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  • Published: 30 July 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143771845
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $34.99

View from the South

'His poetry is bright, confident and compelling. ' - Otago Daily Times

A stunning collection of poems from one of New Zealand's most respected writers.

David Eggleton wrote of Marshall’s poetry in the New Zealand Listener that, ‘Above all, the poems are redolent of the South Island – all wild winds and dry hills, sleepy summer afternoons, the shimmer of light on lakes, snow like whitewash on the Alps.’ In addition his poetry captures the voice and perspective of the South Island, whether it is contemplating family or friends, love or mortality, the local landscape or further afield, through place or time.

This collection brings together Marshall’s most powerful poetry from his previous three collections with many more recent works. They are complemented by photographs taken by his friend and fellow Mainlander Grahame Sydney.

‘They are an exquisite marriage of musicality, observation, elegance and economy. Certain words stand out in his lines like the glint of light on wet ground.’ - Paula Green, New Zealand Herald.

  • Published: 30 July 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143771845
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

Owen Marshall

Owen Marshall, described by Vincent O’Sullivan as ‘New Zealand’s best prose writer’, is an award-winning novelist, short-story writer, poet and anthologist, who has written or edited 30 books, including the bestselling novel The Larnachs. Numerous awards for his fiction include the New Zealand Literary Fund Scholarship in Letters, fellowships at Otago and Canterbury universities, and the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship in Menton, France. In 2000 he became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to literature; in 2012 was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM); and in 2013 he received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Fiction. In 2000 his novel Harlequin Rex won the Montana New Zealand Book Awards Deutz Medal for Fiction. Many of his other books have been shortlisted for major awards, and his work has been extensively anthologised.

In addition, in 2003 he was the inaugural recipient of the Creative New Zealand Writers’ Fellowship, and was the 2009/10 Antarctica New Zealand Arts Fellow. In 2006 he was invited by the French Centre National du Livre to participate in their Les Belles Etranges festival and subsequent tour, anthology and documentary. He was the President of Honour of the New Zealand Society of Authors 2007–08 and delivered the 2010 Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture.

He was a school teacher for many years, having graduated with an MA (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, which in 2002 awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, and in 2005 appointed him an adjunct professor.

See more at www.owenmarshall.net.nz.

Many leading contemporary writers have counted themselves amongst his admirers, including Janet Frame and Fiona Kidman, who wrote of his work, ‘I find myself exclaiming over and again with delight at the precision, the beauty, the near perfection of his writing.’ Writer, historian and literary biographer Michael King wrote of Marshall, ‘Quite simply the most able and the most successful exponent of the short story currently writing in New Zealand.’ In World Literature Today, Carolyn Bliss described Marshall as a writer who ‘speaks with equal intensity to the unbearable loveliness and malevolence of life’. Writer and academic Vincent O’Sullivan has claimed ‘nobody tells our [New Zealand] stories better’.

When Gravity Snaps, a collection of short stories that was runner-up for the 2003 Deutz Medal for Fiction, was described by Gordon McLauchlan in the Weekend Herald as displaying ‘the gift of telling stories that take hold of you in a personal way and bring echoes of people, places and events you have known, but not paid enough attention to at the time. It is a magical heightening of the ordinary.’

The short story collection Watch of Gryphons and Other Stories, shortlisted for the 2006 Montana Book Awards, ranges over a rich variety of subjects and settings, from Perugia’s ancient ruins to the South Island’s empty tussocklands, and displays the nuanced emotions which typify Marshall’s writing. The next collection, Living As a Moon, also shifts between European and Antipodean settings.

David Eggleton wrote of Owen’s poetry in The New Zealand Listener, ‘Marshall weighs his words as if regarding you with a raised ironic eyebrow. The poems employ the same bluff, resilient, yet harmonious language as Marshall’s prose.’
Marshall’s third novel, Drybread, combined elements of the thriller alongside a love story, exploring the ‘ambiguities of relationships’ (The New Zealand Listener).

Kelly Ana Morey, reviewing his next novel, The Larnachs, in TheNew Zealand Herald, described it as ‘a thoughtful, tender love story with ... an awful lot of lovely, restrained writing by Marshall’. The book is a fictional treatment of real events in the nineteenth century, and John McCrystal in The New Zealand Listener noted: ‘The Larnachs is an interesting development for Marshall. For many years pigeon-holed as a writer of realist fiction from a masculine perspective, he has proved himself far more than a one-trick pony. He has published two volumes of poetry and The Larnarchs is his fourth novel. Half of it is written from a woman’s point of view.’

