need to dip into rhyme to cook up poetry; his sentences are 11 herbs and spices. They make me gush: so evocative, such craftily crafted imagery, such a gift for a succinct turn. Very few poems in this collection fail to have a line that gratifies. The best review is a tiki-tour of quotes: "A rain I didn't hear has inked the road" ("Aubade"); "How cold and wet the wounding scoria" ("Lillybing"); "Gelid chrome deflects the pinging hail" ("For Anne Carson"); My flat becomes a speech laboratory'*?!%!&" ("Vanilla Wine"); Dwarves in silhouette/my problems snarl & fart" ("The Mind of Lester Knife").
Nick Ascroft NEW ZEALAND BOOKS
One exits so many slim volumes with slim pickings. Then there are those books of poetry that seem fuller than fiction. Geoff Cochrane's Vanilla Wine is a whole world, rendered in lines at once compressed and open, mysterious and approachable. These are poems of great formal poise and terrific candour. But here's the test. Turn to the last poem in the book. Read it. Now buy the book.
Geoff Cochrane's Vanilla Wine belies its sweet title. The poems are bitter and compressed. Cochrane observes his Wellington beat (Berhampore to Molesworth St) and trusts readers with the frankest confessions. The prose poem " Anzac Day" should be compulsory reading every April 25.