Sexy and funny and sad in turn, A Box of Bees mixes family narratives and the art and science of beekeeping in an engaging, sensual first collection of poetry. These poems juxtapose gentle, sweet pleasures with very real dangers:
hed received thousands of stings.
Only a beekeeper could have survived that many.
Other poems tell us of Emilys family and of growing up, of her travels and of falling in love; all with fondness, honesty and charm. An assured and confident debut, A Box of Bees won the 2004 Adam Foundation Prize.
The beeswax in the tank is dark and liquid and aromatic,
hot beneath my face as I lean over to fill a jug. I can feel him behind me.
We find ourselves in the honey shed. Fingers dig
into fresh honeycomb warm and sticky. He brushes
a smudge from the corner of my mouth.
From A Box of Bees
Praise for A Box of Bees
NAMED ONE OF THE NZ HERALD'S "BOOKS OF THE YEAR" Emily Dobson is a highly promising new-comer who writes engagingly about bees and beekeeping. One to watch out for. Peter Simpson NZ HERALD
Childhood memories and the routines of beekeeping are interspersed among the incidents of immediate and extended family and the writers own broadening independence the poems are very assured and a joy to read. James Brown
These poems have a lively assertiveness, a voice that is not afraid to declare itself and its feelings. Clare Needham DOMINION POST
I love her shift in mood from sexy, funny and sad, to gentle and sweet. In one part of it, Dobson even eats a bee. This collection finds a young woman displaying an emotional maturity beyond her years. Check out this lovely little book. A great start from a new poet. Hamesh Wyatt OTAGO DAILY TIMES
Emily Dobson grew up in Kereru, Hawkes Bay, at the foot of the Ruahine and Whakarara Ranges. Her mother and father kept bees, and Emily worked in the holidays at Arataki Honey, a family business set up by her great-grandfather and grandfather. After high school she spent a year living and traveling in Italy, France, Crete, Spain and England. She has a degree in English Literature from Victoria University, and in 2004 completed Victorias MA in Creative Writing, winning the Adam Prize for best folio and the 2005/2006 Schaeffer Fellowship to Iowa Universitys Creative Writing Program. Her poems have appeared in a range of publications, from literary magazine Brief to the NZ Listener, and won the 2002 Takahe Poetry Competition and the 2004 Aoraki Festival Poetry Competition.