About Native Bird (Makaro Press)
In his third poetry collection, award-winning poet Bryan Walpert—who arrived in New Zealand from the U.S. in 2004—writes of what it’s been like to be an observer or “birdwatcher” in a land whose physical and cultural geographies he is still learning to name. With his trademark precision and insight, Bryan weaves meditations on the life and songs of birds into his observations on living as a new settler in wind-charged Manawatu. Working at the shifting borders between homes and hearts, prose and poetry, call and song, this is an arresting collection that speaks to us all.
“Reading this book is like entering a restorative glade. Or a slow paced European movie where the camera takes one long slow delicious pan that sweeps and lingers and stalls and accumulates the faintest detail, the hint of movements, the tremor of action. And out of the long gorgeous sweep of reading, you get place, character, story. Or think of this rhythm as a sticky ribbon to which detail adheres. The detail catches you. Phrases, whole lines, stanzas. The sound of each line strikes your ear – beautifully, honey-like. The world slows because this is one of those books where the poems reach out and hold you in the grip of attention. I adore it.” Paula Green, NZ Poetry Shelf
“This work is full of wonderfully sharp, self-deprecating awareness of human foibles and a love of wordplay – as in Regret, which circles around egret with Walpert’s typical dexterity, humour and insight.” The NZ Listener
“Walpert’s language assembles these poems in a way that turns the source material into beautiful and striking pieces. He transforms the ordinary into poignant images.” Emma Shi, Booksellers NZ Review
“Will get under your skin.” Otago Daily Times.
from Good Reads:
“I didn’t have any expectations about this collection. Unfamiliar with the poet. Not a recommended read. But it fell into my lap and after skimming some of the language, I decided to give it a go. So. Glad. I. Did. I really, really loved it. I will probably re-read it a few times over the next couple of months. So restrained and beautiful, just like a bird standing on the foreshore, looking out to sea. Highly recommended.”
“I’ve been back to them several times, finding something new on each reading. I love the way they’re inter-related, but each so intimate and honest about what it is to live in a country you weren’t born in and have to get to know. It’s so cool it’s a book about birds that’s not about birds — everything poetry should be — mysterious, touching.”
“[W]hat a talent. Really loved the meta-commentary anger and the very subtle humour in some of the poems. Also the observation on display here was sometimes startling/mesmerising.”
This Poem is Conversational (Best NZ Poems 2015)
Objective Correlative (Finalist, Rattle Poetry Prize 2011)
Aubade (p. 19 in the 2013 Montreal Poetry Prize Longlist)
There Is No Narrative (p. 173 in the 2011 Montreal Poetry Prize Longlist)
The book is available to purchase online here.