Are Friends Electric? offers a vivid and moving vision of a past, present and future mediated by technology. The first part of Helen Heath’s bold new collection is comprised largely of found poems which emerge from conversations about sex bots, people who feel an intimate love for bridges, fences and buildings, a meditation on Theo Jansen’s beautifully strange animal sculptures, and the lives of birds in cities.
A series of speculative poems further explores questions of how we incorporate technology into our lives and bodies. In these poems on grief, Heath asks how technology can keep us close with those we have lost. How might our experiences of grieving and remembering be altered?
‘Helen Heath seats poems that are explicitly about science and scientists alongside poems that explore a more internal world of family, emotion and travel. In doing so she blurs boundaries and masterfully reminds us that science is not a separate and remote entity but is part of the vital continuum of life . . .’ —Judges’ comments, Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize, 2013
'After reading these poems, I feel like my brain has been flipped around a couple of times, in the best way.' —Hera Lindsay Bird on Graft
'Demented.' —Janet Charman on Are Friends Electric?
Helen Heath’s first book, Graft, was published in 2012 and won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book for Poetry Award in 2013. It was also the first book of fiction or poetry to be shortlisted for the Royal Society of NZ Science Book Prize. She holds a PhD in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.