Beauty of the Badlands
The poems in the first part of Beauty of the Badlands, Cliff Fells remarkable new collection, are located in the poets home on the marginal clays and farms of the Moutere hills, the badlands that rise west of the village of Brightwater, where Ernest Rutherford, the father of atomic physics, was born. But intimations of other placesand of the perilous years since 9/11 are immediately felt, as the collection moves beyond its familiar territory on a road trip through the mountains and deserts and secret sites of the US southwest. Taking his bearings from masters of poem and song, both ancient and modern, Cliff Fell conceives of his American quest with characteristic irony as a visit to the underworld.
Praise for Beauty of the Badlands
the " loincloth is Prussian blue, dark as a meadow where the constellations stand/like a herd of soft-eyed cows". Those two drop-dead gorgeous lines are worth the price of the whole volume.
Peter Dornauf WAIKATO TIMES
Wistful and wise, reverent and curious, playfully tender on occasion these flickering field notes to use Mark Derbys phrase offer poems that are engaged, shot though with images from science and religion and fiercely unafraid of speaking their mind. While pursuing themes already familiar to readers from his first collection, The Adulterers Bible the possibilities of lost language and accidental alphabets, the translated burden of the past Beauty of the Badlands delivers a highly original vision of the new world of the 21st century. It confirms Cliff Fells place as a compelling and distinctive voice in New Zealand poetry.