new zealand electronic poetry centre

Graham Lindsay 

Friday 23 August 7.30-10pm  once and for all
Saturday 24 August 10.15 – 11.30am  scoop:  ten poets read new poems
Saturday 24 August 4.00 – 5.30pm  poetry/music/painting 

Graham Lindsay prods and plays with everyday expressions, taking them apart and reassembling them. Sceptical, probing, his poems twist and turn in search of definitions the poet already knows will only be temporary, inadequate solutions to the enigmas of existence. ( David Eggleton)

Graham Lindsay was born in 1952 and brought up in Wellington and the Hawke’s Bay. He has spent time in various rural communities and communes, worked as a library assistant and driver in Dunedin, where the first drafts of his 1994 collection The Subject were written, and he now lives in Christchurch.

He has published just six collections in twenty-five years – Thousand-Eyed Eel (Hawk Press, 1976), Public (1980), Big Boy (1986), Return to Earth (1991), The Subject (AUP, 1994) and Legend of the Cool Secret (Sudden Valley Press, 1999).

His last AUP collection, The Subject, was very well received: "The Subject is a meditative kind of book; not showy, but cool and thoughtful, worrying away at the big epistemological questions in poem after poem." (Anne French, NZ Books). Excitingly, he has completed a new collection, which is scheduled for publication by Auckland University Press in 2003.

Graham is a trained teacher. He has given a number of  readings over the past 20 years. He has published widely in literary journals of all persuasions and himself founded and edited the literary journal Morepork 1979–80. His work is included in a variety of anthologies of New Zealand verse.


The coved ceiling
(a dove, an angel)

glances through the fallow air down upon
up-turned palms, soft cheek-jowl

crater-moon belly.
Wakes and sits, the haunched

Pooh Bear Buddha at the bedclothes' mouth
and pats the pillow - Up here, up here -

till the homecome one unwinds
under the night's cool sheet.

A smile floats
to the madonna's cheek. This

is the baby Jesus.
So you might think

had you just come in
from an overhead of verdigrised

bells ringing in a cloudbreak
over the North Sea oil rig

where Jan and his mates
have just committed Bess,

have committed just Bess.
You know your mama loves you?

You know your papa loves you?

You know your brother loves you?

You know your granny loves you?

Out through uncle, aunt, cousins, dog, cat,

cats no longer here,
to a granny and grandad

who aren't either.
Where are they?

Up in the sky over the wet
streets and buildings,

arms about each other
in a Gone with the Wind embrace,

eyes overflowing with a love
stronger for each other

than for either
their parents, who inhabit, as it were,

a heaven over theirs, or for offspring.
But for grandchildren . . .

for grandchildren holding nothing back.
Singing Who's the little

baby, sitting on a tree?
Ko Ara-Bo Bilbo Baggins,

counting up to three.
Who's the little baby,

who's the little boy?
Ko Ara-Bo Bilbo Baby,

he's our pride and joy
to the tune of Tama Ngakau Marie

© Graham Lindsay


Last updated 24 July, 2002