new zealand electronic poetry centre




Brian Flaherty

Recorded 8 June 2018 at the University of Auckland, Faculty of Arts Sound Studio.
Tim Page, sound engineer.

Brian Flaherty


"Like all the men of the Library, in my younger days I travelled; I have journeyed in quest of a book, perhaps a catalog of catalogs." - Borges, Library of Babel.

Brian Flaherty is a poet librarian. He is co-founder of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre with Michele Leggott, and co-editor of the poetry journal Trout. Poems have appeared in Turbine, Best NZ Poems, Blackmail Press, Ika, Ka Mate Ka Ora, and Trout. Some of his digital poetry is available here. Is still searching for that catalog of catalogs.

Poem notes

'The Westfjords' was written in the north-west of Iceland on a camping trip, after meeting a minister/eider-down farmer.

'Royal Road', from a visit to Persepolis, refers to the ancient Persian highway, and also to Freud's quote Via regia zur Kenntnis des Unbewußten - dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.

'Spittle'. A few years ago I went hunting for the ghosts of Alan Brunton and Sally Rodwell in Luang Prabang, Laos, where they spent time in 1973 hanging out in the opium dens beside the Mekong, planning the launch of Red Mole. The poem interplays with texts from his archives.

Whakaari/White Island'. The image of the engine on the beach comes, in part, from the DC3 plane wreck on the black beach at Sólheimasandur, Iceland.

'Shipping Up' was inspired by tweets from Robert Falcon Scott's last expedition diary

'Harlot and Nun'. The Russian poet Anna Akhmatova lived under house arrest for many years and was denounced by the Soviets as both a harlot and nun. Written after visiting her apartment in St Petersburg.

'Where the Ants Are Coming From'. A found poem from the Times of India, 1990.

'Marginalia', written in Helsinki, quotes from Akhmatova's poem 'Why is This Age Worse'.

'The Sophist’s Mirror'. Inspired by an exhibition by fine art photographer Ben Cauchi.

'Aurora' also quotes from 'Why is This Age Worse'.

'Angel Train'. M train / Patti Smith, an intoxicating read. Quotes a tweet from @sarahwedde


Last updated 23 August, 2018