Marshall has compiled two anthologies, Essential New Zealand Short Stories and Best New Zealand Fiction #6, and collaborated with painter Grahame Sydney and poet Brian Turner on Timeless Land, an appreciation of the landscapes of the Central South Island, which has been published in multiple editions.

Also by Owen Marshall

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Praise for View from the South

Two mates with a dedication to the landscape of the south have joined forces to produce a volume that pays tribute not just to that landscape but to the people who inhabit it. Grahame Sydney's photos at times echo his paintings, but others show a keen documentary interest. In Owen Marshall's words there's celebration, wry humour and a range of reference that takes the poems beyond their southern inspiration to ripple out into the wider world.

Paul Little, North & South

Owen Marshall and Grahame Sydney have come together in poetry and photography for this collection, View From The South, which is a beautiful, hardcover, small coffee table book – in the best sense. Each page is roomy and the poetry and photography often work in tandem to project an overall image . . . the compact lyrics are solid and well crafted, letting you into the interior world. An investment has been made to create a beautiful poetry book, with space and colour, and all these factors pull together to make a book which is both thoughtful and delightful.

Libby Kirkby-McLeod, The Reader, The Booksellers NZ Blog

There is no straining for originality in his verse, no exhibitionist sensitivity, just a quiet confidence in the value of well-wrought thought. Perhaps this basic integrity is what makes his south so convincing. . . The book includes a rich selection of photographs by Grahame Sydney, discreetly interspersed, sometimes speaking directly to a neighbouring poem, sometimes obliquely reflecting, sometimes just sharing space in a homeland common to both . . . there is, I think, and always has been, a striking affinity of tone and mood, and sometimes imagery, between these artists . . . The book is a congenial marriage.

Damian Love, NZ Books

Such a handsome book . . . Owen's poetry; Grahame's photographs and some of them do complement each other so well . . . there's a great deal of tenderness in this book . . . a lot of quirkiness, a lot of humour in this book . . . he is so perceptive, his poems seem almost inevitable, they seem to come so easily and yet they can absolutely stop you with the almost forensic accuracy of some of his lines.

David Hill, Radio NZ

Another great retrospective from a poet whose style is straightforward but whose meaning is deep. Our own Robert Frost. Complemented by Grahame Sydney’s photographs.

Nicholas Reid, NZ Listener

This is a collection from a poet with sincere affinity for the South Island. It's arranged in loose thematic categories; the poems range from almost casual observations and ruminations to the deeply, poignantly considered. There are dollop of wit and tenderness and a sense of being in the right place and time, and in the right mood. Alongside the poems are photographs by the poet's friend Grahame Sydney, an artist known for his Central Otago eye . . . Occasionally we are treated to a two-page image to pause at, to contemplate the beauty in this. . .


To read Owen Marshall's big verse collection View from the South is to be strongly reminded of the importance, for poets and fiction writers, of territories and landscape. The landscape here is both literal and external, and also what one writer calls the partly internalised "landscape of the imagination" and what W.H. Auden and others have termed a paysage moralise, a landscape with moral qualities. . . . This collection warmly evokes an interweaving of land, of family and of friendships . . . Marshall is a truth-teller, a provider of what Sir Philip Sidney termed "heart-ravishing knowledge" . . .

John Gibb, Otago Daily Times

This collection is something to be savoured and dipped into. . . . This collection is a succinct voice of the south. Sydney's sometimes quirky photos of people, places and animals capture the southern life so well this is a joy to have in the bookshelf. Better known as a painter, his photos enhance the spare words of the poems. Very satisfying.

Linda Thompson, Horowhenua Chronicle

A handsome and capacious hard back, complete with ribbon bookmark and illustrated with many landscape photographs by artist Grahame Sydney, View from the South is clearly a deluxe piece of book production. But it is much more than this. . . . At the very least, this is a great retrospective. . . . these are poems of healthy maturity. . . . There is powerful resonance to the physical things he presents, which makes him like our version of Robert Frost. An excellent strain of observational satire, too.

Nicholas Reid, NZ Listener

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