new zealand electronic poetry centre


Alan Brunton



A Memory of Alan Brunton

Went along to Carmenís one night
with Bill the painter, some others
& a bottle of whisky
expecting to see a strip show

a light spectacular
something with tits . . . got pissed
instead Ė jostled by wobbly tables
angry ends of cigarettes

someone doing the splits
a singer with lungs like banging nuts . . . 
they said you were there, Alan
somewhere behind the smoke

puke & fog leaping off
the walls Ė a crazy red-faced dog
pissing on the microphone
hair & coat on fire . . .


I only met him once & saw him on another occasion, with Red Mole, at Carmenís. I was aware of & felt his influence on New Zealand writing from the late 60s. There was a standard to aspire to & people like Brunton, Baysting & Mitchell were setting that standard for other young poets to follow. In the 60s I was attracted to beat poetry & Brunton was very much in the forefront of beat, such as it was in New Zealand, then. At least thatís how I saw it . . .When I later found my own voice it was through the example of those like Brunton & the appearance of publications such as Freed & the Christchurch-based Frontiers that I found encouraging.

Itís Bruntonís originality & sage-like qualities that will be missed.  

Peter Olds



Last updated 27 November, 2002